24 Oct 16

Pfizer: From careful instigation to effective measurement

Over recent years, more and more multinational companies have decided to ‘go global’ with their fleet management. Not an easy task, and not for everybody. But if you do it right, going global supports fleet efficiency. Fred Turco, Senior Director at Pfizer and responsible for the global fleet, tells us how his company did.


Founded in 1849, Pfizer is now one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, and turns over in excess of 50 billion dollars. Few companies can claim to be quite as global in their fleet management as Pfizer, and organizing an over-riding policy is a daunting prospect. But Pfizer has done it, and Fred Turco reveals how to ensure success and how make sure the rest of the world follows the central policy.


Why did you decide to go global with your fleet policies in the first place?

Fred Turco: “It was in order to bring us better centralization of demand and standardization of policies with regard to field force tool of trade car selection/operation, and consistency with the total reward philosophy for management vehicles. Our policy and enabling procedure framework has led to management vehicle equity and improved program effectiveness and efficiency in the 73 countries in which we operate.”


Can a policy like this be genuinely global or are there regional differences?

Fred Turco: “You can have a global framework that allows for regional differences, so the answer is that the policy is both global and regional – it’s not a matter of one or the other. We have a global policy that defines the ‘what’ through key principles such as field force vehicles are tool of trade and selected based on safety, business need and total cost—not competitiveness.  Regional or even national execution that is more specific to the ‘how’ in that region or country. By ‘what’ I mean minimum and maximum performance standards specific to car type and operations. The ‘how’ is the actual way the more local organization implements this.”


What is not covered at a global level?

Fred Turco: “Additional car services for some executives, for example in the USA and China, where drivers are sometimes provided. This type of service is not generally provided in Europe, so it’s not in our policy. We also do not include some of the on-site vehicles in some of our manufacturing plants, in a global policy. But these are small exceptions addressed alternatively.”


How do you go about rolling out a global policy?

Fred Turco: “Well, my first reaction is ‘carefully’! We first focused on the top 12 countries by fleet size in the initial rollout in 2010. We have since fully rolled out the policy in partnership with HR and other enabling functions. Key change management elements are:

  • to use evolution not revolution by grandfathering existing non-adherence until car renewal or another sensible change trigger.  This helps address work counsel/labor law issues as well as colleague engagement concerns.
  • Having senior leadership sponsorship.  There will be issues at a global scale and having a clear escalation path including senior leadership is key to fully promoting change in a sustainable way.


We have just rolled out a revision to our policy to further align with shifting business needs and clarify key elements such as roles and responsibilities, where necessary, as a result of implementation experience.  In short, we have taken country, regional and global feedback to improve the policy for easier adoption, implementation. Therefore, the policy stays current and easily integrates into how we operate.”


How do you ensure compliance withy a policy that operates in so many countries?

Fred Turco: “We are a fairly outsourced fleet but we have what we call a global fleet database or management system. We collect data on our specific fleet KPI’s on a quarterly basis along with an annualized fleet profile. This is one way we make sure we are within Total Cost of Ownership parameters, car eligibility parameters and others, in particular with regard to the fleet profile.

The second way involves carrying out annual policy reviews within each country, led by Procurement. Then there is a governance function which reviews at a regional level. And finally, we have management vehicle reviews every three years where we get external input to benchmark with the local country’s norms, to make sure we are consistent there as well. So in summary, compliance is ring-fenced with three different management systems.”


Looking at the ‘green’ question, this is becoming extremely important in Europe, with much legislation either here or expected. How do you deal with this in Europe, and what is the situation in the USA?

Fred Turco:  “We have a green strategy document for Europe that we developed in collaboration with the OEMs and lease companies. It establishes a road map for year over year CO2 reduction ahead of legislative mandate through CO2 caps, car selection and operational control. We have or are developing a similar framework for the other geographic regions that is appropriate to their external/internal maturity. Globally, we have had a normalized per car average 6% reduction per year in CO2 emissions since 2010.”


The message comes out loud and clear: be sure you know what you want to do, involve all of those who will be most directly affected, and then have all the systems in place for measuring compliance and results.



  • Sector of activities: Pharmaceutical
  • Headquarters: New York
  • Number of countries (fleet): 73
  • Person in charge of fleet: Fred Turco 
  • Job title: Sr. Director
Authored by: Tim Harrup