Fleet cost management is a tough row to hoe. Fleets and fleet maintenance can be a massive expense for the trucking companies.
Factors such as fluctuating fuel prices, vehicle maintenance, and driver behavior also play a vital role in increasing fleet costs.
Keeping a constant eye on the fleet costs can be distressing for the truck owners and fleet managers. When it comes to fleet costs associated with purchasing new vehicles, it becomes slightly challenging for the trucking companies as such costs are fixed and cannot be controlled.
However, truckers and fleet operators can work around reducing the variable costs and adopt several ways to control them. Read the blog post to learn more about fleet cost management and how you can save more on fleet costs.
Guide to Fleet Cost Management
We have put together a list of essential tips for trucking companies to help them save on fleet costs. Let’s take a brief look at some of the best fleet cost management tips.
Plan Vehicle Maintenance Regularly
Providing regular and proper vehicle maintenance is essential for the safety of truck drivers and the long life of your vehicles. At the same time, it is also a vital contributing factor to reducing your fleet costs.
A properly maintained vehicle is more likely to run smoothly on the road while consuming fuel efficiently. Frequently looking at the basic vehicle repairs and maintenance, such as air-filter changes, oil changes, and spark plug replacements, will positively impact your company’s fuel costs.
Reduce Idling Time
It is generally a misconception that starting the vehicle's engine consumes more fuel than letting it remain idle. The truth of the matter is that starting the vehicle's engine does require a little extra amount of fuel; however, allowing a vehicle to sit idle for more than ten seconds consumes more fuel than turning the engine off and restarting it.
Fleet managers should encourage drivers to avoid idling times if they’re looking to reduce fleet fuel consumption. Managers should also tell drivers to limit habits of heating up or cooling down vehicles for longer periods.
Last but not least, they should be encouraged to turn off the engines when they make quick stops, when they are stuck in traffic, or at a railway crossing. Learn more about fuel management strategies here.
Implement Driver Training Program
Most people like to believe they are expert drivers, but that’s not true. Sometimes, even good drivers need improvement. The same goes for the truck drivers. Poor driving habits and reckless driving can cost trucking companies substantial fuel expenses.
For example, harsh cornering, braking, overspeeding, aggressive acceleration, and idling can significantly impact your vehicle’s fuel consumption. In such circumstances, it is recommended to implement an effective driver training program to help reduce your fleet costs by providing proper training to the drivers and teaching them how to operate your vehicles properly.
The driver training program should include best driving practice guidelines for drivers, such as proper handling, speeding, safety, and seasonal driving techniques.
Plan Efficient Routes
One of the effective ways to save on fleet costs is by planning the best and most efficient routes for your drivers. Optimized and efficient routes can help drivers reach their destinations in the shortest time possible. They may even have to cover less distance while following the optimized routes.
Proper route planning can help trucking companies increase productivity while reducing fuel consumption and gas mileage. The more efficient, optimized, and productive your route schedule is, the more you may be able to save on fleet fuel costs. What’s more, you can have better relations with your business partners and customers.
It is always best to invest in technology or look for software easily accessible to you that helps you with proper and optimized route planning.
Invest in Fuel-efficient Vehicles
Are you looking for a solution that leads to effective fleet cost management? Start investing in fuel- efficient vehicles. Using fuel-efficient vehicles can help you decrease fleet costs. It is advised to replace your older vehicles with ones that offer better and more efficient fuel economy.
However, if you think you are running low on your budget and cannot think of replacing the older vehicles with the new ones, you could always opt for diesel vehicles as they are more fuel-efficient.
For your information, diesel fuel comprises 10-15% more energy than gasoline, indicating vehicles running on diesel can run 20-35% approximately farther on a gallon than vehicles running on gasoline. Hence, switch to diesel vehicles if it’s not feasible to invest in fuel-efficient vehicles.
Regularly Monitor Tire Pressure
Did you know that keeping your vehicle’s tire pressure inflated to the recommended pressure can improve your vehicle mileage by 0.6-3%?
Keeping a regular check on your vehicle’s tire pressure is another essential tip for effective fleet cost management. Similarly, you can consider investing in fuel-efficient tires to help reduce fuel expenses.
Several vehicle experts have said that fuel-efficient tires have low rolling-resistance that requires them to consume less energy compared to regular tires to push them in the direction the vehicle is supposed to travel.
Minimize Vehicle Weight
Minimizing the weight on your vehicles can also help truckers and fleet managers save on their fuel costs. You would be surprised to know that for every 100 pounds of weight in your vehicle, the fuel economy comes down by 1-2%.
Whenever it seems possible, fleet managers should try to reduce the weight on the vehicles by eliminating the need for heavy items in them. In fact, they should opt for lighter loads when possible. Furthermore, you can also practice storing heavier loads inside the vehicle or trunk instead of on the roof racks.
We can guarantee that most truck owners and fleet operators still resist investing in technology to monitor their fleet vehicles. The idea of investing in technology may seem troublesome initially, but the sooner you invest in it, you will realize how the data can help you in several ways in the longer run.
Being able to track your vehicle routes in real-time and knowing where a particular vehicle is at a given point can help you increase the efficiency of your fleet and increase productivity.
For example, a cloud-based TMS software such as LoadStop can help you gain complete visibility of your fleet operations just from a single window.
Implementing state-of-the-art technology in your trucking business or fleet operations can reduce operating costs, optimize vehicle performance, and improve vehicle and driver safety.
About the Author: Sara Naveed
Sara Naveed is a creative and digital content writer who uses her creative skills to develop and edit professional web content. Being a writer has always been her dream. She earnestly hopes people appreciate her writing—an asset she deeply covets. Using her 8+ years of working experience, she writes for trucking industry experts who are always looking for better technological solutions to their problems.