ADT Secures Its Fleet Future

The industry’s largest installing security contractor is saving millions of dollars each year and has significantly reduced its environmental impact following a makeover of its vehicle fleet. Key to the newfound cost savings and greener operations is switching to a more efficient compact panel van.

As Tyco Int’l works to finalize a reorganization, concurrent plans are also being completed to consolidate its North American-based security installation fleet across all Tyco entities. Tyco’s breakup will create three independent companies, including ADT Residential and Tyco Fire & Security. Newly branded Tyco Integrated Security, formerly ADT’s North American commercial security business, will operate as a division of the Fire & Security operation. (In March, Tyco struck a multibillion deal to merge its flow control operations with those of Pentair Inc.)

As security’s largest provider, each day ADT technicians respond to thousands of customer calls, utilizing an industry-high fleet of roughly 7,000 service and installation vehicles throughout the United States and Canada. In the past few years the company has worked to overhaul its vehicle mix from approximately 95% full-size vans to a combination of 85% light-duty trucks and 15% full-size vans.

The decision to consolidate the North American fleet was made more than a year ago by the company’s top brass, including ADT’s business presidents and Tyco corporate leadership.

“Fleet is the fourth-largest indirect spend category. Everyone is involved, including the president of our company, operations leadership, field operations, our operational excellence leaders, all the way down to the driver,” says Dave Wade, supply chain and fleet group director for ADT.

Even before the reorganization, volatile fuel prices and aging service vans precipitated the massive fleet overhaul. Tyco turned to GE Capital Fleet Services, its fleet management company (FMC) of more than 10 years, for guidance in determining ways to reduce fuel costs and carbon dioxide emissions. Also paramount was identifying a vehicle type that would enable technicians to efficiently service the company’s 6.8 million subscribers.

Learn about the intricate preparations ADT made in selecting a replacement vehicle, plus insights into how the firm manages its fleet to maximize efficencies and reduce environmental impact.

Connecting With the Right Vehicle

In collaboration with GE Capital Fleet Services, ADT launched a multiyear plan in 2008 to change the composition of its overall fleet profile to include vehicle mix and size, carbon footprint impact, vehicle tracking and management, and an increased focus on driver safety.

Wade set out to review the fleet’s current utilization, as well as the company’s fleet optimization strategy and whether or not it was reducing carbon emissions and fuel expense. “A lot of our fuel spend is largely determined by vehicle selection. We drive to customer locations, so the average miles driven weren’t likely going to change immediately. Impacting the fuel spend was really in the vehicle selection,” he says.

ADT entered into discussions with Ford, General Motors and Chrysler to determine what vehicles were currently available, or soon to hit the market, in order to identify a replacement for its full-sized Ford Econoline vans. The search resulted in ADT selecting the Ford Transit Connect, a compact panel van, and by 2009 the company began implementing its fleet makeover.

In preparation for transitioning to the smaller vehicle, ADT assembled a project team that included external strategic partners who were charged with examining Ford’s organization, from product development to vehicle marketing.

“We had a kickoff meeting in Detroit in mid-December of 2009. About 50 different people from five different organizations really started to talk about how we’d attack this transformation,” Wade says.

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