As of January 2013, the United States Bureau of Transportation Statistics report indicates that the number of fleet cars and trucks in operation across the nation was 11.74 million. The trucking industry alone hauls 9.4 billion tons of freight per year with over 6 million people on the job.
With statistics that are only expected to rise, the challenges facing commercial fleet owners are more prevalent than ever on the road of business.
Top 5 Fleet Challenges
- Cost Reduction – Managing a budget is one thing and looking for ways to reduce costs is another, but each change can make a difference. Offer employee incentives for new ideas; track unexpected expenses to see what can be better controlled or eliminated; and consider downsizing to smaller or more suitable vehicles, if possible.
- Fuel Price Volatility – The cost of fuel will always fluctuate. However, there are a number of ways to help maximize gas mileage: Implement a fleet card management program; keep up vehicle maintenance using quality products; review fuel-efficient driving habits with staff; install idle reduction timers; and, plan routes using GPS.
- Driver Safety – After so many miles on the road, it’s easy to get complacent with safe driving habits. Incidents and costs can be reduced through improved safety training, defensive driving courses, distracted driver awareness, and innovative use of MVR programs. You might also offer driver rewards for achieving an established number of miles incident-free.
- Going Green – This one’s a little bit tougher to accomplish, but savings can add up in the long run. Utilizing smaller or hybrid vehicles where feasible; making use of fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly products; and installing equipment such as a fuel consumption eco-gauge can all help.
- Productivity – When employees are not at an office desk, encouraging productivity may be more challenging, but it can be done. Implementing the use of GPS and telematics systems have noticeable benefits, such as reduced mileage, more timely deliveries, safety uses and protection against fraud.
As a fleet owner or manager, all of these aspects can create a significant load to balance. One way to make things a little easier is to continue developing a team environment – keep employees in the loop with company goals and achievements, delegate where possible and encourage participation with innovative ideas.
Another way to make things easier is to team up with a fuel distributor who has experience working with fleets. They will have first-hand knowledge of the challenges you face doing business. In addition to providing the best fuel at the best price, their professional personnel can also help with services such as:
- Evaluation of annual fuel requirements
- Fleet card management program
- Risk management
- Educational workshops
- Leading technology lubricants and fluids
- Product application recommendations
- Product handling and storage systems design and implementation
This approach will deliver solutions that will increase efficiency, profitability and most importantly, your peace of mind. The mileage you accumulate with them will only drive your company further ahead.