The increasing pressure to be ‘seen as green’ within corporate social responsibility agendas, along with mounting legislation, is likely to provide a catalyst for environmentally unfriendly fleets to analyse existing operations. Such fleets will then be in a position to take one of two approaches: implement well-intentioned yet meaningless changes in an attempt to jump through the numerous environmental hoops, or seize the opportunity to genuinely tackle elements of fleet management, which contribute to inefficient and costly operations.
It is estimated that using smarter driving techniques can reduce fuel usage by up to 15%, meaning real financial savings of over £250 (US$393) per year, per driver in fuel costs.
These days, an organisation’s environmental stance can make the difference between a tender landing on a decision-maker’s desk or in their recycling bin.
When it comes to monitoring driver behaviour in order to implement change, GPS tracking technology can be used. Yet, simply having access to data relating to driver behaviour isn’t enough to enable visibility or identify trends. Integration with fleet management software can translate raw data received from tracking devices into a meaningful breakdown of statistics and graphs relating to each driver. Better yet, intuitive technology can pluck problem drivers from the system in order to facilitate intervention, set improvement targets and agree incentive schemes.
Ensuring a seven-seat pool car isn’t assigned to a single driver when a small hatchback is available has always been best practice, but there’s previously been no real pain associated with failing to adopt it. These days, an organisation’s environmental stance can make the difference between a tender landing on a decision-maker’s desk or in their recycling bin.
Overcoming this barrier to effective vehicle utilisation can be achieved by implementing technology that has the ability to provide total visibility over each and every vehicle, including its MPG, maintenance status and compliance with environmental legislation. Opting for a solution that provides intuitive alerts to users relating to the above is an additional way to take the pain out of the process and ensure green credentials are prioritised.
Going green may seem to some like an unnecessary expense, yet in many ways investing in greener processes in the short-term results in optimised fleet management operations and reduced cost in the long-term.
The condition of a vehicle can impact its environmental efficiency, so ensuring a fleet is well maintained is essential for any organisation keen to reduce its carbon footprint. This means not only ensuring scheduled servicing is carried out regularly, but also that day-to-day vehicle inspections are conducted to ensure oil and water levels are where they should be and tyre pressure is correct. To ensure checks are carried out regularly and efficiently, fleet managers can automate the process and remove the need for paper-based checks. In turn, through the use of smartphones, drivers can conduct checks and update the central office or workshops in real-time, ensuring vehicles are operating at optimum efficiency.
Adopting green strategies in fleet management to help an organisation navigate its way through the myriad of legislation and create cleaner, leaner fleet operations is smart business sense. Going green may seem to some like an unnecessary expense, yet in many ways investing in greener processes in the short-term results in optimised fleet management operations and reduced cost in the long-term. Running an environmentally-conscious, successful and compliant fleet in 2012 will require considerable ‘plate spinning’, but new environmental legislation and implementation of greener processes should be met not with anxiety or complacency, but with excitement to rise to the challenges ahead.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.
Ashley Sowerby is Managing Director, Chevin Fleet Solutions (www.chevinfleet.com)
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