How Telematics Can Guide Efficient Fleet Operations

Fuel costs are a major concern for the fleet industry, often constituting the largest portion of operating expenses. Fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events and market dynamics, add a significant level of unpredictability to budgeting and operational planning for fleet businesses. In the context of rising fuel prices post-pandemic and geopolitical events such as the conflict in Ukraine, managing and reducing fuel consumption has become a top priority for companies to maintain profitability and competitive edge​​.

Telematics is a transformative technology for fleet management, involving the integration of telecommunications and informatics. It encompasses GPS tracking, vehicle diagnostics, and real-time data communication to enhance vehicle performance, driver safety, and overall operational efficiency. By providing insights into vehicle location, driver behavior, and vehicle activity, telematics enables fleet managers to make informed decisions, improving the efficiency and productivity of fleet operations. Moreover, fleets can leverage the power of telematics to save on fuel costs and positively impact their bottom line.

The purpose of this article is to explore how telematics technology can be a pivotal tool for fleet managers looking to mitigate the impact of high fuel costs. We will delve into the various functionalities of telematics that contribute to fuel savings, from optimizing routes to improving driver behaviors. 

By leveraging telematics, fleets can potentially achieve up to a 25% decrease in fuel costs, which not only enhances economic efficiency but also contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing carbon emissions​​. Furthermore, with transportation being a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions globally, adopting telematics offers a dual benefit of cost savings and reduced environmental impact​​.

In the following sections, we will discuss the specifics of how telematics can lead to these benefits, backed by real-world statistics and case studies, providing a comprehensive understanding of its role in fuel cost reduction and efficient fleet management.

Understanding Telematics

Telematics technology is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses telecommunications, vehicular technologies, road transportation, road safety, electrical engineering (sensors, instrumentation, wireless communications, etc.), and computer science. It involves the transmission of information over long distances. In the context of fleet management, telematics refers to the integrated use of telecommunications and informatics for sending, receiving, and storing information related to remote objects, like vehicles, through telecommunication devices.

Key Components of a Telematics System

The key components of a telematics system often include:

  • GPS Device: To pinpoint the exact location of the vehicle.
  • Onboard Diagnostics (OBD) II Port: Collects data from the vehicle’s internal computer.
  • Telematics Control Unit (TCU): Processes and transmits vehicle data.
  • Telecommunications Network: Enables the transmission of data between the vehicle and the central management system.
  • Data Storage: A cloud or server-based storage system to keep the collected data secure and accessible.
  • User Interface: Software platforms that present data to the end-user in a comprehensible format, often through dashboards, reports, and real-time alerts.

The Role of Telematics in Vehicle Tracking and Diagnostics

Vehicle Tracking: Telematics plays a critical role in vehicle tracking by using GPS and other navigation systems to provide real-time location data to fleet managers. This information is crucial for route optimization, monitoring vehicle usage, and ensuring driver accountability. Vehicle tracking can also enhance security measures by enabling the immediate location of a vehicle if it’s stolen or goes off-route.

Diagnostics: On the diagnostics front, telematics systems can read a vehicle’s OBD data to monitor its health and performance. This includes tracking engine hours, fuel use, battery life, and other critical indicators that can inform maintenance schedules and prevent breakdowns. By providing early warnings about potential vehicle issues, telematics systems allow fleet managers to address problems before they lead to costly downtime or repairs.

Telematics and Fuel Efficiency

Telematics improves fuel efficiency by providing detailed insights into vehicle operations and driver behavior. Through data analysis, it identifies patterns and practices that lead to excessive fuel use. It can recommend actions such as better route management, smoother driving techniques, and timely vehicle maintenance. By addressing these factors, telematics helps in reducing unnecessary fuel consumption, thereby improving fuel efficiency.

Monitoring Driver Behavior to Reduce Fuel Consumption

Driver behavior has a significant impact on fuel consumption. Telematics systems monitor behaviors such as speeding, idling, harsh acceleration, and braking, which are known to increase fuel usage. By analyzing this data, fleet managers can implement targeted driver training programs, promote more fuel-efficient driving habits, and set benchmarks for performance. This not only reduces fuel consumption but also promotes safer driving practices.

Route Optimization to Save Fuel

Route optimization is another way telematics promotes fuel efficiency. Telematics systems use GPS and real-time traffic data to determine the most efficient routes to a destination. Avoiding traffic congestion, reducing travel distances, and selecting routes with favorable conditions can significantly reduce fuel usage. This also leads to timely deliveries and improved customer satisfaction, as drivers avoid delays caused by traffic jams or construction.

Vehicle Maintenance Alerts to Prevent Fuel Wastage

Proper vehicle maintenance is crucial for optimal fuel economy. Telematics systems provide maintenance alerts based on real-time vehicle diagnostics and usage patterns. Regular maintenance as per these alerts ensures that vehicles operate efficiently, with issues like under-inflated tires, dirty air filters, or misaligned wheels—which can all lead to increased fuel consumption—being addressed promptly. By preventing these issues from going unnoticed, telematics helps in maintaining the fuel efficiency of the fleet.

