One of the most important aspects of running a fleet operated business is improving efficiency wherever possible, especially with fuel. There are various fuel saving measures that should be carried out by fleets, these include: reducing fuel costs by recording distance travelled with mileage trackers, using GPS speed trackers to monitor speed, and utilising fuel trackers to track fuel consumption and help record fuel logs. In addition, vehicle maintenance and effective route planning play vital roles in leveraging fleet efficiency. Each of these solutions can be employed independently, however each of these work best when used in conjunction with each other. Sophisticated fleet management systems will have these solutions readily built into them to maximise fleet efficiency and reduce fuel costs.
1. Fuel Saving Devices
Improving fuel efficiency is vital to reducing costs in any fleet. This can be achieved in a number of ways with many different tools.
Mileage Tracking and Monitoring
Keeping a mileage log via a mileage tracker is the first step in monitoring fuel consumption. When investing in a fleet management system make sure that it is equipped with GPS mileage tracking to ensure that fleet operators can effectively monitor mileage and in turn, monitor fuel usage.
Knowing precisely how many miles your vehicles are travelling in-between jobs will help provide insightful information on the fuel mileage as well identifying whether your drivers are taking the most fuel efficient routes. In particular, sophisticated mileage trackers, often built into fleet tracking systems, provide real-time mileage tracking, meaning fleet managers can gain live mileage reports and effectively monitor the mileage of each vehicle within a fleet. Additionally, many fleet tracking systems that track mileage in real time also provide traffic data which can be used to further improve the fuel efficiency of your fleet by providing alternative routes with the shortest distance to avoid any traffic incidents.
Used in combination with fuel trackers, mileage trackers can be extremely beneficial and open the door to many fuel cost savings within your fleet.
In addition to using a mileage tracker, fuel trackers provide fleet operators with in-depth fuel data, ranging from fuel costs to fuel efficiency, that can be used to uncover cost saving opportunities. Fuel trackers not only record the fuel cost data and the amount of fuel consumed, they also provide information on vehicle idling time and driver behaviour information, all of which can be used to reduce fuel costs.
Many fleet businesses are not aware of the amount of fuel that is used while a vehicle is idle. As an example, Waverly Landscapes Associates, a landscaping organisation with 61 vehicles, were able to significantly reduce idling time and saved over £14,500 in the first year of employing a fuel tracker. As a result, integrating a fuel tracker into any fleet operated business is essential to monitoring and managing fuel costs.
As fuel prices fluctuate, businesses need to ensure that they are operating efficiently by achieving the best fuel economy through fuel monitoring and fuel saving devices.
As previously mentioned, mileage and fuel tracking systems are vital tools used to reduce fleet fuel costs. However, these tools can be further improved with speed trackers.
Speed trackers are beneficial in identifying the driving behaviours of your workforce and relaying data remotely to fleet managers so that they can adequately manage driving performance. In particular, speed trackers can be very useful fuel savers when used in conjunction with mileage trackers to track your drivers and making sure they are taking the best routes possible at optimal speeds.
One of the biggest causes of inefficient fuel consumption is erratic driving. According to the AA, reducing your speed from 80mph to 70mph could save up to 25% in fuel. Similarly, if you reduce your speed a further to 60mph you could save an additional 10%. As a result, monitoring speed can have a significant impact on your fuel costs and will ultimately serve to improve fleet fuel economy.
Aside from using speed monitoring systems to reduce fuel costs these trackers also help to ensure that your drivers are following legal driving laws, ensuring the health and safety of your workforce.
Top 5 tips on How to Reduce Fuel Costs
- Reduce vehicle speed - As previously mentioned this is an easy way to reduce fuel consumption and improve the fuel economy of your fleet.
- Decrease idle times - The AA suggests that you should turn your engine off if you are not going to be moving for at least 1 minute.
- Vehicle maintenance - Better fuel economy can be achieved when vehicles receive proper maintenance. As an example, tyre pressure should be checked regularly to ensure tyres are pumped up to an optimum pressure.
