Case study

Smithsonian Institution Achieves Significant Fleet Efficiency Improvements

True lifecycle cost analysis – leading to lower costs and better planning and decision-making, thanks to the introduction of single data management architecture.

Around the world, the Smithsonian Institution is hard at work achieving its cultural and educational objectives. To support those initiatives it has more than 2,500 assets. But while it promotes technology and understanding, it also recognized it needed to up its game internally. In recognition of the need to gain better control over its fleet operations, the Smithsonian Institution commissioned an independent comprehensive review of its existing fleet management practices.

This report made numerous recommendations for improvements so that the Smithsonian could better manage its vehicles, having found that an inefficient and disjointed approach to fleet management was in place

The need for a change in tactics

The Smithsonian brought in a Fleet Manager, who immediately recognized the need for an effective fleet information system that would assist the organization in streamlining the management of its fleet operations as well as help it to reduce operating costs.

Putting a solution in place

The institution opted for FleetWave, because it was able to be customized for the specific needs of the charitable organization.

Chevin worked with the Smithsonian Institution to conduct detailed business process reviews; to configure individual screens and prototypes; to design and test interfaces; to migrate data from current stand-alone systems; to install test and production environments, and to provide onsite training.

Smithsonian explains the reasons behind partnering with Chevin Fleet Solutions:

After looking at several competing products, it was clear that FleetWave would be the best tool for the job. The fact that FleetWave is web-based rather than just web-enabled, mirrors the nature of the Smithsonian and means regardless of where our users are located around the world they have access to up-to-date meaningful fleet data. Another selling point was the ability to configure FleetWave to the specific needs of our organization instead of trying to shape our processes around an inflexible piece of software. This surprisingly wasn’t an option with the majority of the other applications we considered, but it’s a big plus in terms of usability.


Using FleetWave’s integrated suite of workshop, inventory and fuel management tools, the Smithsonian supports all maintenance management oversight and cost visibility using the single, centrally-administered fleet management information system.

A fuel interface is supporting the institution’s goal of importing 100% of its conventional and alternative fuel details and deploying FleetWave’s motor pool module allows the Smithsonian’s drivers to pool vehicles from anywhere, at any time.

A wide range of Smithsonian personnel – from the central fleet administration team to remote technicians and internal fleet users – are using FleetWave. Individually configured user login details ensure that secure access to fleet operating data is always maintained so that proprietary data – such as confidential driver details – is only accessible to appropriate personnel.

Impressive improvements in fleet efficiencies 

The Smithsonian Institution’s fleet management team are now able to determine the true lifecycle cost of assets. Bi-annual mandatory fleet status reporting alone has been cut from months to days, and in addition, they’re able to produce in-depth fiscal reports, which not only saves months of data manipulation and manual analysis but also enables more informed fact-based financial decisions.

According to the Fleet Manager, there has been a great return on the Smithsonian’s software investment in FleetWave: “Before the implementation of FleetWave, it was often impossible to make informed fact-based decisions. Post-implementation, it’s a different story altogether as we’ve clearly achieved a recognizable return on our investment by migrating to FleetWave. We now have complete control over all costs and a much better understanding of our operational efficiencies – this was impossible without FleetWave.

“The Smithsonian Institution has transformed its fleet operations and is continuing to fine tune processes to ensure more consistent and cost-effective fleet management practices. The financial cost of operating the fleet has not only been made more transparent but now is significantly reduced. With FleetWave we have a leaner fleet operation and financial resources to help the Smithsonian Institution achieve its cultural and educational objectives around the world.”

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