Case Studies

GCI Gravel Conveyor operates out of Indianapolis, with a fleet of 21 trucks. After implementing a telematics solution, GCI has reported annual savings of over $90,000 in fuel tax reporting alone. By using the telematics system to record when trucks are used off-road (and thus not subject to on-road diesel fuel taxes), they can accurately track and apply for fuel tax refunds. This precise tracking extends to other aspects of their business, enhancing overall operational efficiency​​​​.

In addition, the use of geofencing technology has enabled GCI to more accurately bill customers for time spent on a job site, with charges accruing by the minute once a truck enters a geofenced area. This not only ensures accurate billing but also contributes to an overall increase in operational efficiency and customer satisfaction​​.

This case study demonstrates the tangible benefits that telematics can bring to fleet operations, not only in terms of direct cost savings in fuel consumption but also in indirect cost savings through improved operational practices and more accurate billing and tax reporting.

Integrating Telematics into Fleet Operations

Integrating telematics into fleet operations can be a game-changer for improving fuel efficiency and reducing operational costs. However, successful integration requires careful planning, staff training, and the setting of clear objectives. Below is a structured approach to seamlessly incorporate telematics into existing fleet operations. 

  • Assessment: Conduct an in-depth review of current operations to pinpoint needs.
  • Technology Selection: Select a telematics solution tailored to the fleet’s specific requirements.
  • Installation: Implement the telematics devices across the fleet, ensuring proper setup.
  • Integration: Seamlessly incorporate telematics data into existing management systems.
  • Policy Development: Formulate guidelines for data handling, privacy, and usage.

Training Staff on Telematics Usage

  • Technical Training: Offer comprehensive training for relevant personnel on system capabilities.
  • Driver Orientation: Educate drivers on the benefits and operation of the telematics devices.
  • Ongoing Support: Provide continuous support for any technical queries or issues.

Setting Goals and Benchmarks for Fuel Savings

  • Baseline Measurement: Determine the current fuel usage to establish a reference point.
  • Target Setting: Define clear and attainable goals for reducing fuel consumption.
  • Performance Monitoring: Regularly track progress using the telematics system.
  • Feedback Loop: Review data periodically, give feedback to staff, and adjust goals as needed.

Challenges and Considerations

Telematics systems are powerful tools for enhancing fleet efficiency and safety, but deploying them can present challenges that must be thoughtfully addressed. Concerns about privacy, the costs associated with telematics solutions, and the balance between initial investment and long-term savings are among the top considerations for fleet managers.

Addressing Privacy Concerns

Implementing telematics requires handling sensitive data, which can raise privacy concerns among drivers. It’s essential to establish clear policies that define how data will be collected, used, and protected. Transparency with drivers and stakeholders about the intent and use of data is critical to fostering trust and ensuring compliance with privacy laws.

The Cost of Telematics Implementation

The initial cost of telematics devices and software can be a hurdle. It includes the expense of hardware, installation, training, and potential upgrades to existing systems. Fleet managers must consider these costs against the budget and look for solutions that offer the best return on investment.

Balancing Initial Investment with Long-Term Savings

The upfront investment in telematics technology must be justified by the long-term savings it can deliver. While telematics can reduce fuel costs, improve maintenance, and enhance efficiency, these savings may take time to realize. Managers need to calculate the expected return on investment and create a timeline for when savings will offset the initial costs.

Final Thoughts

Telematics has proven to be instrumental in reducing fuel consumption through efficient route planning, improved driver behavior, and timely vehicle maintenance.

If you’re ready to explore how telematics can benefit your fleet, contact a GoFleet expert today. Our consultants are equipped to tailor a telematics solution that aligns with your business goals and drives you towards a more efficient, cost-effective future.

Fleet Fuel Economy

Fuel Economy for Fleets and Improved Productivity

Fuel is one of the most fluid factors – literally and figuratively – to determine the success of fleet management. Whether one considers price hikes or supply chain issues, fuel economy for fleets remains top of mind for all fleet companies.

While you may not be able to control the fuel market’s volatility, there are factors to consider when it comes to fuel consumption; namely how much your vehicles use, and where you can find areas of improvement.

In this article, we’ll discuss fuel efficiency and how a fleet management solution can positively impact your bottom line.

Why Focus on Fuel?

Fuel expenses constitute up to 60% of a fleet’s operational costs, making it the second-largest expense for most fleets and an ideal area of focus when looking to optimize a fleet’s operational efficiency. 

Investing in a solution that optimizes your fleet and makes it more fuel efficient has a profound impact on your company’s budget and environmental sustainability efforts – two areas of focus for most of today’s business leaders.

What Affects Fuel Economy for Fleets?

