Fleet managers need to look beyond the price of fuel in order to manage their fuel costs, according to Shell.
“Getting the best price you can for your organisation is fundamental but that’s not fuel management,” Kevin Schaefer, account manager at Shell UK, told delegates at the Fleet Van Summit.
“Looking at a five year plan is two-and-a-half times more valuable than buying the best price at the pumps,” he said.
Besides the price of fuel, companies need to look at “the things that add cost to your business” such as how many miles employees are driving and whether they are driving in a fuel efficient manner.
Companies cannot really begin managing fuel unless they understand mileage and whether a journey is necessary, according to Schaefer.
“These things should be integrated into the heart of your business; it’s not a checklist,” he said.
And drivers shouldn’t be under time pressure to perform deliveries.
“There’s no evidence to suggest that slowing down and being more careful actually slows down your operation," he said.
“You can achieve a 1% to 1.5% fuel saving just by asking drivers to ‘be gentle’.”
Companies could also achieve “quick wins” by installing telematics in their vehicles.
“There’s a long term proposition behind telematics but there’s also a lot of quick wins,” Schaefer said.
“People are surprised when they first install telematics just how much time is spent idling. We have seen 4% savings out of that.”
He also advised fleet managers to challenge their fuel card supplier to help them.
“You should be asking your supplier how much value they can add to your business.”
Schaefer said that by tackling fuel costs now and getting the right policies in place companies will be better prepared for future price rises.
“When the price goes up you won’t be shocked, you’ll be ready to manage it,” he said.