- Choosing the right gear - Keep the revs down to a minimum to reduce fuel use. In doing so, make sure to choose a gear that will not labour the engine.
- Fuel card integration - Integrating fuel cards into your GPS fuel tracking system will give fleet managers visibility and control over fuel spend. Additionally, businesses that use fuel cards have access to reduced fuel premiums.
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2.Vehicle Route Planning Software
Fleet Managers across the UK are operating in an increasingly competitive time-demanding environment. To stay ahead of the game you’ve not only got to have an excellent product or service but a seamless way of delivering it time and again, on time, with the encumbrance of traffic and demand managed. Route planning software is one of the essential tools in a fleet managers arsenal to ensure fleet efficiency.
- What is Route Planing Software?
- Why Do You Need Vehicle Routing Software?
- Reducing Fuel Costs with the Best Route Planners
- Route Planning Software – The Business Difference
What is Route Planning Software?
Whether it bus route planner, a truck route planner, or a software system that allows route optimisation for one car or a multiple stop route planner for a fleet of 500, route planning software is essential to the smooth running of your business. The best route planners allow you to plan the most economic and time-efficient routing for your business, taking in to account variables such as traffic, delivery times, and data recording.
Why Do You Need Vehicle Routing Software and Route Planners?
If you’re looking for the competitive edge, borne out of a reliable fleet, that reduces fuel costs and minimises vehicle wear and tear by using the most optimal route, then you’re going to need driving route planner software for your business. The specific software you choose will depend on the type of UK fleet-based business you manage.
Bus, Truck, Car & Delivery Route Planners
For fleets such as coach companies, sales workforces, and delivery of goods, route planners are essential. These systems serve not only as a route finder (the basic premise of a GPS), but work across your entire fleet to ensure the best use of time and resources. This enables you to fulfil more orders with less cost; sequence jobs appropriately and efficiently; manage arrival times with accuracy as well as predicting time windows; and effectively manage the vehicle load. In addition, the best route planners serve as a traffic planner, amending and adapting routes for on-the-ground conditions. Furthermore, the delivery route planner and routing software can work in conjunction with other functions either within one system, or in partnership with other systems (such as onboard diagnostics) to plan in vehicle servicing and maintenance. Dispatch becomes a smoother procedure and your productivity increases.
Multi-Stop Route Planners
For fleet-based businesses that have a tight schedule to keep, with multiple orders to fulfil, multi-stop route planners can transform the business. Multi-stop route planners enable you to more effectively and efficiently manage your fleet by assigning the most sensible and appropriate route with the various stops ensuring a balanced workload, which is easily manageable and allows fleet managers to plan the most fuel efficient routes. It enables a reduction in idle times, sensible dispatch, and load management.
Basic Route Optimiser and Finder
Through optimising routes all fleet-based businesses benefit from improved productivity and increased fuel economy. As a result, for those fleet operated businesses that are less sophisticated than companies complex delivery companies, basic route finders are worthwhile. These systems will allow you to find the best route but may not provided the added benefits of traffic updates or more advanced features such as ensuring that routes are optimal for the type of vehicle, e.g. advanced route planners will be able to identify if there are low bridges in a route and re-plan when routing for trucks and other high standing vehicles.
Reducing Fuel Costs and Mileage with the Best Route Planners
The largest costs hitting the bottom line of UK fleet-based businesses are inevitably a combination of both fuel costs and the effects of mileage on both vehicle longevity and labour hours. If you can reduce your fuel costs and mileage whilst still meeting the same demand, you significantly improve your productivity and ultimately, become more profitable.
A road route planner or route planning app enables this. However, knowing which system is the best can be a tall order. There are multiple products on the market and each are best for different fleet businesses. The best bus route finder will differ from the best car route planner, the quickest route planner may slightly vary from the shortest route planner. You need to assess your specific business needs against the various products on the market to take full advantage of the benefits.
An example of UK Route Optimisation is the Telogis Route Planning Suite. The Telogis system is not just a journey planner app but instead allows detailed scheduling and real-time adjustments as well as allowing you to define fleet areas through geo-fencing. This all combines with a GPS system that ultimately allows for a greener, lower-cost fleet and allows you to meet customer demand seamlessly.
