How can you improve your Fleet Efficiency?
Until recently, fleet management tools have been the exclusive domain of the large fleets – companies with a few hundred or more trucks that are frequently traveling thousands of miles per day. In these situations, fleet management and the maintenance of those fleets is a full-time job, not just for one person, but often for an entire team of personnel who manage, track and maintain the vehicles.
Technological help for large fleets is delivered through expensive, vast enterprise software programs that require extensive training and implementation into a corporate IT system.
Of course, those types of systems are practical and necessary for massive fleets. But they are completely impractical for small business fleets due to their price tags and significant IT needs. Companies with 5 to 100 vehicles, such as local courier services, agricultural business, plumbing or even busy florists, have long been left out of the benefits of a systemic fleet management system.
When one considers that the vast majority of companies in the U.S. are small businesses, and the vast majority of jobs are created by small businesses, it’s clear that the small business market is wildly underserved when it comes to fleet management.
How can Fleet Efficiency benefit your business
Fleet professionals know the benefits of a good fleet management system: better fuel efficiency, cost-savings, employee accountability, lowered maintenance costs and the ability to deliver better customer service.
Small businesses operate on razor-thin margins and often must function in highly competitive localized markets, meaning they rely on every advantage possible. So, it hardly makes sense that small businesses are generally locked out of enjoying the benefits brought by fleet management technology.
Additionally, as small businesses grow to a few dozen vehicles, they become saddled with an expensive decision: whether or not to hire a fleet manager. While the advantages of a fleet manager can be justified in some companies, for many small businesses, the cost of a non-revenue-producing headcount is just not a reality.
These companies are forced to choose between forgoing the efficiency benefits of fleet management or sinking valuable company resources into a costly fleet manager. In many cases, the benefits simply don’t outweigh the cost of the new-hire.
The Importance of Fleet Efficiency
Fleet tracking is important, but let’s talk about fleet efficiency. Not only is fleet efficiency important for protecting the environment and for your business too.
Poor aerodynamics on your fleet vehicles will cause more costs in fuel, especially when lots of kilometers are driven. This is due to the amount of drag that is created, essentially making your vehicles work harder to move forward, therefore using more gas. Just as if you were biking against hard winds while wearing a very puffy jacket. You will get tired much quicker and use more energy per kilometer. There are many options to consider for adding aerodynamics to your vehicles, without compromising the look!
Regular Scheduled Oil Changes
Executing scheduled oil changes without delay will ensure internal engine parts are protected, saving you money on future repairs. Not only that, but did you know oil health also affects fuel usage? As oil breaks down, it loses its effectiveness to lubricate the internal parts of the engine, causing more friction and heat, which leads to loss of engine efficiency. Make sure oil changes are done on time, and your fleet’s engines will run more smoothly and more efficient.
Tire Pressure Maintenance
Picture yourself riding a bike with nearly flat tires. I bet you’re imagining how hard it is to pedal and how tired you are getting! Well, this principle applies to vehicles as well. Keeping your tires consistently pumped to the correct PSI level will let the vehicles drive along will much less resistance vs. having low tire pressure, and will save you a lot of fuel usage. Keep in mind, tire pressure decreases approximately 1 PSI per 10 degrees Fahrenheit the temperature drops and vice versa. Pump it up to save!
Shift to digital!
Another way to lower costs, and be more efficient, is to go digital. Some things, of course, need to be on paper, but the more you can convert to digital the more you will save. This will reduce printing costs, paper costs, and increase the speed of workflows within the office. This will also reduce clutter and reduce the need for extra storage, creating a clean and pleasant working environment.
Be Sure Your Fleet is the Right Size
If you have vehicles not running, your fleet is too large. Working with transportation experts to right size your fleet and driver workforce can help you to consolidate loads and run smarter without wasting money.
Reduce Wait Times
Fleet idle time is most commonly caused by poor planning that leaves drivers waiting to load or unload. By mapping everything out, detailing the flow and looking for ways to eliminate excess moving, waiting time should decrease.
Reduce Idle Time
After labor, the biggest cost to a fleet is fuel. So why waste that fuel at a roadside rest stop because drivers are leaving engines running? Filling up a big rig takes about $1,000 on average, and by making just a few slight adjustments in driver’s behaviors, a lot of fuel money can be saved in the long run.
Keep Drivers Connected
Onboard technology grows every day and can help drivers make the most of their routes and their vehicles. Real-time data about everything around them can keep drivers and trucks on their route and can get them through traffic issues easier and faster.
Track Driver Behavior
Keeping track of drivers may seem like micromanagement, but every little bit can help the bottom line and knowing when drivers are stopping and idling, their fuel usage and how they’re handling their DOT logs can help fleet owners to train drivers appropriately to do what’s best for the fleet.
See the Big Picture
With technology today, fleet owners can see everything happening across the whole fleet. With all this knowledge, loads can be balanced, productivity of each driver boosted and trade cycles can be fine-tuned. It all benefits the bottom line.
Keep Small Problems Small
Preventative maintenance and inspections are vital in keeping fleets on the road. Vehicle inspection, lubrication, adjustments and just regularly examining the vehicles can make sure any small problems that do pop up don’t become big problems that require a lot of money to fix later.
These are some of our tips, and if you have more, let us know down in the comments below.