Recent hikes in the price of diesel have once again highlighted the ongoing battle between fleet operators, service managers and fuel costs. In the UK, the price of diesel is now running at twice the rate of inflation since reaching a record high of 143.05p (US$2.25) per litre last month, adding further pressure to already cash-strapped businesses in transportation and field services.
Unfortunately, this is not a problem that will simply go away with time. Rather, the future for fuel prices continues to look bleak, with global factors, such as rising crude oil prices, refinery closures and pressure on supply resulting in further rises by Easter. Adding to this, UK fuel duty is set to rise again by 3.02 pence per litre in August, amounting to 4p per litre once VAT (value added tax) at 20% is added.
By deploying telematics technology, organisations of all sizes can reduce fuel use by up to 30%.
Despite the critical situation, companies in the UK, and indeed in any market, can take action today to better manage their fuel consumption, improve efficiency and save money. By deploying telematics technology, organisations of all sizes can reduce fuel use by up to 30%.
Using telematics can help companies to optimise schedules and route planning, helping to reduce unnecessary mileage and improve fuel efficiency and driver behaviour. By enabling companies to monitor fuel consumption and CO2 output, the technology can ultimately help to reduce fuel use and improve a company’s carbon footprint.
However, a key factor in controlling fuel costs through this technology lies with the employee in the driving seat. Technology can be beneficial to show how economical a driver or vehicle is, helping companies optimise fuel usage. While instant feedback is provided to drivers in their vehicles, the real value of the data lies in the centralised analysis through telematics software.
The price of fuel will always have a significant impact on the bottom line of operators of large fleets, but technological solutions can substantially reduce this, and sow the seeds for real progress in the automotive industry.
The analysis of an employee’s driving style and behaviour behind the wheel can be dissected and allow the company to take appropriate action. By providing feedback and highlighting areas for improvement in driving performance, employees can be trained to optimise their operations, leading not just to improvements in fuel efficiency and productivity, but also to driver safety.
As with so many things, knowledge is key – identifying where problems are and then implementing best practice to mitigate them is a huge step forward in helping organisations truly understand their fuel efficiency.
Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the direction fuel prices are heading, fleet and field services managers can take positive steps towards making a change today. The price of fuel will always have a significant impact on the bottom line of operators of large fleets, but technological solutions can substantially reduce this, and sow the seeds for real progress in the automotive industry.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.
Andrew Yeoman is Managing Director, Trimble UK (www.trimble.com)
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