PARS’ Erik Rasmussen, Director of Outside Operations, recently spoke to Fleet Management Weekly about its unique service of checking for open safety recalls on every car entered into the company’s system, including the variety of options available for recalled vehicles. Click here to see the video.
What do the ice cream capital of the world, the birthplace of the Ferris wheel, and the home of the world’s longest boardwalk all have in common?
These are all places PARS drivers have been as part of a vehicle relocation!
Each year PARS drivers log millions of miles relocating customers’ vehicles. There aren’t too many cities or towns in the United States that PARS drivers haven’t experienced as part of a vehicle pickup or delivery. Naturally, visiting so many different places leads to some interesting stories and obscure factoids from our drivers.
Did you know that Myrtle Beach, SC, is considered mini golf capital of the world? Or “The Outsiders” was filmed in Owasso, OK? Or Norfolk, VA, boasts the USS Wisconsin? Or Bennington, VT, has a 306-foot obelisk commemorating the Battle of Bennington? These are places our drivers have experienced and enthusiastically described to their colleagues and families.
“We have a number of drivers who will tell me stories about the places they go, the history, the people, and the architecture. I enjoy listening to their stories and learning new trivia about American cities,” remarked our Kansas City employee, Kim Boese.
Sometimes, a pickup or delivery location will be off the beaten path, making logistical planning difficult. Scott Krug, manager in our Chicago office, recalled, “We have had delivery destinations where no public transportation options, such as a taxi or bus, existed. We then must get creative to ensure our drivers have a ride following the delivery. I remember delivering to a small town in the Midwest where we had to call the local chamber of commerce to find out that there was a shuttle van that ran once a day to the nearest major city.”
So, if you’re wondering if PARS has been to your town, chances are we have. And, if we haven’t been there, we will. Who knows, maybe our driver will even share stories about your town and what makes it so special!
(Below: photo of obelisk in Bennington, VT)
PARS, the leader in fleet vehicle transport and logistics, announced a new Open Safety Recall Check service. The new complimentary feature, based on a real-time feed of open safety recall data from NHTSA’s safercar.gov database, protects drivers and clients from potential safety and liability issues resulting from recalls.
According to PARS president Lori Rasmussen, PARS will initiate a check for open safety recalls after the submission of each order: “If any open safety recalls are found, you receive immediate notice, and the order is placed on “Hold” until we obtain the client’s guidance.” PARS fleet clients can have the company attempt to address a recall prior to delivery if the remedy and parts are available. Other alternatives include having PARS store the vehicle until a remedy and parts become available, or authorizing delivery of the vehicle as is.
Rasmussen added, “This new Open Safety Recall Check service demonstrates our company’s continuing investment in vehicle transport and logistics technology as well as our continuing commitment to delivering the industry’s highest level of customer service.
“We are excited to bring an industry first to our customers and hope it will provide additional peace of mind when it comes to vehicle safety.”
On the evening of April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day, thousands of landmarks, businesses, houses of worship, and communities in more than 147 countries marked the seventh annual “Light It Up Blue” campaign to raise global awareness of autism spectrum disorder.
The employees of PARS marked this very special event on Friday, April 1st, by dressing in blue to show their support. . Autism currently affects 1 in 68 children in the United States, according to newly released statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The “Light It Up Blue” campaign marked the start of Autism Awareness Month in April. This year, more than 11,000 buildings are joining the campaign in a show of support for the 70 million people around the world who are affected by the disorder. World Autism Awareness Day was adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to focus on autism as a global health issue and to support, empower and enhance the well-being of people on the autism spectrum and their families. The goal is to increase knowledge about autism spectrum disorder and the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention.
A Conversation with PARS’ Lori Rasmussen
By Janice Sutton, Fleet Management Weekly
We recently met with Lori Rasmussen, president of PARS and chairperson of Women in Fleet, to talk about the Women in Fleet group that she and other fleet professional women created several years ago.
Lori says, ‘The purpose of Women in Fleet is not to separate women; women have worked so hard in this industry for equality with men, but to create a group where we can support other women, new women in the industry, and pair them with veteran women in the industry. It is a resource to help someone if she needs help with something or just needs coaching.”
Lori, let’s talk about Women in Fleet, giving us some background on the group.
Women in Fleet was created a couple of years ago by a group of women with the purpose of creating a network and environment where women can go and utilize the resources of the women in the group.
The group came to AFLA when I was the AFLA president and said, “We have this idea. Is AFLA willing to help us?” I thought it was a wonderful idea so I came on board with the group.
Over the past couple of years we have developed speakers at both NAFA Fleet Management Association and AFLA conferences with content that we think would enrich women. In addition, we have been working on webinars on fleet related topics, but also personal topics, topics that may help somebody in their professional career, as well as their personal career.
The purpose of Women in Fleet is not to separate women; women have worked so hard in this industry for equality with men, but to create a group where we can support other women, new women in the industry, and pair them with veteran women in the industry. It is a resource to help someone if she needs help with something or just needs coaching.
When I first joined the fleet industry, a veteran fleet manager took me under her wing, mentored me, and helped me get really comfortable within this industry. That is one of the reasons why I am involved in Women in Fleet. I feel it is my duty to pay it forward, to be there for other women in the industry, as well as to help them if they have questions or if they are unsure of something and to just be a mentor and be there for them if I can be.
How can a woman get involved with Women in Fleet?
