When thousands of dollars is unaccounted for in your business you’d care wouldn’t you? I know I do.
The Gold rush has started, many more fleets are targeting fuel efficiency and we are busier than ever providing independent monitoring of fuel consumption figures.
I continue to be amazed at the number of litres of fuel which goes adrift each month. I’m not suggesting it is being stolen, it just isn’t accounted for. We have fleets which have literally thousands of litres of diesel not assigned to an individual truck. It really is very hard to improve something you can’t see, and when this is 20% of your whole company cost base, it’s time to sit up and take notice.
Fuel efficiency programmes have a few key pillars:
- Measure your fuel efficiency per truck
- Make sure your fuel records are correct for each truck
- Work out why your high performing trucks are so good and what you can learn from them
- Work out why your low performing trucks are so low, and what you can do about it
- Involve the drivers
- Train your drivers – it really is an investment not a cost.
1. Measure your fuel efficiency per truck
It’s simple, isn’t it? Take your KMs, divide it by your litres. Job done – well, sort of:
2. Make sure your fuel records are correct for each truck
Spare fuel cards, borrowed fuel cards between trucks, fuel cards that follow the driver not the truck (ever seen a driver run on diesel???) we need to monitor the diesel pumped into the right truck please. The list of reasons for losing track of the fuel used by each truck is huge, so I won’t go on, but if you don’t get this bit right, you can’t proceed to the next point:
3. Work out why your high performing trucks are so good and what you can learn from them
Is it a particularly marvellous driver? If so what is he so good at? Is it astonishing new technology in the truck? Is it the route, the freight? What is it that makes this truck perform so well and how do you bottle it and feed it to the rest of your fleet?
4. Work out why your low performing trucks are so low, and what you can do about it
Just like the point above, but the opposite…
5. Involve the drivers
If anyone can tell you in words of one syllable what makes this truck special, it’s the driver. He (or increasingly she..) spends more time in and around their truck than anyone else so will have a fair idea of what happens. Keep a pinch of salt handy, because your workshop and truck salesman might have something to add to the driver’s opinion.
6. Train your drivers – it really is an investment not a cost.
It was worded quite flippantly, but the essence is true when a truck salesman said to me last week “these fleet owners will buy a truck over lunch, but choke on the cost of upskilling the driver to match the new truck.” There is no point buying a truck for the new sustainability features if you don’t give the driver the opportunity to understand how to use them. You may as well buy the cheaper truck and get and “eco –blah” badge off trademe for the grill.
If the fuel consumption of your truck doubles, or halves, you want to know why. If it’s an easy answer like a change of route, freight, or driver, you’ll know almost instinctively. If it is none of those things, you want to get in and have a look in case something expensive is about to happen in the engine bay. If all that has happened is that a driver has borrowed a fuel card and not filled in the docket to assign the fuel to the right truck, it is a lot of hullaballoo over nothing.
If you want to be the next poster fleet for fuel efficiency, it is the little things that make the difference… Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.