There are a variety of factors that affect fuel efficiency, including:

  • Idling
  • Speeding
  • Driving Habits
  • Payload
  • Route planning and optimization

Fortunately, fleet management solutions can help fleet managers keep tabs on all of these factors – and more – to ensure optimal fuel efficiency. 

Idling and fuel consumption

Idling

Leaving a vehicle’s engine running while parked or not in use is a major contributor to wasted fuel. In fact, idling for just ten seconds can consume the same amount of fuel as restarting the engine. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), vehicles that idle more than 50% of the time when in use require more maintenance and cost fleets more money.

While there may be some instances where idling is unavoidable, such as in the case of emergency vehicles or delivery trucks that need to keep their refrigerators running, an automated, scalable fleet management system can identify idling patterns and offer solutions.

Speeding

While speeding may get drivers to their destination more quickly, it also significantly reduces fuel efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for every 5 mph over 50 mph, fuel economy for fleets decreases significantly. 

A fleet management solution, such as GPS tracking, allows fleet managers to monitor speeding events and correct them in real-time. Some fleet management solutions also trigger speed limit alerts that notify drivers when they are exceeding the posted limit.

Vehicle Weight

A recent UK study found that fuel consumption increased by 0.112 mpg on average for every tonne of payload added. Essentially, the heavier a vehicle, the more fuel it will consume. That’s why it’s important to ensure that vehicles are not carrying unnecessary weight, even when it’s in the spirit of reducing trips. 

Telematics data is one way to monitor your vehicles and their payload to ensure compliance with weight restrictions. For example, a fuel management system enables fleet managers to track fuel usage patterns across their fleet.

Driving Habits

It’s not just speeding that can impact fuel economy for fleets. Aggressive driving habits, such as hard acceleration and braking, can also lead to wasted fuel. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that “jack-rabbit” starts and harsh braking can increase fuel consumption by as much as 40%.

Fortunately, telematics data can help to identify patterns of aggressive driving so that fleet managers can address the issue with drivers. In addition, some fleet management solutions offer features such as driver coaching that can help to improve driving habits and optimize fuel efficiency.

Route Planning and Optimization

An inefficient or poorly planned route can lead to a lot of wasted fuel – not to mention wasted time. By using a fleet management solution, fleet managers can plan and optimize routes based on real-time traffic data, which can help avoid congestion and reduce travel time.

In addition, some solutions offer route planning and optimization features that take into account factors such as vehicle weight and payload, which can further improve fuel efficiency.

Invest In a Fleet Management Solution

Incorporating a management solution into your fleet is a big decision, but one that pays off in many ways, including reducing your fuel costs. 

When choosing a fleet management solution, it’s important to consider your company’s specific needs and choose a solution that not only offers the features you need to optimize your fleet’s performance, but does so in a way that permits growth as your fleet expands.

Look for a solution that offers comprehensive telematics data around things like fuel usage, idling, speeding, and more. 

Furthermore, a good route planning and optimization tool can help you to plan the most efficient routes for your fleet, which can save you time and money. 

Finally, a solution that provides real-time alerts based on triggered events can help keep your drivers from speeding and wasting fuel.

Managers can make a significant difference in cost savings and fuel economy for fleets. Contact your GoFleet consultant to see which fleet management system is right for you.  

Reduce fleet fuel costs

Six Ways to Reduce Fleet Fuel Costs

Inflation, the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine have all contributed to an already exorbitant rise of fuel costs in North America. Fleet managers everywhere are looking for ways to reduce fleet fuel costs.

In 2019 alone, fuel was $2.60 per gallon. In March, 2022 fuel prices reached $4.17. With no relief in sight, fleet managers are continuously looking for ways to improve fuel economy.

Here are six ways that your organization can reduce fleet fuel costs.

#1: Dispatch the Right Vehicles to Reduce Fleet Fuel Costs

It might be time for a fleet upgrade. Newer trucks, such as EVs, use alternative fuel sources or are hybridized for better fuel efficiency.

While you may not necessarily have the resources to replace every vehicle, adding even a few of these trucks can help your fleet become more fuel efficient. More miles per gallon means less fuel consumption.

#2: Preventative Maintenance

Proper maintenance of vehicles ensures they are operating at full capacity. In many ways, good vehicle health can reduce the overall costs associated with their operation. Regular engine checks can ensure that nothing goes wrong on the road.

Tires

Tires are a big pain point for many organizations. Keeping tires in good condition and properly inflated can reduce gas mileage by 0.2% for every 1 psi lower than recommended.  

Payload

Reducing extra weight in your trucks can have a positive effect on fleet fuel costs. In fact, reducing a truck’s weight by just 100lbs could save nearly $500 in fuel costs.

A/C

While everyone loves to cool off during the hot summer weather, reducing air conditioning usage in your vehicles can also reduce fuel consumption by 3%. The same goes for turning down the heat in colder weather.

Many telematics solutions can monitor maintenance needs across the whole fleet and send automatic notifications if a vehicle requires a tune-up or inspection.