Women in Fleet is always looking for volunteers; the success of the organization is getting women involved. Anyone who is interested in getting involved can go to the AFLA Board or can contact me or any of the other women on the committee. Our website is www.womeninfleet.org
What would a volunteer’s role be?
One of the important things that the Women in Fleet group is trying to do is create a mentorship program to pair women with new women into the industry.
In addition, we sponsor many educational sessions. At the recent AFLA Conference we had Ann Fandozzi speaking on her experience as a woman in the automotive industry. We also hold webinars and last year did a book club. We read ‘Lean In’ and talked about the book, how it related to our own lives and how we could take some of the things that she mentioned in the book and implement them.
What is your role with Women in Fleet?
I am the Chairperson and I am working with Carolyn Edwards, Strategic Account Sales Vice President at LeasePlan USA, and another group of wonderful women. What we do is we try to look for volunteers to become a part of the group in addition to planning the education sessions. We meet once a month and we look at certain topics that we feel would be a benefit to the women in the group, both from a professional or personal standpoint, or current topics that are currently affecting the fleet industry.
Recently, Lori Rasmussen spoke to Fleet Management Weekly about the beginnings of Women in Fleet Management (WIFM) group:
“WIFM was created a few years ago by a group of women involved in the fleet industry with the purpose of serving as a resource for personal and career fulfillment through mentoring, fleet expertise sharing, fleet and business community involvement, and networking.”
The founders approached the Automotive Fleet Leasing Association board when Lori was president for support in launching the group. Not only did AFLA support the new association, but Lori became a WIFM member herself. And, she sees a bright future as the organization takes its first steps.
“WIFM has already been active in securing speakers for both NAFA and AFLA conferences. Our focus is on topics that enrich women in their professional and personal lives. In addition, we are working on webinars to reach even more women,” noted Lori.
Remembering that a veteran fleet manager took Lori under her wing, mentored her, and helped her become part of the industry when she first started, the now-president of PARS expressed her desire to pay it forward: “I feel that it is my duty to be there for other women in the industry, to help them if they have questions, and to reassure and share my experience.”
PARS President and WIFM (Women in Fleet Management) leader Lori Rasmussen will introduce keynote speaker Ann Fandozzi, CEO of vRide, during the organization’s session being held during the Automotive Fleet Leasing Association (AFLA) conference. Ms. Fandozzi will speak Wednesday morning, September 16th at 11:15 am. The conference is being held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville.
Ms. Fandozzi will share her rise from engineer to the leader of the nation’s largest private provider of commuter vanpooling. She has years of experience in the transportation industry.
Prior to joining vRide, she served in senior management positions at Whirlpool Corporation and at DaimlerChrysler Corporation. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Stevens Institute of Technology.
The June 30th Fleet Management Weekly newsletter featured the following story about the new PARS customer portal:
PARS, a leader in fleet vehicle transport and logistics, launched its new online PARS customer portal today. The secure gateway features more real-time data, fleet management tools, and reports that address the increased complexity of fleet vehicle transport projects.
“We have invested in the latest web development technology to simplify navigation, enhance project management, and make doing business with PARS easier than ever,” notes Lori Rasmussen, president of PARS. “Today’s fleet manager needs the ability to combine vehicle transport with any number of adjunct services, such as storage, license and titling, body repair or maintenance. Our new system integrates Big Data collection, expands reports and offers greater management control.”
Leveraging the state-of-the-art capabilities of a cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics suite of business solutions, PARS new portal provides personalized, proactive, and predictive experiences to its customers while integrating with customers’ vehicle management/transportation systems.
Ms. Rasmussen noted that PARS transportation experts are empowered with a single, unified experience that enables them to serve customers with much greater efficiency, too.
Key features of the new portal include:
• Easy creation of Quotes and Orders
• Flexible searching by order, VIN, Fleet/Unit#
• Address and VIN verifications
• Dashboard summarizing order and vehicle status
• Full history of orders, contacts, and vehicles
• Automatic storage location assignment
• Easy to interpret status indicator for each order
• Picture and contact info for assigned PARS specialist
Customers access the PARS customer portal through a LOGIN button on the company’s website, www.parsinc.com. Help in the form of training material and FAQs are featured to ease navigation and explain tools and features.
At the recent NAFA I&E Education Session on “Getting the Most Value from Your Vehicle Transport Dollars,” PARS President Lori Rasmussen offer the following transport technology takeaways for attendees:
- Technology is enabling better information exchange and, therefore, better decision making.
- Fleet vehicle transporters have continued to expand services and capabilities, evolving into an extension of fleet managers and playing a much larger role in fleet management.
- Mobilization will continue to grow, increasing business productivity but also introducing new challenges such as privacy and safety concerns.
- It is critical that companies with fleet relocation needs work closely with transporters (either directly or through FMC) to identify their specific fleet needs and priorities around transportation. Utilize the knowledge and expertise from your transportation partner to help you make informed decisions on how best to assist you and your company’s needs.
Expectations of fleet managers are ever-increasing. Effective decision making requires good information from vehicle transporters – descriptions of the conditions, photos, etc. Technology allows this information to rapidly reach decision makers and other stakeholders. It allows more transparency in the exchange of information and how it’s communicated to each party involved. Technology will also allow us to automate some of the decisions based on the already defined customer parameters in the system. PARS is leading the industry with new technology designed to exceed its customer expectations. Stay tuned for more news in the weeks ahead!