For many companies, managing a fleet of vehicles can be very time consuming - and if managed badly the costs involved can quickly spiral out of control. This article explains how your fleet of company vehicles can be managed in a way that gets the most out of the vehicles whilst keeping the costs and time spent maintaining them to a minimum.
If you have any questions about how to improve the effectiveness of your fleet then a fleet services consultant will be happy to guide you.
Do you know where your fleet is? Knowing where your vehicles are or have been can help make sure that your fleet is being used effectively and that they are being used for the right reasons. There are various applications available that can help you track where your fleet have been and where they are currently.
Tracking your vehicle's history means that you can identify the amount of time a vehicle is ‘idle’ for example when it could be deployed elsewhere. It may also be that vehicles are taking longer to get to their destination or staff are taking detours for personal reasons. Understanding how your fleet is being used can help you to address wastage and improve productivity.
There are other advantages to being able to track your fleet including the ability to identify when a car is being stolen and it can also possibly lower insurance premiums.
Regular Maintenance and Checks
Having a fleet of vehicles checked helps to identify issues that may need to be addressed. Even simple issues such as low tyre pressures can mean that your fleet of vehicles are much less efficient on the road. According to the US Department of Energy*, every one psi drop in the pressure of a tyre will reduce fuel efficiency by 0.4 per cent. Put into simple terms, if you have only 4 or 5 vehicles in your fleet with low tyre pressure then the extra fuel costs could run into hundreds of pounds if they are doing over 10,000 miles a year. Temperature drops (such as in winter), as well as potholes or bumping into kerbs even at low speeds, can easily reduce tyre pressure and increase fuel costs if tyre pressures are not managed.
Other factors that affect fuel efficiency include having a dirty air filter, a poorly tuned engine or using the wrong brand of engine oil. According to Fueleconomy.gov, ‘fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40%’
As well as maintenance of the vehicles, there are other things that can be checked to improve efficiency. Fleet management may require carrying heavy goods such as tools and equipment but it's worth checking to make sure if you really need everything that's being carried all of the time. Reducing the overall weight can make the vehicles more fuel efficient as well as help to lengthen the life of the tyres. Having equipment attached to the outside of the vehicle, such as on the roof can make the vehicle much less efficient.
Outsourcing fleet management
Nowadays it's not possible to be experts in everything! Many companies outsource their bookkeeping, marketing and even many parts of the manufacturing process so that they can focus on what they do best. The more they do what they are really good at, the higher the chances of success and we're guessing that what you are brilliant at and have expertise in isn't fleet management? By working with a fleet management specialist, companies will be able to optimise their fleet and we would be happy to recommend a fleet service consultant that can help.
Fuel costs are a big part of the overall cost of fleet management and whilst there are ways to reduce mileage and wasted journeys it's inevitable that each vehicle in the fleet needs a regular trip to the petrol station. With this in mind, it's best to make the most out of spending money on fuel and one way to do this is with fuel cards.
Having the wrong fuel cards for your business (or not having a fuel card at all!) can result in missing out on considerable savings! A fleet services consultant will be able to help you understand your options regarding fuel cards.
Fleet Swap Out Strategy
At what point do you normally replace vehicles in your fleet? If you have a lease agreement, then vehicles are probably replaced after a set agreed time. But this may not be the cheapest way to manage your fleet. Keeping some vehicles for longer periods to use for shorter journeys can lower the costs for work that is done locally while replacing vehicles that do the longest mileage sooner than every 3 or 4 years can save money by having more fuel-efficient cars.
Electric cars and fuel-saving features such as start-stop technology have come a long way in the last four years which means you could be saving money straight away by swapping out some of the less efficient vehicles earlier.
To improve your fleet management, contact a fleet services consultant or get in touch with us at Ramsay Todd for some friendly advice.