No matter the industry you're in, if your business relies on a fleet of vehicles and drivers, there's a good chance that your fleet is a big part of your operating costs. What many business owners don't realize is that there are many ways to reduce those costs. Here are a few of the things that you can consider to help you save money on your fleet operation.
Size Does Matter
The size of your vehicle fleet will directly affect your general operating costs. Objectively evaluate your operation to determine if you truly need all of the vehicles you're running. If you can stagger your routes and the shift timing, you may be able to reduce the size of your fleet and your staff. In addition, if you have local route drivers using sleeper cabs, replace them. Day cabs are cheaper and consume less fuel, making it more affordable for you.
Fuel Regulation Is Important
Consuming an average of more than 20,000 gallons of diesel per year per truck, fuel costs add up quickly. Controlling those costs can help you manage your fleet costs. There are a few different ways that you can do this, and any combination will make a difference. For example, look at your delivery routes and plan them so that they optimize the miles and make the routes as efficient as possible for each driver. Optimization and mapping software can help you with this. In addition, consider working with a fuel card supplier who will help you manage the expenses. Many fuel card suppliers offer discounts that save you money per gallon. Even a few cents a gallon can add up significantly over time. When each driver is using a dedicated card, you can monitor fuel consumption by driver to identify those who may be using more than necessary.
An Ounce Of Prevention Saves Money
Many fleet owners put off preventative maintenance because they don't want to take the vehicles off the road. Unfortunately, skipping those maintenance tasks can leave you facing more costly commercial fleet repairs and longer time off the road. Try to coordinate your maintenance appointments so that they coincide with mandatory down times for your drivers. That way, you're not paying drivers for time when they could be driving and aren't able to. It's also a good idea to try to deal with any recalls or other issues at the same time.
During preventative maintenance appointments, have your fleet technicians scan each vehicle for any component failures, computer error codes, and similar things. This will allow you to address problems before they result in roadside breakdowns and significant loss of productivity. In addition, since breakdowns can lead to costly towing, you'll save on those incidental costs as well.
Telematics Are A Valuable Investment
While you may plan to invest in telematics for GPS tracking, the fact is that they can tell you far more than just where your drivers are. You can use telematics to monitor route times, traffic hotspots, driver behaviors, and even general vehicle performance. You can use this data to evaluate your fleet's efficiency, vehicle condition, and route planning.
Teamwork Is Essential
Part of good control over your fleet is working together with everyone who is involved in the process. That means developing a solid communication team between your truck manufacturers, the parts suppliers, your service technicians and everyone else involved. When you all work together, you can create a comprehensive care plan. One of the best things you can do to ensure this stable team is to hire a fleet management company to keep your records. This frees you to focus on your company's operations instead of having to try to manage the fleet as well.