By Mark Forrest, managing director of Trimble
The current economic climate has increased the importance of cost–related issues for businesses with fleets. As we emerge from a tumultuous 2012, minimising current spending is top of the agenda and achieving this through more thorough vehicle assessments, fuel monitoring, driver behaviour and operating more efficiently have all been cited as key focuses. However, while it is entirely understandable to reduce costs when sales have fallen, tackling the budget black cloud is not an easy task and there is a right and a wrong way to go about it without sacrificing the quality of the operation.
Vehicle Management and Utilisation
Many companies acknowledge that 2013 will be a year when they will need to do more with fewer resources. This is not an easy task, but by following a best practise approach, fleet managers can maximise the performance of their mobile workforce and extend vehicle life whilst, at the same time, saving on running costs. Some of the major factors to consider in achieving this include:
- Reduce unnecessary maintenance costs – Keep on top of vehicle component wear and tear. Efficient management of each vehicle increases its productivity and will lower the risk of mechanical failure.
- Reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions – Manage fuel and reduce carbon emissions per vehicle by reducing unauthorised vehicle use and monitoring driver activities such as speeding, excessive idling and route deviation.
- Manage productivity – Optimise the use and number of vehicles and equipment needed to complete work efficiently.
Managing the driver
Promoting a safe driving culture is essential. A safe driver is a cost-effective driver. They have fewer accidents, they are more productive and they tend to drive more efficiently, reducing the fuel bill.
Training on economic driving, mapping out the best routes and sourcing out the best local prices for fuel are just some of the ways fleets can manage their drivers to make the most out of the fuel.
Driver safety solutions enable managers to monitor driving behaviour and complete back office analysis of aggressive manoeuvres, such as hard acceleration, braking, turns and speed. With this data at hand, recommendations on training can be made for individual drivers, resulting in lower accidents and liability therefore helping to manage the risks and costs associated with work-related driving.
Achieve a meaningful ROI
Fleet Management technologies have gained recognition as being powerful management tools and businesses that have rolled them out have recouped the benefits, with increased productivity, reduced fuel consumption, improved fleet utilisation, improved driver safety and reduced vehicle and operating costs, all factors which can lead to a rapid ROI.