Fuel is one of the fleet owner’s biggest pain points. Being the second largest expense category (after labour costs), fuel seems to be an ever-flowing source of stress and money. And it is — if you don’t have a fuel management system.
Fuel management system is not a complex topic to dive into if you are already using a fleet management solution. And if you’re only considering getting or changing from your current Fleet Management Solution, this will be your guide to the best features to ask your supplier about.
What are fuel management systems and fuel economy
A fuel management system or fuel monitoring solution is a subdivision of a fleet management system that uses telematics-based tools, analytical software and active monitoring hardware to capture fuel consumption data, fuel dispensing information, bulk fuel levels and help with improving fuel economy.
Fuel economy/efficiency in transportation is an indicator of how long a vehicle can travel on a liter of fuel / diesel. In South Africa, it’s expressed as litres per kilometer (l/km). There are things which we can’t improve a vehicle’s fuel economy on, like the type of vehicle it is and the engine it uses or how old the engine is, but there are factors that we can control:
- Sensible driving behaviour can boost fuel economy between 10% – 30%.
- Proper and timely vehicle maintenance can increase fuel economy by 4%.
- Fuel variations may improve fuel economy up to 4%.
But if you manage the fleet, fuel economy is just one of the tasks you’re concerned with. There’s also:
- Fuel cost management
- Internal and external fuel fraud
- Unnoticed fuel leakage
- Complex and time-consuming fuel reporting
How do fuel management tools help tackle these issues?
Problems that fuel management solutions solve
Monitor fuel costs. They incorporate data about fuel dispensing into analytics, compare fuel usage across vehicles, break down fuel spending, and generally improve your fuel buying behaviour. The same vehicle types in the fleet can be compared to get fuel usage averages, and the ones using more diesel can be monitored and checked.
Incorporate good driving habits. By collecting information about unnecessary speeding and excessive engine idling, you can support efficient drivers with incentives and provide training for drivers who have inefficient driving habits. This can be picked up from your fleet management solution
Capture and prevent fuel theft and leakage. Fuel monitoring solutions can update you on fuel amounts in trucks and on-site tanks and send alerts about fuel levels when they are dropping or being filled.
The ultimate benefit of fuel management systems is automation — operations that used to be done manually in spreadsheets can happen automatically in the background, providing analytics for you to make business decisions that benefit the profit line.