Together FleetFocus and FuelFocus Help the City of Austin Excel
The City of Austin enjoys a unique personality. Once known as a small, artsy college town that also happened to be the Texas state capital, Austin has grown into a destination City that embraces the arts and music and can now claim more music venues per capita than any other U.S. city, truly earning its name: Live Music Capital of the World. Existing comfortably alongside this thriving nightlife, Austin also plays home to many large corporate headquarters and technology development centers as well as the infrastructure required to manage one of the largest U.S. States. With over 1.5 million people in the greater metropolitan area, Austin is a large, vibrant and growing city.
Working hard to support and maintain this growing metropolis, the City of Austin Fleet Services Department provides fleet management services and fuel for the more than 5,200 vehicles that support 20 internal city departments and 10 external customers. With a staff of over 100 technicians, 7 maintenance facilities and 32 fueling sites, Austin Fleet Services is a complex operation that has embraced technology as an effective way to run an efficient fleet operation. “It’s critical that we manage every single detail around the maintenance and repair, replacement fund, and fueling for all of our City’s vehicles and equipment. FleetFocus is a tool that helps us do that,” states Bruce Kilmer, Business Systems Analyst Supervisor, City of Austin. “We go as far as we can with technology. From there, it is up to each supervisor and technician to pay attention to detail to get the job done successfully.”
This attention detail has paid off. In 2009 the City of Austin Fleet Service Center No. 1 received the ASE Blue Seal of Excellence, a designation awarded to less than 5% of maintenance shops nationwide.
Fuel is the single biggest improvement we have made at the City of Austin. FuelFocus gives us the added security and controls that we need to improve the process. We have controls down to the unit level. We are able to get real-time meter updates. Everything is stored in a single database, using a single program which makes it a seamless process.
— Bruce Kilmer, Business Systems Analyst Supervisor, City of Austin
For over twenty years the City of Austin has used AssetWorks’ FleetFocus software to manage all of its fleet maintenance operations. FleetFocus is a sophisticated fleet management program that tracks all vehicle maintenance data on a single database, creating a wealth of valuable information for fleet managers and their employees. The application offers many standard features, including real-time labor capture, work order and PM management, life-cycle analysis, full asset management and detailed report functionality which the City of Austin makes use of to manage its fleet. The more that a fleet puts into the system, the better the system can work for them.
“We use AssetWorks technology to its fullest potential, as it was designed to be used,” Kilmer continues. “Doing that enables us to pull vast amounts of information out of the system. This helps us better manage our fleet, back up our decisions and gives us the facts during yearly budget development.”
FuelFocus – The Game Changer
In 2008 the City of Austin upgraded to AssetWorks’ automated fuel management system, FuelFocus, at all 32 of its fuel facilities. FuelFocus works seamlessly with FleetFocus allowing fleets to have all maintenance and fueling data stored in a single database and supported by a single vendor. The FuelFocus Island Control Unit (ICU) automates fueling processes and controls access to fuel and fluids; measuring output while capturing vehicle odometer readings.
Among the many benefits realized by implementing FuelFocus, the City of Austin has noted several key advantages:
- Improved productivity through the automatic capture of accurate fuel data and meter readings directly into the FleetFocus maintenance database
- Improved control and security for fuel dispensing which translates into greater accountability and less waste and abuse
“Fuel is the single biggest improvement we have made at the City of Austin. FuelFocus gives us the added security and controls that we need to improve the process,” Bruce Kilmer confirms. “We have controls down to the unit level. We are able to get real-time meter updates. Everything is stored in a single database, using a single program which makes it a seamless process. We anticipate another jump in productivity once we move to FuelFocus’ Radio Frequency technology.”
Accurate Meter Readings and Fuel Data
The City of Austin is in the process of migrating its vehicles from manual to automated meter readings using Radio Frequency (RF) technology. Each vehicle will be equipped with a RF transmitter which ties into the vehicle’s on-board computer. At the time of fueling, the vehicle’s meter readings are transmitted automatically into the FleetFocus database through the FuelFocus ICU. Additionally, the system can be configured to record engine hours and diagnostic data, such as trouble codes and alerts, idle time and even tire pressure. Reducing the opportunity for human error, utilizing automated RF technology provides quicker, more accurate meter readings.
Many fleets struggle with getting up-to-date, precise meeting readings. Using AssetWorks fully integrated fleet management software and automated fueling system allows the City of Austin to obtain accurate meter readings and fuel data in real-time every time the vehicle is fueled. This smart use of technology allows the fleet management team quick access to fuel usage such as up to date miles per gallon (mpg) and cost per mile (cpm), as well as detailed information needed to keep preventive maintenance (PM) schedules on target.
Support for Alternative Fuels
With more than half of the City of Austin fleet capable of handling alternative fuels, it is very important that FuelFocus offer the flexibility to support all these alternative fuels including gasoline, diesel, biodiesel, CNG, propane, and ethanol. FuelFocus is capable of tracking any pulsed consumable, including both fuel and lubricants.
The City of Austin bills nearly 30 internal and external departments for both maintenance and fuel. Billing for fuel is additionally challenging because the price for each type of fuel can change on a daily basis. Balancing all these factors makes having an intelligent fleet and fuel management system even more important. The City of Austin further capitalizes on FleetFocus’ comprehensive billing functionality by integrating with the city’s financial system. This streamlined exchange of data allows the city to bill both maintenance services and fuel on a single invoice.
The city’s commitment to outstanding fleet maintenance has consistently been recognized among the best government fleets including placement on Government Fleet magazine’s Top 100 Fleets several times, as well as being named the #2 Public Sector Fleet in 2008. AssetWorks is proud to have called the City of Austin a customer since the early 1990s.
“One of the reasons we have been a customer for so long is due to AssetWorks’ strong support of their software and hardware. Their desire to work with us on coming up with new solutions is unmatched,” Mr. Kilmer concludes.