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Wheels Fleet Management Review

Wheels Fleet Management bills itself as "First in fleet management," which is more than marketing hyperbole. Before Wheels, fleet management in the United States didn't exist. That changed in 1939, when the company leased 75 vehicles to pharmaceutical company Petrolager. 75 years later, Wheels Fleet Management accounts for more than a million vehicles on the road in 41 countries worldwide.

Wheels Fleet Management Review
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Wheels Fleet Management Services

For 75 years, Wheels Fleet Management has been a service-oriented company. That ethos is reflected in the company's offerings, which are based less around products than around the services they offer. Wheels assists with regulatory and compliance issues, upfitting, remarketing, telematics, acquisitions and fulfillment, and inventory management. Among their signature services:

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ChangeDriver lives up to its name by driving changes in driver behavior. By balancing education with game theory, ChangeDriver helps a fleet's drivers to review, understand, and comply with company rules and regulations while also improving accident rates and fuel efficiency, and reducing fraud and moonlighting. By encouraging team-based competitions and feedback, ChangeDriver introduces a peer-to-peer element that improves fleet-wide performance.

Fleet Administration tools enable fleet managers to monitor and manage insurance policies, driver activity, business performance, and decision making, all in order to acheive compliance, customer satisfaction, and the retention of qualified drivers.

FleetView is a backoffice analytics tool that gathers data, decision-making and transactional tools under a single umbrella to help fleet managers leverage literally hundreds of data points and turn that data into results for the business. Detailed reporting coupled to customized alerts and access helps all stakeholders understand their impact on the organization and provides the tools to drive business forward.

Mobile Apps connect your drivers' mobile phones to help them adhere to best practices and put company assets to optimal use, through mileage tracking and history, fuel locations with price comparison overlays, and easy access to authorized maintenance vendor locations.

Wheels Selection Modeler streamlines the vehicle selection process, enabling fleet managers to choose the right vehicle for their needs in a matter of minutes, not days.

Wheels Support

Wheels backs its product and service suite with an industry-leading Driver Service Center. Wheels' support operators are experienced (with an average of four years' tenure), and they provide the right information right away, 24 hours a day, every day, year 'round. Because all representatives are cross-trained on all products and services, drivers spend more time getting answers than waiting for them.

Further assistance is available via DriverView, which allows monitoring of vehicle and policy information, notifications, mileage and personal use records, and vehicle ordering/tracking. WheelsDirect allows online vehicle resale.

Innovations and accolades

Wheels was one of the first companies to realize the potential of computer technology for fleet management, putting the IBM 1402 to work in a fleet managment setting. Twenty years later, they'd introduce the first Windows-based client service tool. In 1998, when the internet was still in its infancy, Wheels introduced the first online driver ordering system, called DriverView, while FleetView, a browser-based fleet management tool, would launch a year later.

Further innovations would follow, all contributing to Wheels' appearance at number 18 on InformationWeek's list of the top 500 technology companies -- not only a respectable showing, but also the highest for a fleet management company. And the company's online ChangeDriver tool shows that they're not done innovating yet; it combines education with game theory to improve driver learning.

Case Study

Novo Nordisk logo

Novo Nordisk

Wheels Fleet Management client Novo Nordisk introduced a green initiative in 2008, in keeping with its Triple Bottom Line/3BL (social, environmental, and fiscal responsibility) philosophy. In this case, the end goal was the "greening" of the company's fleet.

The company's goals included improving fuel efficiency and increasing driver efficiency while incentivizing those drivers to select more environmentally-friendly vehicles. The company turned to Wheels and accident response company Fleet Response to help meet its goals.

Using Wheels tools, Novo Nordisk was able to better customize their fleet to individual drivers' needs, offering diesels, flex-fuel vehicles and hybrids where appropriate and feasible, as well as customizing option packages to incentivize the selection of vehicles that better suited the company's aims.

Wheels' backoffice functions and apps also came into play. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis helped control costs, while MVR checks, combined with accident data, helped the company to keep tabs on driver performance while controlling insurance costs. Novo Nordisk was also able to set performance goals that were adjustable as time passed and new data became available.

The result of Novo Nordisk's partnership with Wheels was impressive. Drivers loved the program, and the company managed to reduce its vehicular carbon footprint by an average of 8.8 percent per mile while increasing fuel efficiency over a five-year period (2006-2011). Even more impressive was the fact that they were able to do this without moving away from the seven-passenger vehicles that have long formed the backbone of their fleet.

Conclusion

With the number of newcomers to the fleet management industry in recent years, a casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that the business is a young one. Wheels Fleet Management has reached 75 years old by thinking young.

Throughout their history, they've never stopped innovating and reinventing themselves, and they've often brought the rest of the industry along with them. That spirit of innovation is matched by a strong commitment to old-fashioned values of customer care that should go quite some way toward assuring the company is still going strong 75 years from now.