It’s not only us regular motorists that are feeling the pinch from rocketing fuel prices, many businesses who depend on their fleet of vehicles for deliveries and operations are seeing business operating costs rise drastically. This is often overlooked by us consumers who rely on speedy and efficient deliveries of our online purchases which have become commonplace in this age of next day delivery and home shopping.
These recent events reminded me of a conversation I was having with a family member who worked as a fleet manager for Hermes. They were trialling ways to help reduce their fuel costs by introducing a number of fuel-saving initiatives.
I found this topic deeply interesting and I was surprised to see how they went about this by not only looking at “Hypermiling” but also rewarding staff for their efforts. Here’s a number of those fuel saving initiatives they introduced together with some of our own ideas that could be implemented.
Having accurate records of fuel usage from vehicles is key to ensuring maximising efficiency. Just being aware that their fuel usage is being monitored is sometimes enough to spur drivers on to change their driving habits for the better. This could be made easier by using metrics from GPS fleet tracking and fuel card / expense forms to allow automated processes to be developed.
Educating your drivers on eco-driving / hypermiling might seem like common sense but armed with the basics of our highly effective techniques can help no end. This could include creating a Hypermiling / eco driving handbook for drivers and highlighting techniques/tips in common areas of facilities to help promote and educate. Signage such as a reminder to check tyre pressures could have an extra bonus in helping with maintenance costs too.
Creating a leaderboard of efficient drivers is a great way of highlighting those succeeding in their hypermiling efforts and helping spur on some friendly competition between drivers. This could include offering fuel saving mentoring and training by those drivers who have been consistently successful in their efforts whilst
shaming encouraging those that take little regard for how their use their company’s fuel.
Rewarding drivers for their fuel-saving efforts is a great way of showing that their efforts make a difference to not only the business but can directly benefit them. Drivers could be rewarded with vouchers / extra holidays or even company perks for achieving certain goals or improvements.
Fleet operators should be transparent with the workforce not only with general business developments but also how their efforts are helping the company they work for. Like with rewards, the acknowledgement of the business in their driver’s efforts in helping reduce costs is a great way of showing them they can make a difference and directly benefit from it.
If possible fleet managers should try and plan driver routes around fuel usage taking into account a number of factors including traffic and road conditions. Asking for feedback from drivers can help maximise the effectiveness of their planning and help improve efficiency.
Simple and relatively “cheap” changes to facilities can also help reduce fuel usage. Providing covered parking areas for vehicles can help reduce ice build-up in winter months and therefore help prevent wasteful idling to aid windscreen defrosting. It also helps keeps vans cool, reducing the need for air conditioning and as an added bonus makes working conditions better for drivers. With temperatures in mind, why not allow drivers to wear shorts in the summer months?
Let’s hear from you
If you’re a fleet manager that is thinking of introducing such methods or have already incorporated fuel saving policies we’d love to hear from you. Likewise if you’ve got any additional fleet fuel-saving tips please let us know in the comments below or email [email protected]