For many fleet businesses, there is a constant squeeze on margins from costs that are inherent to how they are run. Alongside these costs, they must consider the implications of future controls on emissions and the effects of Brexit on the UK economy in general.
What are the ways, that are closer to home, that fleet businesses can improve performance, save money and reduce emissions?
“There are ongoing costs to running a vehicle that are unavoidable,” explains Alan Locke-Timmins of fleet servicing specialists, AYCEN. “These include insurance, servicing and maintenance and fuel. They can quickly add up.”
“One way of reducing costs is to reduce fuel consumption, but is this easier said than done?”
Alan advises that adopting a more economical driving style can reduce the amount of fuel you use, and cut down on harmful emissions.
“You might be surprised at how focusing in on the smaller details can improve the bigger picture,” he remarks.
“Individuals can, cumulatively, make a difference to the fortunes of an entire fleet, by modifying their driving styles and habits”
Sitting in traffic can feel frustrating because of time ticking away. But it is also wasteful in terms of fuel.
Many modern vehicles have stop-start engines to combat this problem, but for older vehicles, the decision is in the driver’s hands.
“If you think you’re not going anywhere for a bit, then consider switching off the ignition,” Alan advises. “If your vehicle is idling and you’re waiting for more than a minute, then switching off the motor can be beneficial.”
There is also a more strategic solution to cutting down on engine idling. This is to plan routes that avoid the worst congestion, where possible.
“Route planning works well in conjunction with telematics and fully integrating technology into your fleet so that you optimise those routes can save on fuel, time and emissions”
How drivers control their vehicles can have a significant impact on how much fuel they use.
“Avoid harsh braking and sudden acceleration where possible,” Alan says, “because the more gradually you slow down or speed up, the more you can reduce strain on your engine.”
Eco Driving as Company Policy
The Department for Transport and the Energy Saving Trust advise the adoption of fuel efficient driving techniques as a means of making fleets more efficient.
“This may seem to lie outside the usual remit of the fleet manager,” Alan observes, “but actually it makes sound business sense.”
Smoother driving can prove more economic, and therefore benefits fleet businesses in the long run, which makes it something fleet managers should adopt as company policy, whether through on-road training or other means of staff communication and engagement.