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SVT reimagining modern fleet management

July 14, 2023
From regulatory compliance and funding support to zero-emission vehicle procurement and operations, a trucking industry veteran said the new SVT venture is tailoring fleet management solutions to meet future challenges facing transportation leaders.

SVT Fleet Solutions launched its concierge, end-to-end fleet optimization solution this year to help companies and municipalities maximize vehicle efficiency, productivity, and value, according to company leader Don Kelley, who brings more than four decades of industry experience to the role.

“SVT was created by industry veterans to break the mold of traditional fleet management solutions by providing comprehensive, single-source solutions that are tailored to meet each client’s unique support needs,” said Kelley, SVT president. “Our team has access to extensive resources and expertise in the commercial vehicle sector to help our customers streamline their fleet management while driving economic and environmental sustainability.”

Kelley told FleetOwner that his team’s expertise, resources, and superior analytics will offer companies a competitive edge while adapting to a future focused on sustainability and predictive analytics. The team provides a range of in-house resources to optimize a fleet, including regulatory compliance support, sustainability strategy, vehicle funding and financing, diverse vehicle procurement options, uptime support, centralized fleet administrative support, and vehicle reselling.

Velocity Vehicle Group owns SVT. Kelley recently shared his thoughts on how he sees the new venture helping fleets lean into future transportation technology and powertrains and how fleet executives can start to plan for a decarbonized future—including zero-emission vehicle procurement and charging infrastructure planning.

Relying on experience for future fleet success

The following is an edited Q&A with Kelley about his vision for SVT Fleet Solutions and how he sees the industry changing to keep up with more decarbonization pushes nationwide.

FleetOwner: Don, can you share some of your fleet management experience from the past 40 years that will help SVT be successful?

Don Kelley: I’ve optimized large fleets and analyzed mobility market trends for four decades. This is by far the most exciting time in our industry when all the emerging technology, infrastructure, and funding sources are starting to align.

See also: Velocity dealers gear up for Daimler EVs

The transition to electromobility creates specific needs and requires new processes not being served well by traditional solutions. Just like an EV is an entirely different vehicle platform, fleet solutions must also be built on a different and new model. With that understanding, I joined Velocity Vehicle Group to establish SVT Fleet Solutions, a new fleet management company ready to meet the evolving needs of the ZEV market, particularly in sustainability. VVG is a real powerhouse with tremendous experience in the electric truck market, and that backing gives SVT the resources to guide commercial fleets through the nuance of industry changes.

Long before this, I knew the mobility industry was on a roll. During my tenure as vice president at Ryder Transportation Services in the late '90s, I was hands-on in creating solutions tailored to large private fleets, which led me to start my fleet management venture, Kelley Fleet Services. Within a decade, the company emerged as one of the largest dedicated fleet maintenance providers for private fleets in the U.S. Through a strategic partnership with renowned staffing company Amerit, my company expanded its client portfolio to more than 50,000 vehicles. Today, the company continues flourishing as Amerit Fleet Solutions and serves fleets across the U.S.

Around 2011, I realized there was still a lot of work to be done. I was lured out of retirement to lead VehiCare Fleet Solutions as the president and CEO to build a new fleet management company that leveraged the rapidly growing resources in data analytics. As the industry continues to evolve, the opportunities are endless in fleet management, opening the door for new enterprises, like SVT, to deliver innovative solutions ready to meet the market demand. 

FO: Switching to new power sources can be daunting. What are the first steps fleets should take when deciding to decarbonize their operations?

DK: We guide customers through an assessment to learn. Where are they now? What are their short- and long-term goals? Step one, we assess factors such as fleet size, operational demands, and geographical considerations that impact compliance and route requirements. We also look at infrastructure immediately to understand what charging or alt-fuel networks they will tap because infrastructure will typically take the longest to get in place to support the transition. For example, we look for tailored charging solutions that optimize each fleet's efficiency, reliability, and scalability.

FO: What size and types of fleets is SVT targeting for its solutions? And what is your range of vehicle offerings?

