No matter how small or large, if your clients are in charge of a fleet you’ll already know how important fuel monitoring is to their bottom line. With fuel consumption adding up to a third of most fleets’ running costs, the opportunities for savings are vast – both in terms of time and money.
From sales managers tracking their teams, to facilities departments managing vehicle availability, fleet management touches many areas of the business. Each area is under pressure to ensure an efficient fleet by limiting costs and optimising the return on investment in each vehicle. This is where fuel management takes poll position – in supporting fleet managers to put the brakes on fuel guzzling and proactively manage the health of their fleet.
Manage the challenge of fuel
Fuel management is about monitoring fuel consumption to maintain the health of a fleet, as well as keeping control over costs. Regardless of the industry or size of their fleet, managers need the right support, tools and information to deal with challenges such as:
- Fuel abuse (including card fraud and fuel theft);
- Rising fuel bills; and
- Increases in vehicle maintenance costs.
Quite apart from the macro-economic challenges of a fluctuating fuel price and impending shortage of crude oil, fuel management has a direct impact on the bottom line — and that’s not limited to the fuel price per gallon.
Even in countries where the cost of fuel remains relatively more affordable, the penalty of poor fuel management can still have a knock on effect on workforce productivity. Simply put: time lost = less revenue. Thanks to technology, the tasks of cost control and keeping vehicles well-maintained is easier than ever.
Time for a fuel strategy
When fleet managers begin to measure and track fuel usage, it’s important they have a fuel management strategy in place. Monitoring is one thing, but unless they’re lining up their fuel management goals with a wider company strategy, valuable insight could be lost. This means ensuring that the fuel strategy includes things like: standard refuel and payment procedures, proactive maintenance processes and driver responsibilities.
Through real-time monitoring, fuel management technology gives fleet managers eyes on their vehicles at all times. Clever sensors, intelligent algorithms and GPS technology deliver real data such as the actual cost per km and variables associated with driver behaviour (speeding, idling and harsh driving).
This data, read alongside fuel consumption and spend, will help managers to track pattern changes, pinpoint issues and take proactive measures to circumvent financial losses.
Steering fuel management for growth
With its promise of better fleet accountability and control, fuel management systems will help fleet managers to optimise fuel usage and promote better driving habits. This means ensuring that the system can monitor:
With a range of sensors on the market to detect fuel level, it’s better to monitor volume and detect tank refilling and draining volumes. Integration with the CANBUS will help deliver more accurate results.
TIP – Suggest that fleet managers choose a system that will integrate with any device, with clever sensors (with more than one electrode) for improved accuracy.
Keeping engines in good shape ensures a healthy fleet and keeps costs down. Periodic maintenance is vital as vehicles age, and ensures that engines run well to meet their full fuel efficiency potential.
TIP – Encourage fleet managers to track and proactively schedule maintenance before issues arise. Regular checks of tyre pressures and wheel alignment, along with instant alerts on engine fault codes, will help keep downtime to a minimum.
Common driving behaviours like speeding, over-braking, and idling have a negative effect on fuel consumption. Safety aside, vehicles that are driven non-aggressively will be more fuel efficient and easier on the bottom line — just by getting a few more miles/ km per tank.
TIP – Advise fleet managers to run driver speed awareness programs, coach drivers on good driving practices and quantify the impact of driving behaviour on costs. They could also consider reward and recognition for improved behaviours.
A big picture approach
Time pressures and staffing aside, a fleet software system delivers pure data crunching power that’s impossible with manual methods. With the potential to know their fleet routes and drivers, a real-time technology platform gives managers a big picture view of a wide range of metrics, including fuel.
By integrating with all devices and the onboard CANBUS, the platform will turn this data into intelligence through effective reporting, visual display and statistical modeling. For fleet managers, this intelligence is where its value really begins to shine.
3D Tracking’s device-agnostic platform delivers user-friendly fleet intelligence. To find out how fleet management software will deliver savings to your clients’ bottom line, contact us now.