Some businesses depend on their fleet of vehicles to get products to market, to get their people out to customer job sites, and even to move personnel and equipment from one location to another. A vehicle fleet is an investment, and it’s one that can be costly to operate and maintain. Keeping your fleet as efficient as possible will not only help your bottom line, it will also extend the life of your fleet vehicles, saving thousands in capital expenses over the long haul.
Here are a few ways you can go about improving your fleet’s efficiency:
Reduce the costs associated with accidents. You can’t always avoid accidents. When you have a fleet of vehicles on the road, you’re going to have some. Yet every accident has a number of costs associated with it. You have the cost of dealing with the accident, the expense of securing a replacement vehicle and repairs, and more. There are a number of things you can do internally, however, to reduce accidents and their costs. A combination of information and incentives can help your drivers to avoid accidents, increasing your overall efficiency.
Train your drivers on efficient driving.The fact of the matter is that most drivers don’t drive with fuel conservation in mind. It isn’t one of the primary areas of concern for most truck driver training programs. Consider bringing in an instructor to discuss fuel consumption, and to talk about fuel-saving techniques for your fleet.
Look at the lifecycle costs of your fleet. You need to track your fleet and regularly look at the costs involved in maintaining your fleet. As you look at the lifecycle costs of a given vehicle, model, or task, you can better understand how those costs impact your business. In some cases, it may prompt you to switch out to different vehicles for your fleet, or implement more aggressive maintenance activities. Knowing what costs your fleet is going to incur can significantly help you to control those costs.
Implement efficiency based fleet management software.Activity-based costing software can help you to understand the actual costs generated by transportation. It will factor in overhead items such as loading time, delivery delays, and more. All of those hidden costs of fleet management can be identified with the right software.
Put GPS tracking to good use.Today’s fleet GPS systems give you all sorts of ability to monitor and track your fleet. For example, you can set a given route’s parameters, and have the tracking system let you know when a vehicle is outside of those limits. This helps to keep your fleet drivers accountable, and in the long run will improve both time-related efficiency as well as fuel efficiency.
Consider EOBRs.Electronic Onboard Recorders can provide your company with a number of efficiency improvements. First of all, they make the logging process simpler. They also reduce the need for and consumption of paper. EOBRs help to keep your drivers in compliance. They also monitor fuel consumption, and interact with GPS to give you a real-time picture of where your fleet of vehicles are located. Make sure you choose an EOBR with a reputation for good support, as faulty systems can significantly gum up the works and actually reduce your efficiency.
Negotiate fuel contracts.If you have a significantly large fleet, you may be able to save significantly on fuel costs by negotiating your fuel contracts. Fuel purchase solutions can take a significant bite out of your fuel costs, and are especially useful for those companies whose vehicle fleet consists primarily of trucks.
Know when it’s time to switch to more fuel efficient vehicles.Depending on the number of miles a given vehicle type in your fleet accrues each year, you may be able to break even or even save significantly on fuel costs by replacing older vehicles. For some vehicle types (and we’re talking about non-truck fleets, such as you might find with a municipal government) switching out to a more fuel efficient vehicle every 2-3 years can actually help you realize savings.
Ultimately, your fleet is going to be one of the major costs of doing business. That doesn’t mean you have to sit back and just accept those costs. Evaluate your fleet’s performance regularly, and identify areas – such as those above – where you can improve the efficiency of your fleet. Over the long run, it can save your company a significant amount of money.
Nick Stevens is Social Media Coordinator at Fred Loya Insurance. Fred Loya provides general auto insurance as well as unique services catered specifically to customers in multiple states. New mexico auto insurance is an area where they have excelled in recent years in addition to their billingual programs providingcar insurance in California.