#3: Improve Driver Habits

Bad habits such as speeding, aggressive driving and harsh braking can incur fuel costs for fleets to the tune of an additional 27%. 

Provide drivers with insights into their driving behaviour and offer constructive coaching to get them back on track and improve overall fuel efficiency. 

Telematics can provide valuable data sets to support driver coaching and scorecards, both of which are incentives to feel more engaged while positively impacting your fuel costs.

#4: Improve Vehicle Routing

Optimized routing not only shortens delivery times, but can also improve fuel economy. Telematics and fleet management software enable fleet managers to create and alter routes in real-time by considering factors such as weather, construction, accidents or other road obstructions.

As a result, trucks get where they need to be on time and faster, saving fuel costs in the process.

#5: Reduce Idling 

According to a recent report, idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour.

Depending on the size of your vehicles and of your fleet, those numbers can spell big trouble for fuel economy. Fleet managers can reduce fuel wastage by:

  • Turning off the engine when making a delivery or waiting for a pick-up.
  • Reduce idling while in heavy traffic by turning off the engine
  • Don’t idle to warm up the engine.

The right telematics solution can monitor specific data sets around idle time, enabling fleet managers to address fuel waste.

#6: Invest in Telematics to Reduce Fleet Fuel Costs

There is no other singular solution that offers the most fuel savings. Telematics enables fleet managers to make significant changes to their operations in real-time, reducing costs and improving outcomes. 

Telematics works by providing instant communication between vehicles and the fleet manager, offering valuable data and insights into various facets of the operation, including:

  • Vehicle location information and driver recognition
  • Maintenance problems and engine health
  • Poor driving habits such as harsh braking and excessive speeding
  • Vehicle (and fuel) usage

The more data available, the more fleet managers can learn about their operations. By accessing insights around driving habits, route optimization, traffic delays and weather conditions, organizations can apply their learnings to future operations, all with the focus on choosing the best fuel solution. 

The right type of fleet management software integrates telematics and other smart systems to reduce human error and improve operations. By leveraging this software solution to monitor fuel consumption, organizations are better empowered to lower fuel costs and grow their revenue. 

Fuel Management System

Fuel Management Systems: How to Get Ahead

Like it or not, fuel is the biggest expenditure for efficient fleet management. A custom fuel management system is the perfect solution to understand gas consumption within your fleet.

Many fleet managers are incorporating fuel management systems into their daily operations. Leveraging telematics technology offers valuable insights into fuel usage and allows you to optimize this valuable asset across the board.

A fuel management system enables fleet managers to track fuel usage patterns across their fleet. A typical automated fuel management system includes onboard hardware such as vehicle telematics units, data loggers, sensors, and cameras, as well as an in-office analytics dashboard and fuel management software.

Extra integrations and mobile apps are also popular features of these systems.

Without a fuel management system in place, managers often find themselves overspending on fuel and repairs, and drivers may run out of fuel as the result of a misgauged fuel meter or taking trips without optimized routes.

What Are the Benefits of a Fuel Management System?

Fleet management is comprised of a number of factors outside of vehicles; there are operating systems, assets and expenditures to take into account.

A fuel management system allows fleet managers to monitor asset usage for gasoline, diesel, truck repairs and maintenance services. These systems also generate compliance reports, limit operational risks, provide real-time fuel consumption data, and optimize fuel allocation, giving managers a truly holistic overview of their fleet.

Benefits for Fleet Managers

According to a recent study, aggressive driving increases fuel costs by up to 30%. The study also notes that unsafe or aggressive driving behaviours in urban areas drive air pollutant emissions up by 40%, regardless of the road grade.

With a well-developed fuel management system, fleet managers can track data like fuel usage, road grade, operational risks, real-time trip statistics, fuel consumption data, fuel allocation, and much more.

This data can also help them improve route planning and asset utilization, develop more effective vehicle maintenance schedules, and gain holistic insights into fuel economy.

fuel management system

Benefits for Drivers

Drivers benefit from data sets provided by fuel management systems as well. For example, refueling alerts, streamlined receipt/expense management and route optimization all offer drivers a safer, more efficient trip.

Fuel theft and unauthorized use of fuel continues to be a persistent issue, so ensuring that each and every fleet vehicle has a monitoring system in place can save your drivers from suspicion.

No matter what your fleet does, what products or services they deliver, or how many vehicles are involved, fleet management is an important tool that can help optimize assets and minimize expenses.

Why are Fuel Management Systems Important?

Small issues can become serious ones if not repaired in a timely manner. According to Intellias:

  • Flat or under-inflated tires can reduce mileage by up to 30%
  • Engine problems reduce mileage by 4% on average
  • Faulty oxygen sensors cut up to 40% off mileage
  • Brake drag can also affect driver safety and fuel consumption.

A fuel tracking system can track anomalies in your fleet’s fuel consumption, which can be either indicative of potential maintenance issues or the result of driving behaviour.

