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30 Most Innovative Companies 2018


ciobulletin donlen tom callahan president

We are a leading-edge fleet management company: Donlen

Almost all businesses use some sort of transportation, so fleet management can help companies focus on their core business. Fleet management allows companies to manage their fleet during the entire transportation process.

Nowadays, fleet services are designed in order to minimize vehicle investment risks, reduce transportation and staff costs, improve transport efficiency and increase productivity. This results in an overall optimization of the company’s fleet management process and a reduction in costs.

On April 27, 1965, Donlen was established by Donald “Don” Rappeport and Leonard “Len” Vine who recognized the potential of the fleet leasing and management industry and decided to be a part of this growing industry.

During the ’70s, Donlen began positioning itself as innovative leaders in fleet management by deviating from the typical business sedan and putting clients in specialty-type cars. In the ’80s, the firm became technology innovators by being the first to pioneer computer-based fleet leasing seminars. This new technology allowed fleet managers to take weeks off the vehicle ordering process.

Donlen provided outstanding customer service via technology. It was one of the first fleet management firms to go paperless. The company uses a computerized system particularly to enhance customer service pace and efficiency.

In the 21st century, Donlen continued to expand its technology services and improve the processes for its customers. Being technology leaders is in its DNA. Donlen was not the first company in the fleet business, but it is definitely the most “tech savvy” company. In 2012, Donlen became part of the Hertz family in a move that was and still is mutually beneficial to both organizations. Donlen’s partnership allows it to support one another as well as work together to advance technological efforts and improve processes across the board.

In the past 50 years, Donlen’s contribution to the industry includes:

  • Introducing Recall inSIGHT, Donlen’s comprehensive vehicle recall management tool
  • Developing the Donlen Risk Center that provides a real-time view of vehicle data and driver behavior that results in proactive insights to identify drivers with a propensity for unsafe behavior behind-the-wheel. The solution is driven by predictive analytics
  • Donlen developed DriverPoint® Telematics, the industry’s most advanced and accurate telematics platform
  • FleetWeb® was named Microsoft’s “Best e-Commerce Solution”
  • Donlen’s Vehicle Optimization Model® (VOM) revolutionized lifecycle analysis through the industry’s most advanced tools, consultation, and benchmarking
  • Donlen’s Prevent Unnecessary Spending and Hazards (PUSH) was the industry’s first customizable, automated email technology
  • Donlen launched the Customer Activity and Request Engine (CARE), its proprietary relationship management tool that gave transparency to all customer service requests
  • Donlen created the first-ever fleet carbon reporting tool used to track and benchmark a fleet’s carbon output
  • Donlen launched the first fleet management app for the iPhone

Donlen and its parent company Hertz is working closely on delivering fleet solutions to mobility fleets. It has come up with several new products over the last 12 to 18 months that benefited ride-hailing and ride-sharing companies. The firm’s focus on the emerging mobility space will help evolve its solutions that will benefit traditional vehicle fleets and autonomous fleets.

When asked about the firm’s culture of innovation, team Donlen said that creating a culture of innovations start with their mission of creating a decision-making culture for all employees. They empower employees to make decisions at all levels of the company. Donlen’s best decisions come from those closest to the process. Since innovation is the key to its future, new ideas from their employees are encouraged and explored. Donlen is quick to learn from its successes.

“To keep our culture of innovation moving in the direction we want, we handle all technology development in-house at a time when the industry favors outsourcing. This approach allows us to hire top talent. Innovation days are made available to the development teams, so they are empowered and challenged to innovate both technically and creatively. In addition, each member of our IT team is given an annual budget for training in any technology that they are interested in.”

Donlen’s business, product team, and IT collaborate to develop three-year roadmaps to bring the latest technology solutions to its customers. Every week, the firm begins with a collaborative meeting of its groups to discuss deliveries for the week. Technologies such as Selenium automated regression testing, Bitbucket, Spring Boot, Jira and Confluence allow Donlen to have major releases on a weekly basis while maintaining its commitment to quality. These processes all lead to new innovation and product features delivered into the customer’s hands on a timely basis.

‘Complete customer satisfaction’ is what Donlen strives for. The Donlen team says, “The voice of our customers is very important in our product and service development. Our Client Advisory Board includes several technology leaders, with whom we collaborate to design the next generation of fleet technology products for the benefit of all of our customers. We listen to feedback, capture all relevant comments, and provide the opportunity for our Client Advisory Board members to participate earlier on in the development cycle. This transparency allows trust and loyalty to be built as our customers quickly see that we take their opinions and integrate feedback into our product rollouts.”

Talking about the firm’s products and services, Donlen team said that the firm built its own telematics program, DriverPoint® Telematics. DriverPoint Telematics is the industry’s most comprehensive telematics platform that helps improve the safety of fleets, decrease costs, and manage driver productivity. The firm’s telematics solution provides wireless connectivity without the need of a plug-in device to capture data from OnStar vehicles. OnStar telematics is integrated with DriverPoint to provide driver location and behavior as well as vehicle diagnostics directly from properly equipped GM vehicles. For any non-GM vehicles, Donlen offers a best-in-class hardware solution that leverages the most reliable devices on the market.

DriverPoint is accessible through FleetWeb®, Donlen’s award-winning fleet management platform. FleetWeb provides actionable reports, along with the option to design highly customized reports, which can be viewed online or downloaded for later use for the company’s fleet customers. All of Donlen’s systems are completely integrated on FleetWeb, allowing immediate data access using real-time data. This enables customers to receive an end-to-end strategic fleet management view of their entire fleet’s performance.

Donlen’s Visualization tool summarizes a customer’s fleet’s performance using intuitive, easy-to-understand, and actionable charts and graphs to help improve productivity and reduce unnecessary spending.

Having powerful data that saves lives is a key differentiator for Donlen. The firm’s industry-first, The Donlen Risk Center, reduces fleet accident rates by 15 to 20%. It provides a quick view to identify high-risk drivers based on driving data, lists steps to positively influence their driving behavior, and reduces risk to the organization. Customers gain a comprehensive view of their fleet’s overall risk, uncover high-risk drivers, can take preventive action to improve safety, and get the reporting they need to view fleet, division, and individual driver level risk information.

Donlen will continue focusing on integrating information from external data sources, for example certain vehicle OEMs and other partners, so the information is available through one Donlen platform making it easier to manage fleets. Donlen’s business model will always be focused on its customers, the safety of their drivers, and finding ways to give them the lowest cost per mile for their operations, whether that be measured in total cost of ownership or total cost of mobility. Donlen will continue to embrace data and analytics and turn that data into actionable strategies to improve productivity. You will see more mobility offerings from Donlen, and its services will be enhanced to serve the emerging fleets that are expected to grow over the next few years.

Howdy Tom

Tom Callahan is currently the president of Donlen, setting the strategic direction and driving the execution of key growth initiatives. Under Callahan’s leadership, Donlen has received numerous awards for its customer service, employee satisfaction and engagement, and product development and technology platforms. As a result of his strategic direction, the company has experienced consistent year-over-year growth. His attention to employee satisfaction and corporate culture ensures that Donlen’s customers receive quality support from all Donlen employees. Callahan is a member of the Hertz Executive Committee.

“We help our customers achieve the lowest total cost of ownership with the industry's most comprehensive fleet management solutions, impactful data and strategic consulting.”

“We specialize in fleet leasing, fleet management, asset acquisition, fleet administrative services, telematics, remarketing and strategic consulting.”

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