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Standardizing Fleet Brings Efficiencies, Savings


Standardization of the fleet has helped General Motors find cost efficiencies across its portfolio of 396 facilities across six continents, says Mari Kay Scott, General Motors' executive director of global facilities. The fleet she's talking about is not the vehicle line GM produces, but rather the fleet of support vehicles needed across the manufacturing and non-manufacturing campuses. These include fork trucks, tuggers, mobile scooters, etc.

Scott says that at many organizations the fleet doesn't fall under the facilities management purview, but at GM the fleet is her responsibility. A long time ago, the normal strategy had been for each facility to purchase fleet vehicles as needed through their own material group, which led to mismatched types and brands across the portfolio.

What GM realized a while back was that standardizing on specs and managing the fleet from a central location allowed it to easily move fleet inventory from one location to another as needed to meet needs — moving equipment over to a plant when production was up or distributing existing fleet inventory across the portfolio when a plant was decommissioned. "We've saved a ton of money and even during the downturn we were able to switch over a lot of leases to purchases and things of that nature because we managed it centrally and we have a standard," Scott says. In general, creating standards is a key way Scott's team has been able to overcome hurdles presented by events such as the recent recession. Standardizing the fleet is now being rolled out across GM facilities worldwide.

Read more about Mari Kay Scott's facility management strategies in the September 2014 cover story in Building Operating Management.

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