DK: Customers we engage with have fleets of 100 or more assets, including everything from light-duty vehicles to heavy-duty Class 8 trucks and material handling equipment.

FO: Different emissions incentives and initiatives are going on nationwide. Is there a region your services are more focused on?

DK: SVT Fleet Solutions operates throughout North America and beyond. But it’s safe to say that fleets operating in states adopting California’s clean truck rules feel the most urgent because they are managing compliance timelines, which requires sophisticated analysis. So, SVT is seeing a lot of interest in those geographies, especially because fleets often try to solve the transition by piecing solutions together. SVT can bring a lot of value to the table and help them with a coherent, customized plan that folds in all the transition requirements.

See also: California, engine manufacturers enter Clean Truck Partnership to meet emissions goals

FO: While more EVs are available for fleet operations, the charging infrastructure can be a big hurdle to establish. How does SVT help with charging infrastructure?

DK: Charging infrastructure is quickly becoming the most critical component for electric fleets. Many fleets are trying to scale EVs for the first time and need guidance to make smart charging investments that are future-proof. We have developed partnerships with companies that enable us to provide comprehensive customer support. Whether it's recommending the appropriate charging station types, implementing smart charging strategies, or providing ongoing monitoring and maintenance services, we provide that strategy, the technologies, and get it done on a timeline that works for fleets. Optimizing the charging experience is our customers' most important uptime aspect.

FO: How many fleet customers do you have now?

DK: As with my last several fleet management companies, building a customer base needs to be done thoughtfully as a partner, and we are actively engaged in discussions and negotiations with multiple Fortune 100 companies that recognize the value our services can bring to their fleets. We’re focused on establishing trusted partnerships and delivering exceptional fleet management solutions tailored to their needs. 

FO: Are you working with specific OEMs to procure equipment?

DK: You could consider us OEM-agnostic, which allows more flexibility and options for a greater selection of vehicles in the market today. In particular, the OEM market for EVs is expanding. We look for vehicles that match our customers' unique needs and requirements to ensure the trucks we recommend are the best fit for achieving optimal performance, efficiency, and satisfaction with their fleet operations.

FO: SVT offers a lot of resources and solutions. How did you develop this list of offerings, and how do you know it is the right mix for your customers?

DK: We monitor the mobility market versus pushing solutions onto the market based on old assumptions. Times have drastically changed, and so have our solutions. That’s why we’re more market-driven rather than product-driven.

See also: How Loadsmith plans to use autonomous trucks to boost driver jobs and cut emissions

Our team's deep understanding of fleet operations, gained through years of hands-on experience, has enabled us to identify and address the key pain points our customers encounter. We want to make a complex process as simple as possible for our customers so that they can focus on their day-to-day business. SVT stands for speed, value, and trust, and these are the core competencies that drive our efforts to help fleets run more efficiently through sustainable solutions at a time when there’s a lot of uncertainty.

We help customers manage all aspects of operations, from compliance issues to funding and finance. For fleets transitioning to zero emissions, the list is even longer, which can be overwhelming. Whether they drive a school bus or deliver food supplies, there’s a lot that fleet operators are having to juggle in the ZEV market. SVT has extensive resources and decades of experience to smooth out the regulatory bumps in the road for all types of fleets by making customized plans to fit each one.  

FO: What advice do you have for fleet executives during these changing times?

DK: Traditional fleet management is not optimized for the sudden, foundational change that fleets are experiencing when switching to zero-emission vehicles. Those old solutions are suddenly not meeting the needs of fleets due to the new and different processes and analyses required, creating a huge disruption in the market. Rather than an obstacle, we see this as an opportunity for a company like SVT to enter the scene and help fleets reach sustainable goals through vehicles powered by alternative fuels, including battery-electric, propane autogas, natural gas, or fuel cell.

About the Author

Josh Fisher | Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Josh Fisher has been with FleetOwner since 2017, covering everything from modern fleet management to operational efficiency, artificial intelligence, autonomous trucking, regulations, and emerging transportation technology. He is based in Maryland. 

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