It’s one of the key questions any fleet operator will ask themselves: how do I reduce fleet running costs without impacting performance or safety?
Any fleet manager worth their salt should be able to spot blatant inefficiencies within their operations – for example, excessive fuel use, drivers who aren’t meeting KPIs, and vehicles with high maintenance costs.
But what about the soft costs, hiding in plain sight but not so easy to identify?
Let’s run through some of the key ways you can reduce fleet costs – including some surprising savings you might not have considered before!
Routes, mileage, and planning for your fleet
If some or all of your vehicles operate within specific areas or are repeating regular routes, look to how you can optimise these journeys. Analyse their normal route – are they having to go back on themselves? Could they be using different roads? Are there regular hotspots for congestion?
It’s important to decide whether you simply want to reduce the number of miles being driven, or if you want to help drivers get their job done quicker. It may be that a route that involves travelling a greater distance can be completed in a shorter time, due to traffic or road conditions.
It can be worth performing a quarterly review of your regular routes. You may have added clients in new locations, so taking the time to look at the current demands on your drivers can reveal a picture that might surprise you. It could be that you have a driver delivering in Town A on a Monday, and they’re having to go back there on a Tuesday for one new client.
If you have a flexible customer-base, you may be able to improve your drivers’ workloads and greatly reduce their mileage at the same time.
Prepare for a slightly surprising question – but could you actually operate with fewer vehicles?
We mentioned over- and underuse of vehicles in the introduction to this article. If you can identify any underused vehicles within your fleet, it’s worth assessing what taking them out of your fleet could look like. For example, are you operating in such a way that the workload of six vehicles could be covered by five?
It’s of the utmost importance that any decision to downsize your fleet takes into consideration the impact on employees. Reducing your fleet size to lower costs will come back to bite you if you have overworked, fatigued drivers involved in accidents.
If you are able to feasibly and safely minimise your fleet size, you can make significant savings. Defleeting comes with some costs, but the resultant savings are substantial – most notably in reduced fuel, insurance, and maintenance costs.
Feedback, not training
Driver training is a wonderful idea.
Sit the team down, get an expert in to explain and demonstrate better driving habits and knowledge, and improve performance across the board as a result… Right?
In reality, it’s not quite that straightforward.
Driver training can have a great impact, but it has a short half-life.
Old habits die hard and, without regular feedback and training on the same techniques, they will keep on coming back. It’s not for want of trying, it’s a matter of psychology – it takes at least 66 days for new habits to form. Can you really expect someone to remember details from training they received nine weeks ago? I forget to pack my lunch an hour after making it in the morning – imagine the things we can forget in another 8 weeks, 6 days and 23 hours!
So, how do you make better driving habits stick in your fleet?
With cutting-edge technology that has helped fleets and drivers across the UK save millions of pounds in fuel, thousands of tonnes of CO2, and 40% of accidents.
Lightfoot is a unique fleet management solution that has blown black boxes out of the water, built on three core principles that create genuine, lasting behavioural change:
Lightfoot’s technology communicates with the engine via the on-board diagnostics port and constantly measures how efficiently the car is being driven.
Lightfoot gives the driver real-time verbal and visual nudges when they need to adjust their driving style.
Lightfoot turns efficient driving into a competition with scores, league tables, incentives and rewards for better driving.
This combination of inputs gives drivers the tools to change, consistent feedback that creates better driving habits, and the motivation to maintain those habits.
So, you can be smart and flexible, you can be cold and calculated, or you can be ahead of the curve.
Or you can be all three!