Fleet managers must balance the need to update their fleets while managing costs during turbulent economic times.
In the past several years, the idea of going “green” has changed from an environmental only fad to a sound business decision resulting in improved costs and efficiencies. Switching to sustainable fleet operations is now a viable strategy to help maximize the ROI within a business.
Current economic conditions might challenge that idea though.
With constant talk of fear of economic stagnation or downturn, how does today’s fleet manager or business owner weigh the benefits of switching to a sustainable fleet against the tendency to shelf long term projects to cut costs and tighten the proverbial belt?
Sustainability efforts, often viewed as providing long-term benefits over short-term profits, may take a back seat as leaders focus on cost-cutting, immediate returns and managing competing priorities. However, a sound sustainable fleet strategy can not only keep you on track to reduce emissions but also help you reduce maintenance and fuel costs, improve your brand reputation and comply with regulations.
When you use GPS tracking devices or telemetry data, you provide insight into your operations that give you the best path forward. Here are some strategies you can use to continue improving your fleet while managing for turbulent economic headwinds.
Rightsize your fleet
Asset utilization helps you measure the efficiency of your fleet by analyzing how much of its potential is being utilized. It’s an essential part of fleet management, particularly during times of economic uncertainty, when operations might temporarily be scaled back.
Once you’ve determined the utilization rate of your fleet (dividing the number of hours a vehicle was used by the number of hours it was available for use), you can identify underutilized assets and analyze usage patterns to determine why vehicles are not being used to their full potential. This analysis can help you make adjustments, such as improving scheduling or reallocating vehicles with low demand.
Good maintenance and repair practices
Properly maintained vehicles run more efficiently, use less fuel and have less downtime for repairs. That means fleet managers can operate vehicles more profitably and keep them on the road longer – all while cutting down on fuel costs and emissions from excessive idling or unnecessary wear and tear.
Optimize your routes
Efficient route planning can lower the overall expense of running your fleet. By implementing the right plan, you can save on fuel, maintenance and repair costs, better allocate your resources and keep emissions down.
You can find the best routes that reduce the distance traveled and the amount of time spent on the road by using tools that monitor variables like traffic patterns, road conditions and vehicle type.
Route optimization can help in reducing travel distance, cutting down on driving time, and avoiding traffic and other risks on the road. By ensuring vehicles take the shortest, most direct routes possible, fuel and other costs can be kept down while reducing GHG emissions.
Excessive idling can be very costly to business operations due to wasted fuel and significant fines in some countries, regions and cities. It also increases wear and tear on the engine and other components, leading to higher maintenance and repair costs. According to Popular Mechanics, idling can cause fuel to wash away the oil lubricating the motor, causing friction that ages the engine prematurely. When idling is reduced so are maintenance and repair costs and the life of the vehicle is extended.
While economic factors can change day to day, the long term benefits of sustainable fleets will only continue to grow. Although it’s wise to contain costs, postponing new investments can jeopardize performance long-term.
If you would like to learn how GPS to GO, an authorized Geotab reseller, can help you generate the intelligence your business needs to survive, click here to speak with a member of our team.