How Can You Reduce Your Fleet’s Operating Costs?
We all know how expensive operating a fleet is. If unchecked, the operating costs can shoot up significantly. This can lead to increased expenses and decreased profits. Something that you obviously don’t want.
So, how can you reduce your fleet’s operating costs? You can start by following the tips mentioned in the blog. The recommendations cover topics ranging from safety and repair to efficiency, and are easy to implement in your daily operations.
While the changes may seem insignificant, they can dramatically reduce your fleet’s operating costs. So, without further adieu, here are ten ways to control your fleet operating expenses.
1. Installing GPS
Having a GPS device installed in your vehicles helps you monitor them at all times. You can check whether your drivers drive at optimum speeds to reduce fuel usage. You can also check whether they are taking the shortest route possible, which helps reduce fuel consumption. Both these factors help reduce the operating costs by bringing down fuel usage.
For example, a vehicle driving at eighty miles per hour uses twenty-five percent more fuel than a vehicle going at seventy miles per hour. A GPS device can send vehicle speed information continuously, including when the driver exceeds speeds.
You can then ask the driver to reduce the speed immediately via phone or radio and keep the fuel consumption in check.
2. Leasing Your Fleet
Buying many vehicles all at once can prove a costly affair for most businesses. Moreover, ensuring vehicle maintenance, tracking, efficiency, and safety for every vehicle can drive up the operating costs. Thus, leasing your fleet from a fleet management services provider is the best possible solution.
The service provider will provide the vehicles as and when needed. Thus, you won’t have the issue of ideal vehicles sitting in your company. Moreover, the services provider also takes care of fleet risk management and fleet assessment. They ensure that the vehicles are well-maintained, have well-trained drivers behind the wheel, and can deliver your goods on time.
You can also track the vehicle employed through a mobile app easily. Thus, you can hire the vehicles at an economical cost without worrying about your goods being damaged, lost, or delayed.
3. Reducing Vehicle Loads
Vehicle loads have a direct relationship with fuel efficiency. The heavier your vehicles are loaded, the lower will be your fuel efficiency.
Heavier vehicles have:
- Greater inertia, and
- Greater rolling resistance
Both these factors can reduce your fuel efficiency and increase fuel consumption.
Thus, try to reduce the weight of your vehicle as much as possible. Get rid of unnecessary things before you begin a trip. Empty the truck of any items from the previous trip. Similarly, if your vehicle has roof racks, remove them if not needed.
4. Practicing Fuel-Efficient Driving Methods
Driving at optimum speeds isn’t the only way to reduce fuel consumption and your fleet’s operating costs. You can ask your drivers to practice other fuel-saving techniques discussed below.
- Using gears efficiently
Drivers should try to change gears early when accelerating. They can also use the block method under appropriate conditions. For instance, they can go from third gear to fifth directly when accelerating and vice versa.
- Driving at optimum/low speeds
We have already discussed this topic in an earlier section. The slower you drive, the less fuel will be consumed. This will help bring down your operating costs significantly.
- Switching off the air conditioner
Whenever possible, the air conditioner in the vehicle should be switched off. Using air conditioning at low speeds can increase your fuel consumption. So, if it’s a hot day, just roll down the windows for some fresh, cool breeze to soothe you. You may use air conditioning at high speeds.truck
5. Switching off the Vehicle When Not in Use
You should switch off the engine whenever your vehicle is stationary for a considerable time, such as in traffic jams or signals. Why? Because this practice can help save your fuel.
Research has shown that switching the engine off for as brief as ten seconds can help save fuel. The amount may be small, but it can make a significant impact if you have a large number of vehicles that are constantly on the road.
P.S. Shutting down the engine also helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions and lower your carbon footprint.
6. Choosing the Right Vehicle
Whenever possible, downsize to a smaller vehicle. This will help reduce fuel costs as you can use a vehicle with better mileage to transport the items. The vehicle choice must be based on the type of material handling equipment to be transported, their weight, distance, and other factors.
For example, if possible, you can use a small pickup truck instead of a trailer truck to reduce your operating costs. Smaller vehicles provide better fuel efficiency, have fewer maintenance costs, and can complete more trips in the same period as they are relatively faster to drive.
7. Abandoning Unwanted Vehicles
You can cut down your fleet size and keep only the vehicles providing a high return on investment. For example, if you have vehicles that you don’t use often, you can sell them immediately.
This will help you earn a few thousand dollars and spare you from unwanted expenses on their annual maintenance. You can save $5,000 to $8,000 per vehicle annually.
If you can’t sell them, see if some routes can double up. See if the drivers in the morning and afternoon shifts both can use the same vehicle.
8. Reducing Accidents
Having your vehicle get into an accident is the last thing you want in your transportation strategy. Accidents can lead to significant repair costs. The vehicle and the driver, too, are rendered out of service for many days, which lowers your operating capacity. This naturally leads to financial loss.
Moreover, you can also get entangled in costly lawsuits, which can add salt to the wound.
Thus, provide drivers training regarding safe driving practices. Have strict rules regarding driving methods. If you find a driver rash driving and getting into accidents repeatedly, fire them.
By taking these small steps, you can cut down your fleet’s operating costs significantly. You can use the increased profit to expand your business operations, or focus on other areas of your business. However, you must remember that this is a continuous process rather than a one-off thing. So, always check your fleet to ensure that the operating costs are kept to a minimum.