With a 3p per litre increase in fuel prices still set for January and another rise pencilled in for August, fleet managers should continue to focus on squeezing fuel costs as hard as possible, says Mycompanyfleet.
The warning comes despite a Commons victory for a campaign triggered by an e-petition signed by more than 100,000 people calling on the Government to postpone the planned rise. That decision is not binding on the Government which would lose around £1.5bn in excuse duty if it scrapped the scheduled fuel duty increases in January.
While the Government abolished the fuel duty escalator, which automatically increased duty by 1p higher than inflation, and scrapped a 1p rise at the last Budget, fleet operators have still been hit by a series of prices rises in recent months caused by volatility on the world oil markets.
Now is not the time to relax the squeeze on fuel costs, said Jon Tandy, business development manager at Mycompanyfleet, the automotive arm of HR software giant NorthgateArinso.
“Even if the Government did decide to do the honourable thing in its Autumn Statement at the end of the month and scrap the planned increases, fleet managers should not take their eye off rising fuel costs, which should remain high on their list of fleet concerns,” he said.
“Regardless of what the Government does, high fuel prices are here to stay and fleet managers cannot afford to ignore this fact because they will continue to eat into business profit margins and slow economic recovery. “
Instead, fleet managers need to make use of the tools at their disposal to analyse fuel costs and identify areas where management action can be taken. Fleet management systems can play a major role in this respect, and Mycompanyfleet software can display fuel cost information graphically on dashboard displays, utilising exception reports to highlight any areas in need of attention.
The dashboards within the Mycompanyfleet’s FleetAcumen fleet management system allow users to set KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure important parameters such as pence per mile, miles per gallon, carbon emissions and league tables of worst and best performing drivers – all the business intelligence measurements a fleet manager would need to make informed decisions on managing fuel costs more effectively.
At the same time, key fuel data can be downloaded from fuel cards directly into the fleet management system, allowing information to be fed back to the fleet manager via management reports, including location of cheapest fuel and exceptions by cost centre and against budget.
“A powerful dashboard offering like ours will allow the user to make more informed decisions using benchmarking techniques, and could easily return savings fuel cost savings of 5-10% or more," said Tandy.
“In addition, our system is an all encompassing ERP fleet solution. So, rather than having separate systems for logistics , fleet management and fuel management, you get the complete fleet management toolset, including an advanced dashboard offering, to manage everyday back office tasks, like fines, maintenance, duty of care, grey fleet and all vehicle details.
“Keeping a tight squeeze on fuel costs at this time is essential for any fleet manager. Using the best fleet management systems can help greatly to achieve this,” added Tandy.