“The challenge of operating on a flat budget requires us to look for cost-saving measures on an annual basis,” says Richard Dwornik, business manager for transportation and equipment services at We Energies. “That and other management challenges lead to the need for a comprehensive process of benchmarking our fleet. Equipment utilization and staffing issues, for example, are among the things that drive us to see what other utilities are doing and to identify best practices that we can incorporate into our fleet management processes.
“We’re evaluating data on our operation and comparing it to the industry average as well as to historical and current internal benchmarks,” Dwornik continues. “We look at measurements of vehicle utilization, cost per unit, work order touches per unit, fuel usage, operating costs and staffing levels.”
The We Energies fleet of 2,239 units includes automobiles, pickup trucks, vans, bucket trucks, heavy-duty trucks, trenchers, backhoes, skid loaders, forklifts and trailers. The fleet is maintained in 18 shops by a staff of 45 technicians.
For the past eight years, We Energies has been using the benchmarking services provided by Utilimarc. The fleet benchmarking, reporting and analysis firm supplies utility, municipal, federal and private fleets with a methodology for comparing vehicle class-specific metrics internally and externally.
Utilimarc clients routinely report process improvements in lease-versus-buy analysis, specification and standards development, replacement cycle development, vehicle utilization and fleet right-sizing, staffing, cost per maintenance and repair hour, outsourcing assessments, equipment disposal and fuel management.
Best in Class
“A focused benchmarking effort lets us develop best-in-class strategies,” Dwornik states. “Benchmarking is a tool that allows us to accurately compare ownership and operating costs and identify trends in our fleet’s performance. Sharing this information with our employees so everyone knows the challenges helps us make more effective equipment and staffing decisions. We also share the data with user groups to get their involvement.
“An outside benchmarking services supplier has been more beneficial to us than comparing data internally,” Dwornik concludes. “Utilimarc’s data is very extensive and comprehensive, and highly reliable. We’ve come to rely on it to help lower costs and improve efficiency and productivity.”
About We Energies
We Energies serves more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and more than 1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin. We Energies is the trade name of Wisconsin Electric Power Company and Wisconsin Gas LLC, the principal utility subsidiaries of Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE: WEC). Visit the We Energies website at www.we-energies.com.
For more information about Utilimarc, visit www.utilimarc.com.