A variety of everyday fleet tools also help give more time back for value-added activities
By Jim Perkins, Director of Shell Fleet Solutions, U.S.A.
It’s an old adage: time is money.
However, there are few industries where this is more fitting than in the world of fleets. Whether it’s a fleet of five or 500, the tasks to run an efficient operation can become overwhelming. With rising costs across the globe, the road to increasing profit margins and building revenues can be a maze of overcomplicated strategies and tactics.
Additionally, outdated ways of working are bogging down operations. For example, 33% of fleet managers still use spreadsheets for a large part of their work, according to a 2021 survey by Vimcar. That same survey found 37% of respondents said that spreadsheets allow too much room for mistakes, with 50% reporting that time spent recording data on spreadsheets prevents them from completing other important fleet tasks. Amazingly, 10% still use pen and paper to organize their fleet.
Thankfully, utilizing readily available fleet services can also streamline time management and give more minutes and hours back to concentrate on value-added activities. These services often provide digital software that can help make fleet management more efficient and less cumbersome, reducing manual paperwork. Most importantly, these fleet services also help lower costs and streamline operations.
- Fuel Cards – Fleet cards are generally used to help save money on fuel costs, but they are also a valuable tool for fleet managers to save time, eliminating the need for paper transactions. Most fuel cards come with a digital platform that can audit and track expenditures, set limits on how much can be charged to the card, and easily integrate new employees. Fleet managers can speed up operations by cutting down on time-wasting paperwork while giving drivers an easy, safe solution to fill up while they are on the road.
- Telematics – Telematics enable managers to easily access data, showing a variety of factors that can be used to optimize fleets, including how long and far vehicles traveled. This assists with job costing, time keeping and resource allocation, helping to minimize errors while conducting administrative work.
- Mobile Fueling – Mobile fueling services helps eliminate the need for drivers to fill up off site at gas stations which might lead to cumbersome paper receipts if a fleet doesn’t utilize a fleet card. These services provide an accurate way to track fuel consumption and fleet fuel needs. Digital platforms provided by on-site fueling services can help reconcile reports on fuel expenditures, leading to less paperwork. From a production standpoint, on-site mobile fueling helps increase driver efficiency by keeping vehicles on the road. According to GeoTab, each off-route fill-up adds 20 minutes to trips which could be extra time used to schedule revenue-generating activities.
- Maintenance Programs – Scheduling repairs and dealing with payments in person or over the phone are a thing of the past with digitally driven fleet maintenance programs. Need to schedule regular repairs from your tablet? Now, fleet managers can do just that. With fleet maintenance programs designed via software platforms, time and money will be saved as vehicles go in for repairs or regular tune-ups. Set up notifications and alerts – and even approve invoices via text or email or on the app/webpage. In the case of some maintenance programs, customer service reps act as advocates for the client and can help prevent overcharging, saving fleet managers hours negotiating pricing.
Giving time back to managers adds value to their roles and allows for more time spent improving fleet operations. Instead of drowning in paperwork and day-to-day tasks, more time can be spent coaching drivers, providing hands-on attention to problems that may arise on site, or devoting attention toward sourcing new ways to improve fleet efficiency or reduce total cost of ownership.
Jim Perkins is Head of Shell Fleet Solutions USA, where he leads a team of sales and marketing professionals that provide fleet owners with a broad portfolio of products and services to help manage their total cost of fleet ownership. Jim joined the Fleet Solutions team in 2014, but he has worked for a variety of Shell businesses during his 30-year career, including Shell’s mobility business and Jiffy Lube.
To learn more about the fleet services that can save time and money, streamlining operations, please visit the Shell Fleet Solutions website.