PHH: Working Hard and Smart to Drive Fleet Efficiencies


Thomas W. Keilty

Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President, Customer & Vehicle Services, PHH

How is PHH help­ing fleets take costs out of their oper­a­tion?  

I believe it’s the same for all indus­tries; to be sus­tain­able, process­es are required to make oper­a­tions as effi­cient as pos­si­ble. It’s no dif­fer­ent in the fleet indus­try. We want to help fleets be as effi­cient as pos­si­ble. And when I say the fleets I am talk­ing about the assets them­selves, the dri­vers and the fleet man­agers. For many years we have been focused on con­tin­u­ous improve­ment at PHH and we have estab­lished a zero defect approach to every­thing we do. We look at every process that we do on behalf of cus­tomers and find oppor­tu­ni­ties to dri­ve the defects out of the process. I don’t know of any ser­vice indus­try that gets to zero defects across the board, but that is where PHH strives to get to. We want to make that fleet as effi­cient as pos­si­ble so when a dri­ver calls PHH they only have to call one time – no fol­low up nec­es­sary as we han­dle it from a “first call does it all” approach.   

We con­tin­ue to build process­es to dri­ve defects out of every­thing we do to increase effi­cien­cy, so the dri­vers of those vehi­cles and those assets can focus on just what the com­pa­ny wants them to focus on. In sup­port of oper­a­tions effi­cien­cy PHH con­tin­ues to invest in tech­nol­o­gy that allows us to auto­mate some of the process­es and the flow of the process­es. We have qual­i­ty experts embed­ded in the depart­ments and their role is to look at things from a customer’s stand­point, end to end, and make sure that the mea­sure­ments tools that we have in place are in fact mak­ing it as effi­cient as pos­si­ble for our cus­tomers.  

And final­ly, we are con­stant­ly look­ing at the process­es to make sure that we are as effi­cient as pos­si­ble in ser­vic­ing our customer’s fleets. Every­thing PHH does is done from a customer’s per­spec­tive.  

As we see a shift in the fleet indus­try to more ser­vice vehi­cles, what are some of the ini­tia­tives that PHH has imple­ment­ed to assist clients in effi­cient­ly man­ag­ing com­plex vehi­cles?  

PHH acquired First­Fleet, based in Fort Laud­erdale, Flori­da, and the orga­ni­za­tion con­tin­ues to be a great addi­tion to the team. First­Fleet oper­ates in the heavy-duty space and pro­vides com­plex fleets with data and data ana­lyt­ics to pro­vide con­sul­ta­tion back to those fleets in terms of iden­ti­fy­ing ways for them to take out costs, reduce fuel costs; all of those kinds of things that dri­ve a cost in a fleet. With some mod­i­fi­ca­tion, PHH applies the same tools and tech­nol­o­gy with the small and medi­um duty fleets with­in our port­fo­lio.  

Fur­ther­more, PHH has invest­ed addi­tion­al client-fac­ing team mem­bers out in the field who real­ly under­stand First­Fleet. We have truck engi­neers that are locat­ed around the coun­try and their role is to help the clients make sure they are pick­ing the right vehi­cle for the usage for their fleet that meets DOT require­ments, that meets the clients’ objec­tives around green ini­tia­tives, and all the things the client wants to accom­plish. The team works hard and smart to know as much about the client and what they are try­ing to accom­plish as the client does them­selves.   

What are fleets telling you that their biggest issues are?  

Fleets are look­ing to dri­ve costs down and become more effi­cient. They want more data and more high-lev­el con­sul­ta­tion around what they can do to tru­ly dri­ve major changes in their fleet to improve their fleets from what they are today. All fleet com­pa­nies have years and years of col­lect­ed data, how­ev­er, we are at the tip of the ice­berg in terms of how much data can be col­lect­ed, processed and ana­lyzed to dri­ve effi­cien­cies in fleets. More con­sul­ta­tion using the right data in the right way – it’s prob­a­bly the num­ber one area of what cus­tomers want.  

Next, all com­pa­nies are look­ing for part­ners and ser­vice-providers that are easy to do busi­ness with. Fleet man­agers today have a lot of respon­si­bil­i­ties; 15 to 20 years ago they may have just man­aged fleet, where­as today many of them man­age mul­ti­ple func­tions with­in their orga­ni­za­tion. PHH has major ini­tia­tives and invest­ments that make it much eas­i­er for the cus­tomer, the dri­ver or the fleet man­ag­er to do busi­ness with us and heav­i­ly rely on us for much of the day-to-day oper­a­tions. 

What excites you about this indus­try?  

Tech­nol­o­gy, absolute­ly tech­nol­o­gy and what it can do for the indus­try. About eight years ago, PHH’s senior lead­er­ship team dis­cussed the indus­try, future trends and the prod­ucts and ser­vices that we need­ed to devel­op to meet the needs of our cus­tomers. Just after is when we launched our telem­at­ics prod­uct, the first fleet man­age­ment com­pa­ny to roll out such a pro­gram. When you are the first com­pa­ny in the mar­ket with some­thing, you are invest­ing a lot of dol­lars, which we did. 

Although adop­tion of telem­at­ics was slow dur­ing the years, the flood gates have now opened. Clients want to know about telem­at­ics because they can see the poten­tial of ben­e­fits from what telem­at­ics can do: dri­ve fuel costs down, reduce main­te­nance and max­i­mize pro­duc­tiv­i­ty of those vehi­cles out in the fleet. It’s a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty in terms of the next pro­duc­tiv­i­ty for fleets. 

The oth­er aspect around tech­nol­o­gy is what the motor com­pa­nies are doing. I recent­ly read an arti­cle that stat­ed motor com­pa­nies pre­dict there are going to be vehi­cles that can dri­ve them­selves in stop-and-go traf­fic, between the years of 2020 and 2025. What does that mean for fleet com­pa­nies? Fleet com­pa­nies make mon­ey when things go wrong, when acci­dents hap­pen and when major main­te­nance trans­ac­tions need to occur. Fleet com­pa­nies need to change the prod­ucts and ser­vices they are offer­ing the cus­tomer if in fact the motor com­pa­nies are suc­cess­ful in mak­ing those vehi­cles so safe that those acci­dents don’t hap­pen. 

When I think about what PHH offers, and has on the hori­zon, in the space of tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ments – what’s being made and being devel­oped and what that can mean for the indus­try – it’s a great time to be in the indus­try and I’m excit­ed about the future.


Thomas W. Keilty
Chief Oper­at­ing Offi­cer and Senior Vice Pres­i­dent, Cus­tomer & Vehi­cle Ser­vices

As COO, Keilty is respon­si­ble for oper­a­tions in the Unit­ed States and Cana­da. He joined PHH in 1995 and his lead­er­ship respon­si­bil­i­ties grew steadi­ly. He was vice pres­i­dent in the Cus­tomer & Vehi­cle Ser­vices orga­ni­za­tion pri­or to his pro­mo­tion to senior vice pres­i­dent. In 2009, he was pro­mot­ed to chief oper­at­ing offi­cer.

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