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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU moves to centralize its vehicle fleet and acquisition policies

In an effort to eliminate duplication of services and increase savings, New Mexico State University is taking a centralized approach to the acquisition, trade-in policies, use and maintenance of its vehicles.

icles owned by NMSU and licensed for over-the-road usage fall under the program, said Barry Law, director of NMSU's Transportation and Equipment Services Department.

The NMSU fleet of 800 cars and trucks includes vehicles on the main campus, the two- year campuses and extension services offices throughout the state.

The new program is designed to be as non-intrusive as possible while providing the necessary elements for good fleet management, Law said. It will provide for the capturing of data, servicing of vehicles, enhanced safety, proper utilization, and coordination of vehicle acquisitions and trade-ins while giving departments the flexibility to which they have become accustomed, he said.

In the current setup, each department is responsible for its own vehicle acquisition, maintenance and use. Some departments have their own maintenance facilities while others use outside vendors, Law said, adding that this scattershot approach results in increased costs and space requirements. Without oversight, vehicles may get poor or no maintenance or safety inspections.

The new, centralized approach will not affect vehicle maintenance setups currently being used by the departments or two-year campuses. However, the transportation services department will provide oversight of vehicle maintenance, which will result in centralized record-keeping and increased safety and trade-in values through proper preventative maintenance.

Departments have been autonomous in deciding the make, model and type of vehicles to be purchased. Law said these decisions are sometimes influenced by the size of a department's budget and not by the need for the vehicle. Many times, older model vehicles have been kept to augment a department's fleet instead of being used for trade-in. As a result about 47 percent of the current fleet consists of vehicles at least 12 years old. Under the new program, coordination and assistance will be given to departments and two-year campuses when making their vehicle acquisitions.

The new program will make recommendations concerning alternating vehicles between departments to better equalize the vehicle mileage and maximize vehicle usage. In addition, instead of purchasing a vehicle that would be used infrequently, a department could rent from the Transportation and Equipment Services Department, Law said.

With the new plan, vehicle acquisition and trade-in activities will be reviewed. A centralized approach will ensure the correct vehicle is bought for the right kinds of service requirements. Over time, benefits will include a more modern fleet with fewer vehicles, resulting in lower insurance premiums and maintenance costs, Law said.