How the University of Colorado Kept Ownership of Its Fleet By Proving That Privatization Would Cost More
Campus Fleet Keeps a Competitive Edge with the Help of AssetWorks
Founded in 1876 with a campus in Boulder, the University of Colorado includes three unique campuses offering more than 300 degree programs. Colorado’s university system is recognized as a national leader in teaching and research excellence. Today, more than 50,000 students and 3,800 regular instructional faculty members make it the largest institution of higher education in the state.
The Boulder campus occupies 700 acres, has over 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and offers more than 2,500 courses in over 150 areas of study through its nine colleges and schools. The University of Colorado at Boulder Transportation Services department oversees a fleet comprised of 600 vehicles, four technicians and one shop. AssetWorks FleetFocus™ is the fleet management system that the department uses to run its cost effective, multi-campus fleet.
We had accurate, up to the minute, highly detailed data from using FleetFocus and we were able to run customized reports that absolutely proved our point. We demonstrated that we would save $93,000 a year by opting out of state management.
— Bryan Flansburg
Director of Transportation Services, University of Colorado at Boulder
A Question of Privatization
In 1992, a state bill was passed requiring all state agencies to turn over ownership and control of vehicles under one ton to state fleet management. In 1999, the university had chosen AssetWorks fleet management software because of its strong user interface design, ability to integrate with Oracle’s Peoplesoft, ability to interface with state fleet management, and its thorough Y2K preparedness. Transportation Services had just merged two systems —billing and scheduling—into one system and the efficiency gains and reporting functionality had greatly improved operations. In 2005, a bill was passed where the university was given the opportunity to avoid state management of its fleet by proving to the State of Colorado that running its own fleet was more cost effective.
Bryan Flansburg, Director of Transportation Services at the University of Colorado at Boulder, used reports made possible by FleetFocus to testify and answer the state’s hard questions. “We had accurate, up to the minute, highly detailed data from using FleetFocus and we were able to run customized reports that absolutely proved our point,” stated Flansburg. “We demonstrated that we would save $93,000 a year by opting out of state management.” During this process, the school’s Board of Regents posed a similar question, asking if the university should privatize the management of its fleet. Once again, Flansburg relied on FleetFocus reporting functionality to maintain management of its fleet by proving that privatization would cost more and do less.
“A private company wanted to take over just the motor pool,” said Flansburg. “Our data enabled us to clearly calculate that we’d save $340,000 by not giving it to that corporation.” The university utilizes the FleetFocus motor pool functionality for both traditional and nontraditional operations, including the dispatching of all the university’s transit buses. The school also uses this market-leading feature as a tool to pay its bus drivers for the hours that they have worked.
The University of Colorado at Boulder has been able to thrive and consistently establish that it saves millions of dollars by managing its own fleet in conjunction with AssetWorks software. The following is just a partial list of the FleetFocus features that benefit Transportation Services the most:
- Ad Hoc Reporting – The flexible, customizable reporting features in FleetFocus enable departments to generate powerful reports. These can then be formatted for easy export to spreadsheets, databases, and other applications.
- Import Capabilities – The university’s fixed shuttle service requires over 200 motor pool trip tickets each week. This process takes approximately 10 minutes. Without the import capabilities it would take over 10 hours to hand input each reservation. The school also uses the import capabilities to conveniently mass print trip tickets each day.
- Uniform Input and Output – Prior to FleetFocus, the University of Colorado at Boulder used a homegrown system filled with hodgepodge entries that generated problematic data. FleetFocus standardizes all data input and output to eliminate discrepancies.
- Integrated Preventative Maintenance Verification – FleetFocus work orders incorporate predictive/preventive maintenance data, including multi-level maintenance on single assets and inspections. All of this seamlessly integrates with all aspects of the software system to better track PM throughout an entire lifecycle.
- Product Support – FleetFocus customers have access to an extraordinary amount of product support both from AssetWorks and the community of users. User conferences, regional training sessions, and readily available telephone support all contribute to client success.
Boulder Leads the Way in Best Practices
Today, the Transportation Services department at the University of Colorado at Boulder is a vital part of the AssetWorks user community. The school has hosted a User Group regional training event where executives exchange ideas, share best practices, and learn tips from each other. The university also continues to leverage the support and innovation that AssetWorks provides on an ongoing basis. “The University of Colorado at Boulder consistently strives to optimize and strengthen its very successful fleet operations,” said James Schnepp, Vice President, AssetWorks. “The Transportation Services group stays vigilantly aware of our product’s improvements and shares knowledge with other AssetWorks users so that everyone maximizes use of the software.”