Additionally, Paragon is a route optimisation software system that is effective for UK truck route planning needs. It allows you to minimise downtime whilst maximising productivity across the board.
Route Planning Software – The Business Difference
Efficiency is the name of the game for UK fleet based businesses from salesforces to delivery companies, to bus operators. The current marketplace doesn’t allow for a piecemeal approach to routing. In order to succeed you need to optimise. It is impossible to do this without having technology on board, in the form of route optimisation software. Ultimately, route optimisers will allow any fleet to cut any wasted costs on inefficient routes, reduce fuel costs and become more efficient.
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2. Increase Fleet Efficiency with Vehicle Maintenance
Fleet Maintenance has become a highly complex task that extends far beyond record-keeping and diarising. With Fleet Maintenance Software now being the pivotal centre to any successful fleet-reliant business, there is no option but to embrace the technology and utilise it to your business' benefit.
With the right choices and application, Fleet Maintenance Software, plus well-managed usage of On Board Diagnostics, your business can see substantial savings to the bottom-line, human error, and workforce management. Knowledge is power, and fundamentally this is what any On Board Diagnostics and Fleet Maintenance Software provides: power over your business.
- What is Fleet Maintenance?
- What are On Board Diagnostics?
- How Does Fleet Maintenance Improve Fleet Efficiency?
- Integrating Fleet Maintenance Management
What is Fleet Maintenance?
In the past fleet maintenance required nothing more than an excel spreadsheet, a telephone and a diary. Whilst requiring expert organisational skills of the bod in the chair, it did a very basic job of knowing who was where, when, and what vehicle was coming up for tests. It was fraught with areas where you could lose out on both time and safety, and at its core: money.
Fleet Maintenance today is far more complex in an attempt to plug these holes. At a fleet manager’s fingertips is a raft of software that can be utilised to ensure both vehicles and manpower operate as efficiently as possible at all times.
By incorporating On Board Diagnostics to your fleet maintenance system you open up a window to access real-time information about vehicles in the fleet, their potential problems and performance. By combining all software and technology resources together you can have real-time, accurate information that enables you to reduce fuel costs and improve fleet efficiency.
What are On Board Diagnostics?
On Board Diagnostics, largely now reliant on OBD II software, is a computer system built into cars, accessed via hand-held devices, that collates data from a series of sensors and actuators to accurately report on the performance of the car’s major components. Everything is monitored for how it is performing and you can be alerted quickly to any glitches.
With its history in measuring emissions, OBD II is the newest standard in On Board Diagnostics software, introduced in the mid-90s and developed substantially since then. It monitors the engine control, chassis, body and accessory devices, as well as the complete diagnostic control network of the car. OBD II provides the universal standard. The beauty of OBD II software is that you have access to the real-time status of all the various vehicle subsystems, and one single device can be utilised with the on-board computers in any vehicle. The information is presented as a code which is then easily interpreted for diagnostic purposes.
How Does Fleet Maintenance Improve Fleet Efficiency?
Fleet vehicle maintenance is essential to the bottom-line of any fleet-based business. On Board Diagnostics can streamline the whole process, and when used in conjunction with vehicle tracking, you get a holistic approach that can save money and make your business more efficient.
In a nutshell because software like OBD II alerts you to early identification of a problem it is incredibly valuable in saving both time and money. The information can be relayed in real-time and involves far less intervention from a mechanical point of view. Vehicle inspections take considerably less time meaning more time that the fleet operated business can operate more efficiently by ensuring that vehicles are on the road doing their job.
All of the best OBD2 software options are compatible and suitable for all types of vehicles, from cars and vans through to coaches and HGV’s. Additionally they can be used for bikes and plant equipment. The software is versatile and will provide the needed information whatever the nature of your fleet. By allowing paperless reporting of problems, the OBD II software allows for seamless reporting from driver to the depot or distribution centre. This elimination of reams of paperwork helps operators to more effectively manage the lifecycle of the individual components of the fleet and ensure all vehicles remain legally compliant and on the road.