With detailed and real-time data on fuel usage and expenditures, a fleet manager can ensure that assets are properly distributed, repairs are managed as needed, and that drivers are supported and well-prepared to do their jobs.

Many mechanical issues can impact fuel consumption, including the amount of fuel used, mileage, the quality and safety rating of your engines, the cost of fuel, and repair services.

Having a properly developed fuel management system can help mitigate these risks and expenses not only by giving you a window into your fleet’s performance, but by protecting your drivers and overall fleet performance.

The more advanced these systems become, the more predictive they can be, which means you can identify the best scheduling sequence for vehicle repairs.

Fuel management systems can mitigate logistical issues, and in many cases can prevent them from happening in the first place.

fuel management system

How Can I Create a Fuel Management System?

Developing and installing a custom fuel management system is no easy feat, but the professionals at GoFleet can help you build a regulatory monitoring system designed for your fleet’s specific needs.

Whether you need to measure fuel levels in real-time, identify fuel consumption patterns per vehicle or detect fueling locations, a fuel management system will enable you to do just that.

The priorities for any fuel management system are convenience and control. If you’re looking to install a fleet management system for your team’s vehicles, contact us at GoFleet for a consultation today.

Fuel Card Integration Reduces Fuel Card Fraud

John’s company uses fuel cards. Fuel cards are convenient because employees like John can buy fuel with company money. However, more importantly for John, he occasionally uses his company card to buy fuel for his personal car. In other words, John is committing a rather common offense called fuel card fraud.

Fuel Card Fraud Costs Big Money

fuel card frauds

John might point out that he’s only taking a few dollars here and there.

That being mentioned, businesses lose tons of money because of people like John. In particular, there are two big costs.

Fuel slippage. Firstly, fuel theft leads to higher fuel costs. Businesses might employ several “Johns”. Altogether, fuel theft losses add up.

Accounting resources. Secondly, fuel card fraud has hidden accounting costs. A lot of businesses try fighting against fuel card fraud by auditing fuel purchases. However, in order to audit purchases, businesses spend time and money.

Using Fuel Card Integration to Reduce Fraud

Nowadays, many businesses are avoiding fuel card fraud by automating fuel purchase auditing. One of those companies is Entergy, a publicly listed energy company.

Entergy uses a process called “fuel card integration”. Fuel card integration combines purchasing data with vehicle forensic evidence such as vehicle location and fuel engine levels.

Fuel card integration eliminates fuel card fraud by flagging suspicious transactions. For instance, consider the following 3 measures.

reduce fuel fraud

Location & Log

Location and log measures a company vehicle’s location and driving hours. Fuel card integration triggers an alert if there is a fuel card purchase but the company vehicle is not in the area.

This is an extremely useful alert because it targets the most common fuel card fraud where drivers fuel a personal car instead of a company car.

Fuel Level

Fuel level corresponds to changes in a company vehicle’s fuel tank during fuel purchases. There is an alert if an employee uses a fuel card but their company vehicle’s fuel level doesn’t change.

Fuel level alerts provide an additional protection layer because it detects thieves who use fuel cards on an empty jerry can.

Match

Lastly, fuel cards look at match measures. In other words, fuel card integration checks if fuel goes into the correct vehicle.

This is useful for cutting down on company policy violations where employees use fuel cards for a coworker’s vehicle.

Fuel card integration is only one of several fuel card best practices. Click here to read an article on other best practices. 

Part 2: Common Useful Reports – Maintenance & Fuel Reports

One of our biggest client requests is creating reports. Reports are a useful fleet management tool because they provide snapshots for decision making. For instance, fleet managers use maintenance & fuel reports to minimize fleet downtime and fleet fuel expenses.

Maintenance & Fuel Reports

Two of the biggest fleet cost drivers are maintenance and fuel. Maintenance cost includes repair and replacement costs, as well as lost productivity. Fuel costs, on the other hand, are predictable operational costs.

Some of the key maintenance & fuel reports include Engine Light Warnings, Fuel Trends, and Idling.

Engine Light Warning

Engine lights are a vehicle’s first indicator for trouble. For instance, engine lights might indicate that a mechanic needs to inspect a vehicle’s engine or air flow. If left unattended, vehicles can encounter major issues and stop working.

However, the issue with many fleets is that some drivers do not report issues. Fleet vehicles ultimately belong to the business and unfortunately, some drivers ignore engine light warnings because it isn’t their personal vehicle.

engine light warning

A useful report in this case is % Days with Engine Light On. This report measures engine light warnings during a given time period. Therefore, even when drivers are not reporting issues, mechanics will still know which vehicles need further checkup.

Fuel Last 3 Months

Another budget controlling initiative outside of controlling maintenance expenses is reducing fuel expense. Fleet managers are responsible for optimizing fuel costs. As a result, many fleet managers plan and implement strategies such as no-idling rules, driver contests, or fuel replacement.

