Is your New Year's resolution for 2019 to make your fleet as profitable as it can be? If so, you've chosen a good one. Unlike so many unrealistic resolutions, this one can actually become a reality.
The 10 best practices below, which are arranged according to four major fleet management concerns, should help you boost your revenue and eliminate unnecessary expenses.
The Good Kind of Inflation
Remind your drivers that their tires should always be inflated to the ideal pressure levels (a telematics program can verify tire pressure). If a vehicle's tires are inflated correctly, its gas mileage could increase by as much as 3 percent. What's more, the average truck gets about 0.6 percent better gas mileage with proper inflation.
Cruising to Victory
Cruise control can save gas, and autonomous cruise control is especially beneficial . By automatically changing a truck's speed cruise control can help ensure that it never gets too near other vehicles. When used in this way, it can lower the amount of fuel a truck expends during highway driving by about 2.8 percent.
Taking It Easy
If a driver often starts and stops abruptly, his or her vehicle can use up to 40 percent more fuel. Therefore, all starts and stops, except in emergency situations, should be smooth, gradual and controlled. In fact, in some instances, braking is wasteful. It’s better if a truck can simply come to a stop on its own. A quick training session on efficient stopping and starting can save you a ton of money.
It’s Better to Shop Around
Maybe you've been partnering with the same truck leasing company for a long time. It's crucial to survey the marketplace each year, otherwise, you'll never know if a new company is poised to offer you more attractive prices, terms or services.
If you're happy with your current leaser but you still find a better deal elsewhere, at least let your leasing company know about it and ask if they are willing to price match.
Leasing Contracts Are in the Details
When you're looking at leasing contracts, remember that the overall cost isn't the only thing that will affect your company's profitability. Rather, you should weigh such details as the length of vehicle warranties, truck performance guarantees, how billing and invoice disagreements are resolved and the frequency of payment installments.
Hitting the Scale
When it comes to vehicle leasing, scalability can be vital. If your company suddenly booms, your leaser should be able to provide you with new vehicles right away so you can handle the rush. On the other hand, if business starts to slow and you don't need as many vehicles on the road, it's great if you can return some of your trucks without incurring penalties.
Remembering Those Tune-Ups
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration tells us that, in 2015, more than a fifth of roadside inspections led to fines due to maintenance-related violations. Unfortunately, it's easy to forget when it's time for a vehicle to undergo a servicing.
Fleet management software will let you know when a truck is due to go to the mechanic, and it can schedule all other maintenance tasks for you. The likelihood of a compliance mistake will then drop dramatically.
Licensing and Registration Reminders
In a similar way, some fleet management software can store the license plate numbers and registration expiration dates of all your trucks.
When it's almost time to get a plate or registration renewal, your automated program will send you an alert. Once again, you needn't worry about overlooking a deadline.
Preventing Mechanical Failures and Accidents
Fleet management software can tell you when a vehicle's performance is starting to decline, and it can offer suggestions to help you determine which part is responsible. You can then have the truck checked out, and the offending part can be replaced at once. By contrast, if you were unaware of such issues, they could worsen and eventually cause much more costly damage.
When it's time to replace one of your vehicles, you should consider buying or leasing a smaller and lighter truck, one with a more compact engine. It will be nimbler and cheaper to maintain over the long haul.
Sure, there are times when fleet managers need the largest and most powerful vehicles available. However, many companies operate trucks that are bigger than they have to be. Fleet management software can assist you in figuring out which of your vehicles could be downsized without causing any loss of productivity.
With these tips in mind, imagine what your 2019 might be like. Your team members would drive their trucks in ways that exponentially conserve fuel. Your leasing company would supply you with extremely favorable terms. Your fleet management software would monitor your compliance and maintenance duties, saving you time, money and more than a few headaches. Every one of your vehicles would stay in the best possible condition. Altogether, it looks like you may have a very exciting — and profitable — year ahead of you.