EMKAY

EMKAY delivers top-notch fleet management services thanks to its focus on innovation and technology.
By Chris Petersen

Commercial logistics can be complex and intricate, requiring intense focus and concentration to keep all of the various elements in motion and functioning properly. For many commercial enterprises, logistics are complicated enough without having to worry about their fleets and all the responsibilities and concerns that come with them.

Fortunately for these businesses, EMKAY has 70 years of fleet management experience, and President Greg DePace says the company’s primary focus is on making sure its customers don’t have to worry about their fleets. “We help eliminate the day-to-day distractions of their fleet. We allow them to concentrate on their business,” DePace says.

Making fleet management as worry-free for its clients as possible has been EMKAY’s concentration ever since 1946, when Samuel Katzin and Michael Braude started the company as a vehicle-leasing business within their Chevrolet dealership on the south side of Chicago. Over the years, EMKAY has become known as an innovator in the fleet management space numerous times by offering its clients unique services, and systems to manage them.

EMKAY specializes in providing all-inclusive fleet management services to commercial clients. These services include but are not limited to vehicle leasing, maintenance management, fuel management, accident management, toll management and telematics. DePace says the company’s customer base ranges from fleets of 50 vehicles all the way up to 3,000 and more. Although EMKAY continues to have some key competitors in the commercial fleet management space that keep it on its toes, DePace says the company’s focus on innovating and pushing the leading-edge of technology in the sector has been critical for its continued success, and remains one of the strongest differentiators for EMKAY.

Keeping It Simple
Making fleet management easy for its clients means EMKAY is more involved in its clients’ operations than many of its competitors, and DePace says this is something clients have come to rely on time and again over the last 70 years. “We provide the best combination of leading-edge technology, responsive service, and proactive consulting- that’s why companies would choose us over our competitors,” he says.

This comes right from the company’s mission statement, which says that EMKAY will deliver the best possible fleet performance for its clients “by delivering innovative products and technologies, expeditious service and proactive consulting.”

EMKAY provides its clients with options for leasing vehicles, including traditional TRAC and Closed End leases that provide clients with greater flexibility as well as purchase-and-disposal programs that allow clients to maintain ownership of their vehicles while also drawing on the company’s expertise in purchasing and remarketing those vehicles. EMKAY’s maintenance management program is based on the expertise of its ASE-certified technicians and the strength of its system that monitors a shop’s maintenance request against EMKAY’s proprietary algorithms.  

Streamlined Information
One of the biggest keys to the success of EMKAY’s fleet management services is the way in which the company utilizes technology to make things as simple and convenient as possible for its clients, DePace says. “Certainly over the last 10 years, we’ve put a lot of focus on technology and creating technology that’s comprehensive in the information that it provides, and is easy to use,” he says.

Within the last several years, EMKAY has developed numerous mobile apps and technology platforms aimed at providing fleet managers and drivers with the most up-to-the-minute information to help them make the best decisions for their fleets. DePace says these apps allow fleet managers to see exactly how well their vehicles are running in the field, provide them with constant information about their operating costs and create targets on their virtual dashboards to meet efficiency goals.

For example, EMKAY’s mobile apps make it possible for drivers to locate the nearest preferred maintenance vendor or lowest cost fuel provider wherever they are, and fleet managers can view complete and timely records of their fleet as well as any exceptions to their company fleet policies. EMKAY’s mobile technology also allows drivers and fleet managers to submit insurance claims to Emkay immediately following an accident by completing a mobile claim, which includes   taking photos of the damage.  Soon EMKAY’s mobile app will have an Uber-like option for Emergency Roadside service.  Drivers will be able to see exactly where the tow truck is and know when its arriving.

DePace says improving the flow of information among fleet managers, vehicles and drivers is one of the most important ways in which EMKAY makes fleet management easier for its clients. “These apps are all designed to be very easy for them to use and minimize the number of questions that might come up from the fleet manager and driver,” he says.

Technology Focused
As EMKAY gears up for the next 70 years, DePace says the company continues to look for new opportunities where technology can create benefits for its clients. As many of its competitors consolidate, EMKAY sees greater opportunities to win over new clients thanks to its reputation and commitment to innovation.

EMKAY already offers its clients some of the most effective and efficient fleet management services in the industry, and DePace says the new technologies the company will roll out in the near future will enhance those services. “We’ll be able to provide even faster service to our clients and their drivers,” DePace says. “Nobody wants to wait for answers anymore – our technology ensures they don’t have to.”

www.emkay.com
Headquarters: Itasca, Ill.
Employees: 155
Specialty: Fleet management services

Dickinson Fleet

Dickinson Fleet Services offers mobile maintenance services to private and commercial fleets throughout the United States.

By Stephanie Crets

Dickinson Fleet Services began in 1997 as a three-shop company, but has grown to become the largest independent fleet maintenance company in the United States. The company is based in Indianapolis, but it has 19 maintenance facilities with 250 mobile maintenance operations, servicing clients in 37 states with plans to continually expand.