All of those ideas are great. Nonetheless, the key question for many fleet managers and their performance evaluations is, “are my ideas working?”. This is why fleet managers measure and monitor trend reports. These reports are useful because they paint a long term picture of a fleet.

fleet fuel reports

For instance, here is a fuel report for the last 3 months. Overall, the fleet is experiencing lower fuel costs. However, over the past month, there was a slight increase in fuel expense. This is useful information for the fleet manager. Is there an increase because there is more business? Or, should the policies be re-evaluated?

Idling

Speaking of fuel policies, one of the most common and effective ideas is reducing idling. Unfortunately for many fleets, idling is a major concern. For instance, on my way to work, I noticed at least 3 idling vehicles.

In response, a lot of fleet managers create and monitor a zero idling policy. Idling Reports are a great tool for this objective. To illustrate, view the Idling Report above. Fleet managers can use this report to identify idling patterns and follow up with driver coaching.

Enjoyed our blog on maintenance & fuel reports? Check back with us for our next report set – driver safety!

Fuel Strategy Framework | Fuel Monitoring Systems for Trucks

The new year is always a good time for businesses to review their strategies! For fleets, one of these strategies might be the fuel strategy. Even in a new year, fleet managers are challenged to get more bang for fuel bucks. Here is a sample fuel strategy framework that is powered by data from fuel monitoring systems for trucks.

ABC Company’s Fuel Strategy Framework

ABC Company is a trucking company. It’s no surprise that fuel is one of their biggest costs. For that reason, ABC’s fleet manager uses fuel monitoring systems for trucks to guide their fuel strategy.

ABC’s fuel strategy is organized into a step by step process. In this process, the fleet manager plans fuel savings, monitors fuel data, creates policies, and reports results.

Let’s closely examine each step.

Step 1: Planning savings with Fleet Savings Summary

As with any good strategy, the first step is to set goals. This is no different for ABC’s fuel strategy. At the beginning of each year, the fleet manager sets fuel savings targets with a Fleet Savings Summary report.

The Fleet Savings Summary creates a dashboard of potential savings from using fuel monitoring systems for trucks. Throughout the year, the fleet manager uses the savings dashboard to compare results against targets.

fleet savings summary

Step 2: Monitoring fuel purchase with Fuel Tracker

In the second step, ABC’s fleet manager collects fuel purchase data. Vital data is collected and reported on the Fuel Tracker Report.

For instance, the fleet manager can see where fuel was purchased, how much fuel costed, and what was the fuel economy. Afterwards, the fleet manager creates effective purchase policies by analyzing fuel purchase reports.

Step 3: Monitoring fuel usage with Fuel Consumption Analysis

The third step is to monitor trucks as they go on the road. Here, the fleet manager’s biggest challenge is to make sense of all of the data.

Since fuel use depends on different factors, the fleet manager relies on Fuel Consumption Analysis to narrow down what’s driving fuel cost and how to meet savings targets.

For instance, fuel variation reports shows how much fuel was consumed each day. From these reports, ABC can filter out days that had dips in fuel efficiency.

From here, the fleet manager looks at each dips and makes sense of it. Was it caused by poor driving? Long routes? Faulty vehicles? By going through the checklist, the fleet manager can then make an informed decision on how to meet savings targets.

Step 4: Creating policies

The fourth step is where fleet managers earn their living. In order to reach the year’s savings targets, ABC’s fleet manager creates policies from data collected in the last 2 steps.

After reviewing data, ABC created the following policies:

  • Fuel purchases. The fleet manager published a list of preferred fuelling stations. By using fuel purchase data, the fleet manager identified the highest value fuelling stations.
  • Driver training. The fleet manager sent several drivers to a training center. After analysing variation reports, the fleet manager noticed that the same drivers struggled with certain driving habits. Then, by re-training the drivers, fuel savings increased.
  • Truck order. The fleet manager ordered a new truck. The fleet manager noticed that a particular truck struggled with fuel savings. After crossing off all other factors, the fleet manager was finally able to prove that it was time to replace the aging truck.

Step 5: Reporting results with Quarterly Fuel Trends

The final step is to report fuel results. In order to report results, the fleet manager used a tool called Quarterly Fuel Trends.

Quarterly Fuel Trends summarizes fuel changes in each quarter. With this report, ABC’s fleet manager was able to prove that the fleet reduced fuel costs each quarter. Here comes the bonus cheques!

Interested in looking at fuel management systems for trucks? Click here for more info.

Links
Geotab: Fleet Savings Summary
Geotab: Last 3 Months Fuel Trend Report
Fuel Tracker
Geotab: Fuel Consumption Analysis

Benefits of a Fuel Management System

In this post, let’s delve into the benefits of a fuel management system. We previously looked into who needs a fuel management system and how a fuel management system works. However, is there proof that fuel management systems can actually help you save on fuel expenses?

