Many fleet segments are experiencing consolidation due to mature markets, the pandemic, and other factors. Bringing together acquired fleet assets can be a challenging task. In a growing organization, different operating philosophies, company cultures, and other factors need to be standardized for efficient, effective, and economical fleet operations. Rebranding vehicles can play an integral role in helping a fleet that has grown rapidly through acquisition project a clear and concise message to the market.
Spark Power Corp. was experiencing something that many companies would envy in the COVID-19 environment of 2020: rapid growth. The company, which had begun in 2009 developing community based solar solutions, had been expanding rapidly as it began incorporating electrical contracting, operations and maintenance services in its product offerings. With the acquisition of low to high voltage businesses, as well as power systems engineering and technical field services in Canada and the United States, Spark acquired a fleet of over 550 light and medium duty vehicles, primarily ½ ton pickups.
With these newly acquired vehicles, Spark Power’s Executive Team knew they needed to create a full-time Fleet Manager role to help the company oversee its expanding and complex fleet department. Enter Marie Marra.
Marra, a seasoned professional with fleet management company, corporate and commercial fleet experience took on the role and began standardizing fleet operations. “In my last role, we used ARI, and being very satisfied with their products and services, one of the first things I did was change vendors, making ARI our FMC partner,” says Marra.
Marra’s primary goal was to create a cohesive system within Spark’s fleet department. With many acquisitions over a short period of time, the company sought a cohesive fleet policy, and a large part of Marra’s approach was to standardize these different approaches.
One example was Spark Power’s approach to vehicle selection. “There was a selector list in place,” Marra says, “but it wasn’t adequate for our current and future needs.” A new selector was developed by analyzing the different job functions to determine which vehicles best suited the application and would give workers the tools they needed to do their jobs. The selector was also consolidated to take advantage of greater incentives by moving to fewer OEMs.
Among the integration projects Marra inherited in her new role was a rebranding project that was already in the works prior to joining Spark Power; rebranding the acquired Spark Power fleet vehicles.. Based on factors including price, quality, and reputation, Spark Power chose Turbo Images to complete the rebranding process. “Overall, we were very pleased with the job Turbo Images did for us,” says Marra. “We coordinated with the business divisions to provide a list of vehicles and set a schedule for the rebranding to be done. Turbo was really flexible, arranging for some of the work to be done on weekends, to help us reduce downtime.” For most of the vehicles, the rebranding was accomplished in a day and included stripping old decals and wraps off, and then adding the new Spark Power logo. In order to satisfy internal customer requirements, Spark and Turbo developed two designs to accommodate different vehicle types and upfits.
The job was not without its hiccups, which included Canada/US border delays due to COVID-19 and co-ordinating some installations. Overall, however, the project was a success.“The drivers are really pleased with the new branding on their work trucks and the rebranding has helped to solidify the fleet integration,” says Marra.
Spark has more fleet projects planned, including a sustainability initiative that is looking to electrify the fleet as the company’s electric vehicle work continues to expand. With the experience gained from this rebranding project, strong vendor partners and Marra overseeing Spark Power’s fleet, the future looks bright.