Fleet tracking and fuel: How much money are your drivers wasting?
One of the largest operating costs for fleets is fuel. Regardless of whether prices are up, down or flat, fuel can be around 60% of operating costs for many businesses.
The good news is that fuel costs are also one of the easiest costs to manipulate with the right fleet tracking systems in place. A recent study showed that companies using GPS fleet tracking see, on average, a 5% reduction in fuel costs**. In fact many of our clients find that the cost of purchasing fleet tracking is more than covered by the savings they make through fuel reduction.
How much would a 5% reduction in fuel costs put in your pocket?
Fleet tracking reduces fuel costs in two ways – by bringing attention to fuel wasting behaviours and by providing tools to make vehicle usage more efficient such as route planning and more efficient dispatch.
Bad driving is costing you money
Now we’re not saying your drivers are deliberately trying to waste your fuel, but there are certain driving behaviours that will be contributing to excessive fuel usage. Let’s break down the three most common:
#1 Excessive idling
Idling on the side of the road while taking a call, eating a quick bite for lunch or writing up the log book may seem innocent enough. In fact there is the famous myth that an idling engine uses less fuel than turning the engine off and back on again. In fact idling for any time over 30 seconds will use more fuel than restarting the vehicle. Even 5 minutes of roadside idling a day is going to add incrementally to your fuel costs.
Solution: Idle alerts
Fleet tracking systems flag any vehicles that are idling in your fleet. The fleet manager can see at a glance on their computer screen anyone idling. You can choose to notify the driver then and there that they need to shut off their engine, or use the data for driver training and feedback down the track. Your system will be able to generate a report on idle time. This gives you the ability to quantify and benchmark the amount of time your entire fleet, or even just one vehicle, spends idling and track your improvements.
#2 Speeding and Braking
Another common driver behaviour that will impact fuel consumption is harsh braking and speeding. The impacts of this kind of driver behaviour obviously go beyond just fuel to staff safety as well as wear and tear on vehicles. Often concern over poor driving habits is the sole reason fleet managers invest in fleet tracking.
Solution: Driving alerts
Fleet tracking systems will alert the manager when a harsh braking event takes place. Essentially this means that if there is a crash you will get an alert on your fleet tracking system and also on your phone or email if you choose. The alert will come with exact coordinates so you can ensure your driver gets assistance.
Harsh braking won’t always mean a crash, but can indicate aggressive driving. Just like with the idling alerts you’ll have the opportunity to correct and coach your driver’s behaviour before it turns into something more serious.
Fleet managers will also be able to tell at a glance on the tracking system if their drivers are speeding and alerts can be sent to the drivers warning them to slow. Fleet managers can also run regular reports on particular drivers and vehicles to monitor their compliance with speed.
#3 Unauthorised Use
This one is contentious. Without eyes on your vehicles you don’t really have any way to know when your fleet is being used. You may have an agreement with your drivers that they can use the vehicles on the weekend, but does that mean they can drive it 200km out bush for a fishing trip?
Fleet tracking will not only record where the vehicle goes but you have the option to set up virtual boundaries called geo-fences. These can be around a suburb, worksite or even city. If the vehicle crosses the boundary you’ll be alerted.
Want to choose the right fleet tracking system to save money, become more efficient and get insights even when your fleet are offsite? Download the Fast Track to GPS toolkit for jargon free advice on getting the right system.
** Field Service 2012: GPS and Fleet Management, Abderdeen Group