New Private Fleet Assessment Program launched

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The Private Fleet Assessment Program, a Web-based management resource designed to help private fleets boost performance, has been launched by the National Private Truck Council, Optima Associates and Schneider National Inc. Gary Petty, NPTC president and chief executive officer, says the program represents the next generation of the organization’s annual benchmarking study, used by a majority of private fleet managers to gauge the cost-effectiveness and overall operational excellence of their fleets.

“As the national association for private fleet professionals, the NPTC has long recognized the responsibility we have to provide members with the information and resources needed to remain successful in this fiercely competitive marketplace,” Petty says. “The new Private Fleet Assessment Program we’re unveiling takes that information and insight to a much higher and more sophisticated level in an interactive and dynamic way. It is the most comprehensive fleet assessment program on the market today.”

The Private Fleet Assessment Program combines the expertises, industry knowledge and firsthand data of NPTC, Optima Associates — a national continuous improvement consulting firm that has helped many private fleets enhance their operations — and Schneider National, the nation’s largest truckload carrier, and delivers assessment capabilities in a single Web-based tool.

“We know firsthand how critical it is to have accurate and timely information when making decisions about a fleet,” says Todd Jadin, senior vice president of dedicated operations for Schneider National. “We’re impressed with the Private Fleet Assessment Program’s ability to quickly and accurately pinpoint both the areas where a fleet is doing well and areas needing help or improvement. Even more impressive and meaningful is that the tool then goes the extra mile and gives a roadmap on how to improve performance and what steps are necessary to achieve their organizational objectives.”

The Web-based tool is designed to evaluate private fleet performance and target improvement opportunities in “Eight Pillars” of scoring: safety and fleet organization, network planning, customer management, fleet management, information management, driver management, continuous improvement and financial management.

Fleets navigating the program visit the Optima website, enter key operating information and assess their performance against some 40 qualitative and quantitative attributes. Fleet performance is scored against world-class standards that were derived from hundreds of industry benchmarks and subject matter experts. The fleet receives a report comparing its performance to world-class standards, as well as a set of detailed recommendations to help it improve performance. The model also can provide a sliding scale of the impact of proposed changes – “what if” scenarios – to sharpen performance, drive out costs and enhance efficiency.

“While each fleet has its own performance characteristics, there are common dimensions influencing the outcomes and success of each fleet,” says Steven Hirt, president of Optima Associates. “We collaborated with the NPTC and Schneider to develop a program that measures 40 different attributes contributing to a fleet’s overall performance. The transportation planners and fleet owners we’ve previewed the tool with find the insight into fleet management best practices and the customized suggestions for improvement for their individual fleet to be invaluable.”

One private fleet currently testing out the program is finding value. “The systematic way in which the program captures and scores relevant data gives a private fleet a realistic picture of how it stacks up against best-in-class standards,” says Gary Strausbaugh, vice president of transportation of Mennel Milling Co., one of the country’s leading producers of flour used in a majority of cake mixes, cookies, crackers and other snacks.

NPTC members are invited to take the basic level assessment free of charge. The complete assessment, however, requires payment of a fee. For more information on the Private Fleet Assessment Program, go to www.nptc.org or call Serena Porter at NPTC at 703-838-7960.

“Private fleet justification exercises are a fact of life at many companies, more so perhaps in tough economic times,” says Harry J. Haney III, associate director of logistics operations for Kraft Foods Inc. “The program helps managers get a true handle on the right metrics to make the best case for their operations.”