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Fleet Management Information for Sweeping Professionals

Modernizing Fleet Operations

Here are some of the factors that will help you create a state-of-the art public fleet operation and establish a business enterprise that uses best management practices to compete successfully with private sector entities.

by Prab R. Rao
Director of Fleet Services, City of Minneapolis,
Minneapolis, MN

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The early 90s marked the beginning of a trend that brought about significant changes in the way many few fleet operations delivered services. These changes were typically marked by acronyms and actions like outsourcing, rightsizing, reengineering and managed competition. These became more than popular mantras; the result was that many government agencies used them to implement significant changes in their fleet operations.

For over 25 years, 21 with the City of Calgary (leaving with the position of Fleet Manager) and five years in that position with the City of Minneapolis, Prab Rao's goal has been to provide leadership in the area of municipal fleet management. Fleet services is an area, says Rao, where "the pressure is on. Frequently, we read about some government fleet operation or the other being criticized for lack of accountability. Moreover, our customers are demanding changes, often because of the concensus that has developed that somehow the private sector is more efficient, less costly and provides superior customer service than what a municipal organization can do."

In a majority of cases and, as far as Rao is concerned, because most public agencies are operated with a lack of true cost and service details, that is not necessarily the case. His analysis shows that the privatizing actions undertaken by a number of municipal organizations in the last two decades are now regretted when viewed with the clarity of hindsight.

In this 19-minute (approx. 19mb) .mp3 audio interview, Rao discusses the lessons he's learned through his quarter-of-a-century of fleet management, and offers listeners a synopsis of some of the techniques he uses to make his city's fleet both cost-effective and accountable.

In addition to granting the audio interview linked below, Rao also has provided readers with two handouts on this topic, which are in PDF format. The first, which he calls "chapter one of my presentation," covers his seminar on fleet management given at the 2005 APWA Congress. The second is the handout for his presentation at the 2007 APWA event.

Link to Audio

You may reach Prab Rao by calling 612-673-5775.

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