Are you looking to run a more efficient fleet and reduce operating costs? Who wouldn’t. We all try and save money by doing all sorts of things to help reduce costs at home as well as our business. Here are some pointers on how to run a more efficient fleet.
Create a Baseline
Before you can start to reduce fleet costs you need to determine what your baseline is. A baseline is where all comparisons are made. How much are you spending on gas each day across all vehicles? How much are you spending on maintenance monthly? Some fleet managers keep detailed records, some just guess or don’t care. You can’t start improving until you start measuring. If you have a GPS tracking system, this kind of data is probably readily available, you just need to start using it.
Once you have your numbers, make sure every driver in your fleet knows what their numbers are. Make sure they know what’s being spent on fuel, maintenance, insurance, etc. Give them their numbers and work with them to identify areas to start reducing costs. Ask if they idle frequently and if they know how much fuel it wastes. Ask if they realize the impact of hard breaking, rapid acceleration, hard cornering, etc. on their vehicle’s maintenance. Are they reporting issues to your fleet mechanic or just living with them? Create a safe driver program or rewards for keeping up with maintenance.
Your drivers spend a lot of time in their vehicles. Over time they may begin to feel as if the vehicle is theirs. This can sometimes lead to misuse as employees begin using their vehicles inappropriately on weekends or after hours. Do you let these incidents go or do you restrict this kind of use? You may find that eliminating personal use not only reduces fuel use and wear and tear, but it also may save your reputation. A van with your name on it parked after hours at an inappropriate location could be damaging your reputation and losing you business.
Initiate Fuel Usage Policies – Introduce a Fuel Card and Usage Policy
Fleet fuel cards can provide discounts and rewards, reduce paperwork, save you from fraudulent spending, provide purchase controls, improve driver security and much more. If you’re already using fuel cards, make sure you’re getting the most out of them. That starts with developing and communicating a usage policy including:
- Acceptable card uses
- Unacceptable card use
- Consequences for improper use
- Card spending limits
- Retention of receipts
It is important to have this communication between drivers and owners/management to make sure everyone understands the rules and the consequences of not adhering to these rules. Policies in place can also help to reduce insurance costs as well. Many carriers have programs that can help you with the implementation of a safe driver program.
Robert Drucker is owner of Boston Global Tracking, providing GPS tracking solutions for fleets of all sizes. He helps business owners keep track of what they value most.