If you own a small business that operates vehicles for commercial use, i.e. a cleaning company, a mobile salon, or a restaurant or any other business that delivers, you already know the pain of fleet management costs.
are a small business owner with two or more commercial vehicles, or you are a
fleet manager in an enterprise that has fleet of 100+ vehicles, one of your
prime concerns is fuel that the fleets runs on.
Fuel is a major cost for any company that runs a fleet and becoming fuel efficient can actually improve the overall profitability of the business. However, it is equally challenging and in fact it is the major concern for almost all small business fleet managers, to find out the ways with which they could do more to reduce fuel costs.
article will guide you through the steps to reduce the fuel costs for your
business and make your fleet more efficient, hence it contributes to the
profitability of the business rather than draining the profits.
1- Track Fuel Purchases
Remember, that you can only fix the problems that you can track. An in order to save fuel you must track it first. Using fuel cards can be a great way to track fuel purchases in detail.
Normally, a fuel card shows the number of gallons filled, the odometer reading, the date and time, the total cost and the name of the driver who filled up the tank. Fuel cards have a lot more benefits other than just tracking the fuel purchases, read more.
2- Implement Digitization to Track Fuel Consumption
Tracking fuel consumption can be quite a laborious task if
done manually, so the best way is to digitize the system. There are various
software available in the market that can help you create an efficient logbook
with real-time vehicle odometer.
Having control over this vital information, you can easily track
fuel consumption and identify the problematic areas. Moreover, you can also monitor
the driver’s behavior and how it impacts fuel consumption.
3- Reduce the Idle Time & Empty Miles
An average fleet vehicle burns around 1 to 3 litters of fuel on idling every hour, and if your fleet vehicle idles for about 3 to hours every day, there’s a lot of expense that is decreasing the profitability of your business.
Moreover, empty miles can contribute to big expenses, for
instance, a truck makes a delivery but comes back empty; the trip back to the
warehouse is just adding up the costs. These instance can be optimized easy
through implementing proper plan, i.e. partnering with a provider to arrange
backhaul opportunities or scheduling another pickup/delivery near the original
delivery to avoid the empty miles.
You may not be noticing this as a problem if you have a
couple of vehicles, but if your fleet is comprised of 10 vehicles and each of
them has more than 2 hours of idling or empty miles, it can be a significantly
Reducing the idling time of vehicles doesn’t just saves fuel
but will also help you reduce the maintenance costs.
4- Implement Driver’s Training & Reward Program
Having a written policy that clearly defines the
expectations for drivers around fuel and set parameters for the overall best
practices can drastically improve the performance of drivers and as of course
as a result you save major fuel and vehicle maintenance costs. Make sure to communicate
this policy to all your drivers on regular basis.
Conduct training sessions for drivers on monthly basis, but
if it is not possible, there should be a quarterly session at least.
Give them achievable goals, measure their performance on
regular basis and reward the top performer!
5- Have a Set Vehicle Maintenance Schedule in Place
A well maintained vehicle is more fuel efficient than the
one that has issues with several parts. For instance, under-inflated tires and
corroded battery cables can cause a vehicle to use more fuel.
There can be tens of other issues which require a regular checkup,
i.e. the engine, battery, suspensions, etc. Having a set maintenance schedule
and having a healthy vehicle can significantly save fuel costs.
6- Invest in Drivers’ Communication
Communication with your drivers can be challenging. As most
of the time, they are on road and SMS, email, radio isn’t always the option.
Using a good software can streamline and simplify the
process. In fact, there are tens of smartphone apps available to improve the
communication with your drivers, provide them with the accurate maps and
driving directions. As a result, drivers are least distracted, make deliveries
on time, save fuel and time!
The Bottom Line:
Efficient fleet can greatly contribute to the profitability of your small business, however, it requires parallel efforts to maintain this efficiency. Digital transformation of your entire fleet management procedure is a great way to maintain efficiency in the long run.
About Author: Que Jay
I am an Internet Marketing enthusiast with core expertise in SEO/SEM, Social Media, Online Brand & Reputation Management, and Digital Media Strategy for B2B & B2C, Business Analysis, Business Development, Content Marketing, Campaign Management, Online Revenue Model Optimization and ROI Analysis.