One of the biggest concerns in the automotive industry is the rising fleet operating costs. Improper fleet management can lead to expensive problems for one’s business. High operating costs are primarily caused by higher fuel prices, forcing operators to find ways to better manage their fuel consumption. The bigger problem is, prices fluctuate unexpectedly, making fleet operations more challenging.
Many fleet managers tend to focus more on fuel-saving strategies, leaving other sitting tactics unnoticed. When it comes to reducing fleet costs, controlling fuel consumption is not the only approach you can take. Find out the other effective ways you can cut your costs down.
Educate your drivers
Did you know that you can save about 15% of your fleet cost by improving driving habits? Fleet operations often forget how the proficiency of their drivers can impact their expenditures. One crucial area to educate your drivers on is reducing speed. Driving much faster may save you time, but it can make you lose money. To encourage your drivers to reduce their speed, you can consider using a telematics system.
Coasting is a driving technique that minimizes wear and tear on the brakes and saves you fuel. Teach your drivers how to coast and avoid keeping on the gas until they have to brake. Moreover, drivers with a habit of sitting on a running engine can make you lose fuel. Remind your drivers about idling. Another way to save on fuel and energy is to focus on efficiency. Teach your drivers the importance of removing excess weight. Always check for unnecessary items from the trunk.
Check the vehicles’ lifecycles
Keeping an outdated vehicle rather than purchasing a new one seems to be a more cost-friendly option for most operators. It might be, but not for long. Vehicle replacement is not an unnecessary expense. The cost of operating or retaining old vehicles can lead to reduced productivity of daily operations, more fuel consumption, and higher maintenance costs. In short, keeping an aging car isn’t an economical decision in the long run. If your vehicles are constantly being pulled out for repairs, you’ll need to either cease or reduce operations. You’ll lose business for those days. Fleet managers can consider using a fleet tracking system to better monitor what vehicles are practical and economical to keep.
Implement regular maintenance
Speaking of repairs, your fleet can avoid expensive maintenance services with proper upkeep. Both managers and drivers should prioritize conducting frequent checks or inspections to detect potential issues and prevent small problems from getting bigger. Find a reliable auto repair shop that specializes in the types of vehicles you use, may it be for your company’s luxury vehicles or delivery and service fleet. Hire qualified car technicians and schedule for regular maintenance to minimize downtime. Many companies opt to build their fleet maintenance team instead of outsourcing, which isn’t a good decision if you want to save money.
Invest in electric vehicles
This may sound like a costly solution for businesses, especially today that electric vehicles are generally costly. However, if you’re more concerned about the long term, this switch can be fruitful. Diesel-powered and gasoline-powered vehicles are not fuel-friendly. By converting to vehicles that run on alternative fuels, you can cut both your operation and fuel costs. In using electric vehicles, you can take advantage of renewable fuel, which is typically based on recycled cooking grease, animal fats, or vegetable oils. And since these vehicles don’t produce harmful emissions into the air, you can help save the environment, too. They are also generally cheaper to maintain and run, and most parts of them are recyclable.
Be aware of compliance violations
Meeting the regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) can protect your company from hefty fines. To guarantee FMCSA compliance, it’s important to implement a proper fleet policy that outlines the rules regarding the use or replacement of your vehicles. It also pays to comply with regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) or the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). These issued rules govern the health and safety of employees in transportation to minimize vehicular accidents. Other practices to maintain compliance within your fleet include creating a driver training program and an accident review group.
These are just a few of the strategies that fleet managers can use to cut their costs down. Remember that not every one of these techniques may apply to your operations. Don’t hesitate to explore more. Continue educating yourself and your team to implement more cost-effective fleet operations.