By Ken Robinson, Director of Product Marketing at Motus
June 21, 2023
Companies that utilize fleet vehicles have a lot on their plate as they struggle to navigate a challenging 2023 economy. Supply chain disruption, inflation, and rising fleet costs are among the ongoing challenges faced by fleet managers. Not only that, but the pandemic has forever changed workforce expectations. That’s especially true when it comes to ‘how’ we work. Companies learned employees value freedom of choice and personal decision making in their professional lives, from the hours and location they work to the vehicle they drive.
While providing flexibility and freedom of choice is essential to employee satisfaction and retention, offering this level of flexibility specific to vehicle use can create problems. Without the right supporting infrastructure, fair, equitable and sustainable reimbursement becomes difficult to achieve. If basics like accurate mileage tracking and timely reimbursement processes are not in place, the current economic climate may compound the resulting errors.
While technologies and solutions exist to address these issues, it’s important to clearly define and understand the problems affecting the fleet manager community. Only through this understanding can businesses ensure they are deploying technology solutions that match the ever-evolving needs of both fleet managers and the mobile workforce alike.
Inflating Challenges and Costs for Fleet Managers
Supply chain disruption in fleet management is a key challenge in today’s climate. Disturbances in the supply chain mean delayed deliveries, difficult inventory management and, of course, rising costs. Delays aren’t the only thing causing headaches for the fleet manager. They also create a domino effect that means having to adjust schedules, reschedule maintenance, and find alternative routes to get the job done. Shortages of maintenance parts and supplies also lead to vehicles being out of commission for extended periods of time, impacting efficiency. These delays combine to eat at a company’s bottom line, as unforeseen changes can result in additional fuel costs, overtime wages, and lost productivity. Ultimately, these external pressures continue to heap costs onto fleet managers’ invoices, which are further exacerbated by increasing costs.
Vehicular costs are especially vulnerable to rising inflation. For day-to-day fleet management, this means increased fuel and repair cost. To put this into perspective, 2022 marked the highest annual retail gasoline price rise in US history, while motor vehicle repair costs rose by 23% over the last year. Looking at this from a fleet management perspective, these costs add up significantly, especially without the proper management tools. In an attempt to combat this inflation, the U.S. Federal Reserve has continually raised interest rates. This has made large purchases, like cars for example, much less desirable. Between a hindered ability to buy vehicles, purchase spare parts, and scheduled maintenance, fleet managers are in desperate need of solutions.
Where Can Fleet Managers Turn?
It’s not all doom and gloom. There are a number of technologies available that can help mitigate these external pressures, including fuel management systems, artificial intelligence (AI) dashcams, and augmented or virtual reality technologies. A primary solution that fleet managers have turned to is the fleet mileage tracking app. The name is self-explanatory – employees driving fleet vehicles use the app to track their personal mileage. Inaccurate tracking is unlikely to hold up in the event of an audit, which presents serious risk to both the employee and the company. Fleet mileage tracking apps offer more than just IRS compliance. Fleet managers also gain a better understanding of how driving employees use fleet vehicles for business versus personal use.
Limiting Cost and Enabling Choice through Accurate Mileage Tracking
Data visibility is hard to come by when managing vehicles in siloes. Clarity into driver routes, mileage, and fuel consumption are a fleet manager’s best friend when it comes to critical decision making. Fleet mileage tracking apps provide key data that discerns areas where efficiency can be improved. Fuel, maintenance, and routes can all be optimized with the help of technology. These apps help fleet managers monitor their employees’ fuel consumption and identify areas where efficiency can be improved. With gas prices setting record highs, reducing consumption opens up serious saving potential, especially when it comes to reimbursing employee fuel costs.
Fleet managers are all too familiar with the difficulties in scheduling maintenance quickly. With supply chain delays, they often don’t know what parts will be available, let alone when they’re coming. Mileage tracking apps can help track vehicle maintenance and identify potential problems before they become costly repairs. Preventative maintenance can make all the difference and reduce massive costs and downtime that result from not being fully prepared.
The workforce continues to change. More than ever, employees favor choice in work habits. Personal vehicles are no exception. Employees chose them to fit their lifestyles. Finding solutions that can adapt depending on company needs is vital. Enabling alternative approaches can provide employees with fair reimbursements for the business use of their personal vehicles. Amidst rising costs and economic challenges, becoming much more efficient with inflating costs of fuel and maintenance is crucial. Fleet mileage tracking apps equip organizations with rare insight into the effectiveness of their fleet, and the potential benefit of alternatives.
Investing in Agility and Visibility
For fleet managers in need of reprieve from the challenges 2023 has to offer, fleet mileage tracking apps provide essential information to guarantee IRS compliance and explore workforce insights. Providing visibility and accuracy, these assets help organizations save money and remain competitive in a challenging business environment. By ensuring that employees are correctly tracking personal miles, companies are able to charge fair personal-use chargebacks while providing the security of compliance. With an eye towards the future, this solution works regardless of fleet type. As employees continue to value choice in vehicles, this tool applies easily to personal vehicles. Fair and accurate reimbursements are widely applicable for long term solutions that save costs and benefit the bottom line.