One of the biggest expenditures for any vehicle fleet company is the fuel that they consume. All fleet owners and managers will know that good fuel management is essential to running a successful fleet company. Even though fluctuating petrol prices are not within a fleet manager’s control, becoming more fuel efficient in their daily fleet operations and how fuel usage is measured and monitored can be.
Besides labour costs, there is no greater operating cost for a modern vehicle fleet than their fuel consumption. Without taking control of your fuel management, your fleet company operations will never run as productively or efficiently as they could. Avoiding over-consumption through poor driving habits, bad route planning and wasteful fuel distribution. Fortunately, modern IoT devices, GPS tracking and cloud-based video telematics are making fuel management easier than ever before.
Fuel consumption accounts for anywhere from a quarter to a third of the operation budget of fleet companies in South Africa. In this article, we will take a look at how integrating fuel data into your fleet management systems will help you optimise overall fleet operations:
How do fuel costs impact fleets?
Even though there are a wide variety of different vehicle fleets operating in our country and each has a unique business expenditure profile, fuel consumption will be towards the top of all their operating costs. Whether you are in trucking, deliveries, transportation or long-distance hauling, fuel is an unavoidable expense that requires careful consideration and purpose-built technologies to management effectively.
When something takes up such a large portion of your business’s operating costs, you have to make sure you keep it under control to maintain your profitability. It is a smart move for fleet managers and owners to invest in the vehicle telematics tools that are transforming the transportation industry. Up to a third of fleet expenditures are on fuel and if your fuel usage becomes more efficient, it could save you millions in annual costs.
Improving manual fuel management systems of the past
For decades, the traditional means of fuel management for fleets was the painstaking manual collection of fuel data. This included measuring the number of kilometres travelled in a day, comparing that to fuel receipts and petrol prices and then against the drive-time reporting from individual vehicles. There were two major issues with this method of fuel management.
The first is that it is incredibly time-consuming and laborious work for those who have to manage it. The second problem is that of human error. If any of that data reported, information given or calculations done are off, that can be devastating to overall fleet management. Having slow, incorrect or missing fuel data is a huge hurdle that fleet owners and managers have had to overcome while utilising manual fuel management techniques.
This is where fleet management software and telematics come in handy. Overestimating or underestimating fuel expenditure is an avoidable problem that has plagued fleets across the country. These digital fuel consumption measurement tools are key to controlling how and when your fleet uses petrol and helps optimise the process by which your vehicles and trucks are filled, refilled and maintained over the years.
Fleet management systems are capable of monitoring your vehicles, drivers, routes, fuel usage, vehicle performance and more. This helps fleet managers identify where over-consumption is occurring or unsafe and inefficient driving behaviours are taking place. Fleet management software provides actionable insights that fleet owners can use to improve their fleet’s productivity and profitability, while improving fuel efficiency over time.
Unexpected ways that fuel consumption costs your fleet money
The many ways that fleet management software has evolved in recent years has allowed fleet companies to track and optimise most of their business operations, training programmes and management practices. With vehicle telematics, managers can also track poor driving habits, such as idling, harsh braking and speeding, as well as identifying the best routes for vehicles to follow for optimal fuel usage.
Armed with this fuel data and greater operation insights, fleet owners and managers are in a position to make more informed decisions about how their companies operate, coordinate, communicate, consume and spend. Not to mention, avoiding speeding, idling and harsh braking will save your company resources that can be used to improve other areas.
Going off the chosen route, being in the wrong gear, overloading your trucks and so many other things can keep your vehicle fleet from operating at its maximum capacity. Having technology, training and software that promotes careful and efficient driving practices, while monitoring the overall performance and fuel consumption of each vehicle in your fleet, will have huge benefits for productivity going forward.
Fleet management software is key to effective fuel management
Fuel efficiency is critical to the success of all fleet companies in South Africa. As we discussed, the proportion of business expenditures committed to petrol use is incredibly significant. It is like the price of grain to a company producing breads and pastries. By integrating fuel data into your larger fleet management system and vehicle telematics, you can streamline fuel management and optimise fuel consumption fleet-wide, instantaneously.
If you are looking for the latest in fleet management solutions or are wanting to integrate a fuel management system into your larger fleet operations, speak to one of our expert consultants at Landmark Tracking.