3 Companies That Saw The Benefits of a Fuel Management System

Crown Uniform & Linen Services

The Company
Crown Uniform & Linen Services is a family-owned uniform and linen supplier. The business owns step vans and operates across five locations. Since 1914, Crown has been a leading provider of uniform programs and linen services.

The Challenge
Crown’s fleet makes about 30 to 40 stops per day. Some drivers idle while fuelling, while at car washes, and while delivering. The company prioritized idling reduction but had limited success in previous attempts.

The Solution
Crown then decided to work with Sustainable America to reduce idling. Sustainable America advises businesses on how to reduce their environmental footprint. Crown was advised to reduce their oil consumption, and part of their plan includes installing Geotab devices. These devices measured when drivers were idling.

The Result
Crown found out that drivers idled for approximately 70 minutes a day and set a goal to reduce idling to 10 minutes a day. Managers then identified drivers who idled for more than 10 minutes and taught them to shut off vehicle engines between stops.

Crown ended up surpassing their target and cut idling to 7 minutes per driver. The financial benefit of a fuel management system in Crown’s case was saving between $1,500 to $2,000 per month on idling costs.

idling-reduction-per-driver

AMS Services

The Company
AMS specializes in providing rail and track services. One of the company’s main objectives includes providing the highest standard of safety, service and quality.

The Challenge
AMS operates a fleet of vehicles and it’s important these vehicles align with the company’s safety standards. The traffic manager wanted to find a fleet management solution that would help not only improve safety but also reduce fuel expenses.

The Solution
AMS installed GO7 GPS devices in their fleet; this allowed AMS to control bad driving habits by creating custom rules and reports. The system also allowed drivers to be trained in-cab to reduce hard braking and harsh cornering.

The Result
AMS cut down on bad driving habits leading them to fuel savings. For example, one area of improvement was reduced speeding. AMS used the Geotab system to measure and decrease speeding by 10,000 incidents.

AMS Services has been able to save about $2,000 a month on fuel from reducing speeding.

Speeding Report AMs

Frito Lay

The Company
Frito-Lay is a snacking giant. They sell popular chips including Lay’s, Doritos, and Cheetos. In order to deliver their yummy snacks, Frito-Lay has around 17,000 vehicles in its transportation division.

The Challenge
Frito-Lay invested in telematics several years ago. The company realized that tons of data could be collected by the system. In fact, there was so much data that the team wasn’t quite sure how to use the data and realize the benefits of a fuel management system.

The Solution
Frito-Lay’s fleet management team used the Geotab system to simplify the data and set up “exceptions”. Exceptions are specific rules that are set by administrators. Administrators can then create scorecards to monitor critical fuel saving data rather than continuously watching all of the data.

Results
Frito-Lay used exception reports to increase data analysis efficiency. A person who oversaw 50 trucks could now manage around 500 trucks. This allowed management to train drivers to improve driving habits and improve fuel savings. In addition, because vehicles were safer and more fuel efficient, large fleets such as Frito-Lay saved almost $1,000 to $2,000 per vehicle in insurance claim costs.

See more customer success stories.

Sources:
Geotab: Anti-Idling Program Slashes Fuel Costs
GoFleet: AMS Services
Geotab: Frito Lay

How Does a Fuel Management System Work?

Welcome back to Fuel Management System 101 – in this post, we will answer the question “How does a fuel management system work?”.

Let’s start with a history lesson!

History of Fuel Management

history-of-fuel-management

Fuel management is the process of controlling fuel usage and fuel cost. Fleets have been managing fuel for many, many years. Before they used computers, fleets relied on manual controls. This mostly meant that fleets collected data through pen and paper.

Then, when computers arrived, fuel management became a lot easier. Fleets used spreadsheets and ID chips to record fuel data.

Of course, in today’s generation, fuel management systems became even easier. The arrival of the Internet allowed fleets to not only collect data but also to collect it in real-time. Fleets can then store the data and create cool reports to measure and reduce fuel expense.

The Modern Fuel Management System

How does a fuel management system work with modern technology? Not all fuel management systems are alike.

Some systems are still quite basic and are limited to using fuel cards and spreadsheets. Other systems include black box devices that allow fleets to dig deeper into fuel data.

The Geotab system is a great example of the latter. Geotab’s fuel management system works by plugging a black box device in the vehicle. The device then collects fuel data and can be used to create reports. Here’s a video preview.

The video shows some of the fuel reports that the Geotab system creates. These reports are where all the fuel management magic happens. The reports provide data on where attention is needed the most and shows fleet managers how to improve fuel savings.

How does a fuel management system work to provide these savings? Let’s explore some of the most powerful reports.

Trended Exception Reports

A huge part of managing fuel is to understand its consumption. Fuel consumption can be reduced by cutting down on bad driving habits.

Fuel management systems capture driving data and compares performance from driver to driver. Managers can create exception reports based on fleet policy. These reports then tell managers which drivers need additional training and which vehicles need maintenance service.

speeding-report

Fuel Tracker & Fuel BI

Another big part of managing fuel is the purchase of fuel itself. Fleet managers are responsible for buying fuel at the best value.

