A fuel management system can help your organization gain – and retain – a competitive advantage. That’s not just a business buzz word or a lofty concept. It has become a bottom-line requirement for any company that expects to succeed in an increasingly difficult working environment.
If you’re managing a publicly-owned operation and therefore think you don’t need a “competitive advantage,” think again. The reality is you’re held just as responsible for financial outcomes as managers in the private sector. Stakeholders from legislative bodies to the general public are extremely interested in containing costs, especially as government at all levels is called upon to do more with vanishing resources.
A fuel management system offers advantages that benefit all types and sizes of users, regardless of their need for competitive position. Here are three of the most popular:
1. Ignorance is definitely not bliss. You need information, and you need it now.
Unaddressed small problems have a way of magnifying themselves. When it comes to vehicle repairs, the greater the problem the longer the delay while your truck is out of service in the shop. And of course the greater the costs, both out-of-pocket and lost revenue.
But you can’t fix problems if you don’t know they exist. A fuel management system helps keep your vehicles ready to go and on the road, by alerting you to engine trouble codes or other anomalies so you can attend to them right away.
Just performing the simplest routine maintenance – tire inflation, changing spark plugs, filters, oil and so on – can improve your mileage by 4-10%. Simple arithmetic proves you could save hundreds if not thousands of dollars per vehicle each year. Happily, a fuel management system gives you the information you need to keep your fleet maintenance schedule on schedule.
Beyond maintenance issues, the information you’re able to collect can help identify driver behaviors that are costing you money. Armed with these details, you can revise training or impose restrictions that curb time- and fuel-wasters like excessive idling, PTO and speeding.
And since you can closely track every drop of fuel from the time you purchase it, you can virtually eliminate dispensing mistakes and outright theft, both of which can cost you dearly.
2. You can make smarter, more timely decisions.
Anecdotal information and educated guesses based on experience can often guide you pretty well, but they don’t replace actual verifiable information. And sometimes they can be surprisingly off-base after all, in which case they’ve lead you astray. You cannot maintain a competitive edge without remaining well-focused.
Automated fuel management ensures consistent, accurate and thorough record keeping. You get the information you need in a timely manner, so you can manage your fuel operations efficiently and effectively. You’re better able to meet financial and productivity goals and to develop forecasts, budgets and plans for the future. You always have the data you need for compliance reporting.
Even small inaccuracies or information gaps can cause significant trouble if you base your plans and expectations — and investment — on them. A fuel management system can help you avoid wasting resources or missing opportunities, and that’s critical to retain your competitive advantage.
3. Save money and increase productivity.
Using a fuel management system puts your company on a more stable financial footing, by introducing widespread efficiencies that start in the vehicle and at the fueling pump but spread to your administrative and management offices. That gives you the strength to weather volatile market conditions and tighter control to withstand ever-narrowing margins. You’re in a stronger position for the long haul.
You can’t grab opportunities if you’re disorganized. A fuel management system gives you confidence in your entire fleet and fueling operation, thanks to reliable, up-to-the-minute information. You can be decisive, even bold when you need to be. And that’s what competitive advantage is all about.
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