Enterprising solutions

Sept. 1, 2009
Less known to the general population, but certainly not to fleet operators, is the company's Enterprise Fleet Management division

You're likely quite familiar with Enterprise Rent-a-Car. In fact, the company proudly claims it has a local branch within 15 mi. of 90% of the U.S. population. Less known to the general population, but certainly not to fleet operators, is the company's Enterprise Fleet Management division.

The Fleet Management division, like that of the car business and sister companies Alamo Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental, is part of Enterprise Holdings. Following the corporation's philosophy, the Fleet Management division is doing its part to provide innovative environmental solutions. Just recently, the company was named the American Business Award Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year.

“With more than 2,600 nominations from companies of all sizes and virtually every industry, Enterprise Fleet Management is thrilled to be selected a winner of the American Business Award,” said Steve Bloom, senior vp. “Even though Enterprise Fleet Management's environmental platform is the most comprehensive program in our industry, the results depend on a successful collaboration. That's why the real credit for this award goes to our customers who are looking for innovative ways to address the environmental impact of their operations.”

Enterprise leases a variety of vehicles, from pickups to 26-ft. box trucks. But renting out vehicles is just a small part of the services the company offers its fleet customers.

“Having a fleet management program means making one payment and taking advantage of a fully managed vehicle program that can arrange the most economical, socially responsible, timely and high-quality solutions to help minimize expenses,” Bloom said. Part of that is the cycling program, which allows businesses to focus on what they do best and not on the day-to-day aspect of fleet management.

“How and when a company decides to sell its vehicles depends on many variables, including factors such as time of year, mileage, vehicle type, age and maintenance history,” Bloom said. “Knowing when to dispose of older vehicles, a process known in the fleet management industry as ‘cycling,’ can also impact the bottom line.”

Enterprise also offers businesses the opportunity to purchase “verifiable greenhouse gas emissions” through a third party. The company will match 25% of the purchase price of a greenhouse gas emissions offset through the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation. Enterprise estimates an average fleet vehicle travels 20,000 mi. a year and emits as much as 27,000 lbs. of CO2. In 2008, the company said it offset an average of 15,000 lbs. of CO2 per vehicle.

“Our Foundation's pledge to match a percentage of our customers' offset purchases is part of our company's long-term commitment to addressing those parts of the world that we touch with our business, and involving ourselves with those issues over which we have some influence,” Bloom said. “It's an approach built upon a commitment to ensure the sustainability of our business, as well as the sustainability of the world we all share.”

Enterprise will analyze a fleet's carbon footprint and use that information to assist in fleet optimization management. Among the items monitored are current fleet emissions, projected improvements in fuel efficiency and direct and indirect remediation costs. “As a commercial operation, our customers may have limited options for reducing the environmental impact of their fleet,” Bloom said. “After all, fuel-efficient, low-emissions engines are not widely available on service vehicles such as cargo vans, step vans and medium-duty trucks. Even taking [small] steps to balance or mitigate a fleet's emissions can be a challenge.”

Enterprise also embraces a number of other green options, including E85/FlexFuel vehicles (in some areas, as many as 30% of the vehicles are FlexFuel), more fuel-efficient vehicles (the company has nearly 680,000 vehicles that achieve 28 mpg or higher and 425,000 of those are SmartWay certified), and the 50 Million Tree Pledge, a public/private partnership whereby the Foundation has pledged $50 million to plant 50 million trees in the next 50 years.

The company's owners, the Taylor family of St. Louis, have also donated $25 million to create the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels, where scientists work to find alternative fuel sources.

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