By Mark Boada, Senior Editor
The National State Conference of State Fleet Administrators (NCSFA) has selected Mercury Associates to conduct its annual benchmarking study, the first time the organization has chosen to outsource the study in its more than 20-year history.
“The conference has been doing this study for years, but we didn’t do it in a formal process like this and we didn’t do it with the assistance of an outside entity,” said Bob Williams, NCSFA president and associate director for vehicle asset management for the state of Tennessee. “Our previous studies were managed internally and involved a lot of volunteer work, but we’ve never done it at this scale or enlisted outside help like this.”
Williams said the NCSFA will reach out to more respondents for this year’s study than it ever has and will focus on more details of fleet operations as well as a “bigger picture” than previous studies. The organization’s membership consists largely of some 150 state government and state university fleets, and the survey will be sent to all of them, Williams said.
Williams said the final list of subjects has yet to be finalized, but the NCSFA’s request for proposal listed 43 operational dimensions grouped under six topics: fleet organizational structure; replacement, purchasing and rates; maintenance, repair and recalls; fuel; utilization, and telematics.
Absent from that list were accidents and safety. In an interview with Fleet Management Weekly, Williams said that is a topic the organization is still considering to add, but that it may delay until a follow-up survey within the next several years.
Williams said the schedule calls for the study to be written up in August and the results to be revealed at the NCSFA’s annual Workshop, to be held in New Orleans September 24-26.
Mercury Associates is a fleet management consulting firm based in Rockville, Maryland. Leading the NCSFA project there is Steve Saltzgiver, a former NCSFA director with experience managing a city fleet, two state fleets and two Fortune 500 corporate fleets.