“We’re constantly building trucks, so we build our trucks in Indianapolis at our own facility,” Executive Vice President Ted Coltrain says. “As quickly as we build trucks, we’re putting technicians in them and growing our footprint. As we get opportunities and markets in terms of densities, we’ll add a shop.

“Plus, all of our trucks are built the same with the same tools and equipment. Once the technicians learn how to operate one, it’ll be the same setup. It allows us to deliver the same levels of service to customers because all tools and equipment are the same.”

Odom Team

The Odom Corporation has proven its logistics chops in the wilds of Alaska, Washington, and Idaho; and it continues to lead the beverage distribution market.
By Chris Petersen

One of the truest measures of success is how a company works under adverse conditions, and for a wholesale beverage distributor conditions don’t get much more adverse than Alaska. The Odom Corporation was born in these conditions, and COO Adam Hilpert says it has been the company’s ability to adapt to those conditions and still provide top-notch service that has allowed the company to grow into one of the largest distributors in the Pacific Northwest. According to Hilpert, the experience and problem-solving skills the company has accrued over the last 80-plus years in serving Alaska have been crucial for its continued success.

“Alaska has a lot of complexity as it relates to logistics, and the Odom family has done a very good job of learning how to deal with those challenges,” Hilpert says. “ We’ve had to learn to deal with a combination of logistical challenges  that include transporting freight via truck, plane, and barge. We have some markets that are only accessible by air and sea, so it’s forced us to become proficient in understanding a broader array of logistic requirements.”

Jacksonville 20160715 082258

The Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) is pushing to modernize its fleet with direct input from its employees.
By Chris Petersen

As the provider of electric, water and wastewater services for Duval County and surrounding areas in Florida, the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) has a significant responsibility to its customers. And, as Fleet Manager Alan McElroy explains, it also has a significant challenge when it comes to maintaining all of the nearly 1,300 vehicle and equipment assets the company needs to fulfill its duties. Because the company provides so many services, there’s no one “typical” vehicle in the fleet.

“One of the biggest challenges we have is the fact that we are such a diverse utility and therefore we have diverse [fleet] needs,” McElroy says. “Being a diverse fleet, you have some vehicles in common, but mostly you have many specialized assets to meet our customers’ needs.”

Fresh Direct

FreshDirect delivers everything carried in a grocery store directly to customers in the Northeast with an award-winning, green fleet.

By Russ Gager

Putting “fresh” in a grocer’s name demonstrates a commitment to obtaining food from its source in the shortest time possible. Helping to deliver on that promise is FreshDirect’s Director of Fleet Operations Mike Derrig.

FreshDirect delivers everything that can be found in a grocery store to the metro areas of New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia along with the southern Connecticut metro area and Delaware’s metro areas. “But that’s only to give us somewhere to jump off from,” Derrig says. “I live in the middle of cornfields. I’m surrounded by cornfields, and yet we have quite a good customer base near me. It’s the convenience.”

FreshDirect ‘s main distribution center is at the company’s headquarters in Long Island City, N.Y. Two more distribution centers – one in Hackensack, N.J., and the other in Philadelphia – are used for cross-docking. “We have deliveries direct into our Long Island City distribution center from different farms and providers – the whole gamut of what you would need – dry goods or fresh vegetables, we get them direct,” Derrig emphasizes.

As its name implies, FreshDirect emphasizes produce, organic and fresh prepared food. “We buy direct from the farms, so we don’t have to go through a broker or another distribution center,” Derrig points out. “It’s a way to keep our costs down while maintaining high quality standards.”

PPL Electric

PPL Electric Utilities implements the latest in fleet technology to stay on the leading-edge of innovation.

By Janice Hoppe

Utility companies are not often thought of as innovators, but PPL Electric Utilities is working to change all that as it utilizes the latest technology for fleet enhancements. “We are embracing innovation,” Transportation Manager John Adkisson says. “In the fleet department we implemented telematics, which is a big deal and innovative.”

The Allentown, Pa.-based utility is one of five companies under the PPL Corp. umbrella. PPL Electric Utilities maintains more than 48,000 miles of power lines in central and eastern Pennsylvania, serving about 1.4 million customers in 29 counties. The company operates 1,200 total vehicles and oversees 10,000 square miles of territory.

PPL Electric Utilities handles more than six million customer interactions each year and has consistently won awards and ranked highly among companies in the United States for customer service and satisfaction. The company has received 23 J.D. Power and Associates awards for top-quality service to its residential and business customers.

In addition to fleet enhancements, PPL Electric Utilities over the next five years will invest more than $5 billion to improve its electric delivery system. The company will replace aging facilities and build new ones to meet growth in demand and to make the network more reliable. “In the utility space, taking on new technology makes business better, and ultimately lowers our rates for our customers,” Adkisson says.

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