Ben Franklin taught us that “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Pennies don’t buy as much any more, but anyone who manages a fleet or fueling operation knows that saving money is critical to business survival, not just earnings. The smart ones are adding afuel management system to their toolbox, and using it to monitor both vehicle and driver performance.
Costs present a gut-wrenching challenge these days. They keep you awake at night and seem to assault you at every turn during the work day. Getting the most from your fuel management system’s data-gathering capabilities can create a “domino effect” of efficiencies. You can save money on fuel by reducing consumption, accurately tracking maintenance-related details, and taking control over your fuel assets.
Using in-vehicle GPS and wireless communication can augment your system, helping maximize the benefits. GPS offers maps and directions but also can provide time-, date- and location-stamping for deliveries, work order fulfillment and driver time sheets. And of course wifi allows any-time two-way communication between drivers and your home base.
With a fuel management system, you can capture data during every fueling episode. It’s automatically uploaded to your central database, immediately accessible by anyone who needs it. You can see and quickly respond to problems such as engine error codes. Your accounting and administrative staff have everything they need to complete their work faster and more accurately. And executives have up-to-the-minute facts and figures to make the most effective planning decisions.
The ability to capture information in real time takes your operation to the next level by reducing delay between identifying problems and correcting them. Responding after-the-fact is sluggish, and time is money.
Driver feedback can tell you a great deal.
Using your fuel management system to monitor driver behaviors can reduce fuel consumption and improve productivity. You can virtually eliminate:
- Excessive idle time spent to heat or cool the cab, keep vehicles posed for a faster “getaway” to the next job or simply because your driver isn’t thinking about the consequences. One extra hour of idling per day equates to about 64,000 miles of unnecessary engine wear annually.
- Dispensing the wrong fuel into a vehicle.
- Theft losses.
- Speeding, which wastes fuel.
- After-hours or other unauthorized vehicle use, which also wastes fuel.
You can make better use of driver time, which also facilitates better use of office staff time by eliminating repetitive manual data entry, etc.
Automation eliminates record-keeping mistakes, too, by eliminating human error. With Automotive Information Modules installed, your system operates entirely hands-free. No one can deliberately transfer fuel in an unauthorized way, transpose numbers or forget to record them at all.
Proactive vehicle maintenance.
A fleet operating at peak performance gets the best mileage. An electronic fuel management system can monitor engine error codes and other factors, alerting you right away to anything untimely or abnormal. Regularly recording chronometer and odometer readings upholds your regular preventative maintenance schedule and enables you to refine route planning to further save fuel.
Reduced costs are just the beginning.
Getting drivers to be more alert to their own driving techniques can prevent accidents, which could result in lower insurance premiums. Consistent fleet maintenance lowers costs but also increases vehicle lifespan as well as on-the-road time. That means you can see a stronger return on investment and even use the time you gain to generate additional income by adding more stops to a driver’s route, etc.
Fuel represents an enormous portion of your operating expense. But it’s essential to conduct your business. Since you can’t do without it, you have to control costs as tightly as you can, wherever you can. Adopting a fuel management system – and using it to full advantage – will give you real-time driver feedback you can use to control your inventory and reduce mileage and other fuel-related expenses. And you’ll enjoy those side-benefits of streamlined efficiency and increased productivity, too.
Photo Credit: Duex-Chi