By adding the latest and best OBD II software to your fleet’s repertoire you can combine the information with your vehicle tracking information to ensure a match between manpower and equipment. You can combine information from your vehicle tracking software, such as the vehicle telematics of driver behaviour and fuel consumption, with the knowledge from the On Board Diagnostics. The result is the ability to ensure the driver’s safety as well as that of other road users, a correct organisation of work activity, fewer breakdowns, a greener fleet, customer satisfaction and a preventiovn of issues becoming problems.
The best OBD II software options are generally affordable and simple to operate, meaning that whether your fleet is large or small, everyone can benefit from it. By having access to useful real-time information, fleet maintenance managers are able to improve fleet efficiency by making informed business decisions. In addtion, they can cut waste and fundamentally make a positive difference to customer satisfaction.
By combining the vehicle maintenance software with OBD2 alongside fuel saving devices and route optimisation platforms, fleet operated business can take advantage of an holistic approach to improving fleet efficiency.
Geared for the Future: Integrating Fleet Maintenance Management
Improving fleet efficiency requires an all encompassing platform that provides access to all the technologies mentioned. There are many fleet management systems on the market that offer holistic solutions. However, it can be a difficult process to select the right choice for your business. Let Approved Index find you the best fleet management solution tailored to your business needs and requirements today, simple fill out the form at the top of the page and we will provide you with free quotes from top suppliers.
Decided Which Tool You Need to Improve Fleet Efficiency?
Save by Comparing The Prices of The Tools Below
Top 3 Fleet Management Supplier Reviews
|Supplier||Product||Fuel Saving Devices, |
Route Optimisation &
|Fleetmatics Reveal||✔||Request Price|
|AMS Fleet Manager||✔||Request Price|
|TomTom Link 510||✔||Request Price|
|Ease of Use||★★★★★|
|Help & Support||★★★★★|
|Reviewed by Approved Index||03/08/2016|
Fleetmatics Reveal helps to deliver your goods quickly and easily, with real-time tracking. They have an easy-to-use dashboard which provides fuel saving tips and help you analyse patterns with different drivers. Even when your drivers switch vehicles, all their data will be monitored, making it easy to analyse each of their petrol consumption and learn how to increase fuel economy.
Additionally, fleet managers can use the business mileage tracker to identify trends, helping to create a deeper understanding of the routes and distance that the vehicles are travelling and the fuel consumed. In turn, this functionality allows for the improvement of fuel efficiency as well as greater customer satisfaction from quicker transportation.
Fleetmatics Reveal presents fleet data on a Live Map, making it easy for fleet managers to view on both laptops and smartphones.
Case Study: Bus Routing Software Cuts Costs by £1000 Per Month
Southwest Minibuses, based in Bristol, specialise in hire services catering to both businesses and also personal hire. They run a fleet of 24 minibuses, buses and coaches, which have been used in big events such as Glastonbury Festival.
Issues prior to implementing Fleetmatics Reveal:
- Not knowing the exact location of their drivers during an event, in real-time
- Not being able to effectively communicate with drivers
- Dangerous driving habits were negatively impacting maintenance costs
Alongside the issues above, not knowing where drivers are and not being able to contact them presented health and safety issues as well as a lack of clarity on how the fleet and drivers were performing. All issues were negatively affecting the efficiency of Southwest Minibuses’ fleet.
Following the implementation of Fleetmatics Reveal Southwest Minibuses were able to pinpoint the exact location of vehicles which, in turn, allowed fleet managers to track the distance to and from destinations and the time it would take to complete the journey as well as improve customer service by being able to effectively communicate with drivers and stay up-to-date with traffic data. The traffic data has provided by the software has been a vital component in planning the most efficient routes.
Additionally, the tracking system has enabled Southwest Minibuses to reduce idle time by 70% (from 80 to 25 hours a week) and has had significant impacts on the health of vehicles which has reduced maintenance costs. Idling has such large implications for fuel cost and efficiency, and Fleetmatics Reveal shows precisely how long each vehicle has been idle.