Fuel management systems monitor how much fuel was purchased and when and where it was purchased. This information is then compiled in a report, where fleets can use the information to find the best places to fuel and to find suspicious transactions.

fuel-bi-integration

CO2 Emission Report

Reducing CO2 emission is not only good for the environment but it can also help fleets with their bottom line. In several states and provinces, there are regulations on controlling greenhouse gas emissions. The best performing fleets may earn a tax benefit.

Fuel management systems help businesses reduce CO2 emission by creating reports to compare vehicle performance. It highlights which units need the most work in order to become greener.

co2-emissions-report

Still have questions on how does a fuel management system work?
Reach out to a fuel consultant to book a demo.

Sources:
Bell Performance: Fleet Fuel Management Systems Help Save $$$
Geotab: 8 New Custom Fleet Management Reports
Business Weekly: Viewpoint: A Look at Upcoming Trucking Industry Trends

Do I Need a Fuel Management System?

Businesses with vehicles often ask, “Can I manage fuel all by myself or do I need a fuel management system?”

do i need fuel management system

On the business expense report, fuel accounts for 70% of variable cost. For that reason, fleet managers are paid big bucks to control fuel expenses. Fleet managers often target fuel as the #1 expense to control.

What happens to fleet managers who are successful in controlling fuel cost? They get rewarded and recognized. In a list of Top 20 Fleet Managers Under 40, several managers were recognized because of their effort to manage fuel.

So, let’s get started.

The answer is “YES” if you care about the following.

1) I care about buying fuel at the best value.

Fuel management includes buying fuel at the best value. Does this mean I can just search for where is the cheapest gas station? This sounds easy – why do I need a fuel management system if I can just look it up for free?

Well, effective fuel management is a bit more complicated. Fuel price is a big factor for buying fuel at value, but there are other factors that are equally as important.

Jeff Pape, Global Transportation & Marketing Manager of US Bank, explains that effective fuel management requires looking at these other factors:

  • Are drivers using preferred vendors?
  • Where is the location of the fuelling station and how far do drivers have to deviate from set routes?
  • Does the fuelling site support trucks?

best-value-for-fuel

Pape mentions cheap fuel might not be worth it if the location of the fuel station offsets the price. Imagine a driver spending fuel just to drive to “discount” fuelling stations, only to consume more fuel than the amount of money saved at the pump. This is not just wasteful for fuel but also wasteful for valuable delivery time.

The most successful fleet managers, as a result, choose to use a fuel management system. They understand that saving money at the pumps is a bit more complicated than watching for the cheapest price.

2) I care about making sure fuel is efficiently consumed.

Congrats, we found the best value for fuel. What’s next? After spending so much effort on purchasing fuel, fleets should also care about how fuel is consumed. A great way to present fuel savings is to increase the efficiency of fuel consumption.

Fleet managers rely on fuel management systems because they monitor costly habits. In fact, some fleets saved about 40% on fuel by focusing on these two categories.

fuel management system reduces idling

Idling. A huge waste of fuel is when drivers idle. Drivers may make several stops throughout the day in order to service a customer. Imagine how much fuel is wasted if these drivers stop several times a day and for 10-15 minutes each time. PNL Communications, for example, saved fuel by cutting idling costs by 60%.

Driving habits. Bad driving habits also lead to excessive fuel consumption. When drivers speed or accelerate & brake harshly, they burn through fuel quicker. In order to control these costs, a fuel management system can be used to report and coach drivers. Fleets can experience an 18% increase in fuel savings by correcting driving habits.

3) Wait a minute, I have a small fleet. Do I really need a fuel management system?

small fleet fuel management

Small fleets are split on the issue. Half of small fleets still manually manage fuel, while the other half use a system. Of the half that have not yet set up a system, there is growing acceptance. 37% of these fleets plan to upgrade their fuel management system, while 50% expect to rely more on technology in the coming 5 years.

Small fleets are investing in fuel systems because they too are seeing the business savings. It’s nearly impossible to find a business owner who does not care for saving at the pump nor care for increasing consumption efficiency.

Even 1-person owner-operators are joining the trend. Owner-operators use fuel management tools to monitor cash flow. The system helps them see how much money they are spending in order to make money. In addition, owner-operators are saving money by using fuel systems to fill in fuel tax reports instead of hiring accountants.

Let’s return to the question of “Do I need a fuel management system?”.
If you want save money on fuel, then the answer is 100% yes.

Sources:
Fleet Financials: 5 Things You Can Do Now to Reduce Fuel Expenses

Government Fleet: 20 Under 40: Fleet’s Future Leaders

Work Truck: Effectively Managing Fuel in Truck Fleets

Fleet World: Future of Fleet Survey

American Trucker: Cash Flow Tips for Owner-Operators