As a result of Fleetmatics Reveal, Southwest Minibuses have reduced their fuel and maintenance costs by up to £1000 per month
AMS Fleet Manager
|AMS Fleet Manager||Rating|
|Ease of Use||★★★★★|
|Help & Support||★★★★★|
|Reviewed by Approved Index||03/08/2016|
AMS Fleet Manager offers a variety of products to help tailor tracking systems to exact business requirements, meaning businesses can benefit from having a custom tracking system that suits your business.
Their products are definitely more durable than the other brands, such as the waterproof AMS AT with replaceable batteries, which would be suited to other vehicles such as motorbikes and boats, which are not available from other companies. The FMOBD is ideal for drivers that are often changing vehicles and the FMLITE IP67 that has a GPS fuel tracker, and everything you need in one device. The FMLITE IP67 contains features such as noting down driver behaviour, speed tracking, a mileage tracker, even a temperature probe – it is truly well equipped.
Case Study: Reduced Fuel Costs by 15%
Gregor Heating, specialists in commercial central heating and renewable energy systems, wanted to improve customer service, health and safety and become a greener fleet whilst also reducing fuel costs.
Issues prior to implementing AMS Fleet Manager:
- Customer service lacked as drivers were running late due to bad routing
- Fleet resources were not being used efficiently
Since using AMS Fleet Manager, Gregor Heating has improved their customer service as a result of being able to provide customers with accurate arrival times. Route planning has also improved since AMS Fleet Manager calculates the best possible route, taking traffic into consideration. In addition, the effective route planning software has helped to improve fuel consumption by reducing fuel costs by 15%, which, in turn, has made Gregor Heating a greener company.
Similar to Gregor Heating, Marco Industries, specialists in external panel fabrications, also saw cost significant saving and fleet efficiency improvements to the extent that AMS Fleet Manager paid for itself within a week.
|Ease of Use||★★★★½|
|Help & Support||★★★★½|
|Reviewed by Approved Index||03/08/2016|
The LINK 510 provided by TomTom Telematics is their highest quality vehicle tracking device. Built into cars, the LINK 510 is a fuel saver device which generates mileage tracking, speed tracking, and also allows for add-on functions which help with fuel monitoring. This include the LINK 105 which allows for real-time fuel monitoring and carbon footprint recording, and much more. You can be sure that this device is reliable and secure, as drivers are able to input additional details of their journey by using their phone which transmits information to the mileage log and fuel log stored on the vehicle tracking software, TomTom Webfleet. This device is definitely suitable for large vehicle fleets as well as smaller ones.
Case Study: Fuel Savings Equating to an Annual Saving of £72,000
Tayto Group Ltd, the third largest snack manufacturer in the UK, required a system that would allow them to effectively manage deliveries and drivers whilst optimising resources to become as efficient as possible.
Issues prior to implementing TomTom WebFleet:
- Poor fuel efficiency
- Driver performance was not being tracked
Following the implementation of TomTom WebFleet, Tayto Group Ltd were able to monitor their vehicles 24/7, which was extremely beneficial since drivers often deliver in remote locations. TomTom telematics created a sense of security through vehicle tracking.
In addition to safety, the environment is a very big concern for Tayto Group Ltd as well as their customers. Considering that their drivers travel millions of miles every year, it is imperative that their resources are being optimised. Through the WebFleet system they achieved a dramatic reduction in CO2.
Fuel consumption by Tayto Group Ltd was reduced by just under 15 per cent, equating to an annual saving of £72,000. They have been able to put 13 more vehicles onto the road, and they are still using less fuel than before they had the TomTom telematics system.
Their driver performance has also improved, making a safer and more efficient fleet. As idling is monitored, as well as speeding and general driving behaviour, their drivers have been more aware of their driving patterns and work with their local TomTom reseller to improve their OptiDrive score.
OptiDrive is a function of TomTom Webfleet management, where reports are derived from the data collected within the product. A score is generated out of 10 that provides a mark based on how optimal their drivers are. Tayto Group Ltd have been able to improve the average driver score from 5.5 to 8.1, a significant improvement.
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