Equipment

Gain Better Control of Fuel Spend With a Fuel-Management System

In order to manage your fuel spend, you must first monitor it.
By Rachael Plant
August 2, 2023
Topics
Equipment

Understanding the causes of inflated fuel spend is the first step to nailing down a solution. Because fuel is such a large portion of a construction fleet’s expenses, staying apprised of when and how fuel is used is critical in helping businesses better control fuel spend. Fuel-management systems enable managers and stakeholders to track and monitor fuel-related data in real time, including fuel consumption, transactions and issues related to maintenance and driver behavior.

Fuel Management Made Easy

Fuel-management systems take the guesswork out of manually tracking data via automated data collection. When using a fuel-management system, managers are automatically notified of issues and exceptions, including over-fueling, fueling at unapproved vendors and fueling outside geofencing parameters, allowing fleets to improve fuel-issue monitoring in real time. Additionally, fleets can use fuel-management systems to identify routing inefficiencies for reduced fuel use.

Another benefit of using fuel-management systems is tracking true versus operational idle time. Tracking true idle time can help decrease it, thus decreasing unnecessary fuel use, while tracking operational idle time provides insights into active time spent on jobsites, as well as fuel expenses for job types, for improved cost management.

Maximize the Benefits of Fuel-Management Systems

Improving fuel economy and surfacing mechanical issues, preventing fuel theft and monitoring driving habits are all benefits provided by fuel-management systems. To reap the maximum benefits, it’s important to understand how specific metrics affect the fleet.

In order to improve fuel economy and surface fuel-impacting mechanical issues, it’s necessary to establish an asset’s baseline for comparison. Data collected by fuel-management systems allow managers to quickly track odometer readings and the number of gallons purchased to monitor an asset’s fuel consumption over time and, when compared to the asset’s baseline fuel economy, determine how closely it’s performing to expectations. If the vehicle’s fuel economy drops below baseline, managers can use historical fuel-related data (including service histories) captured by fuel-management systems to determine the cause and take action to improve the asset’s fuel economy.

Sourcing and monitoring fuel theft and misuse in real time can save fleets thousands of dollars per year. Fuel-management systems use fuel capacity and location alerts to monitor when the volume of fuel purchased is greater than the listed fuel capacity of an asset. When integrated with GPS or telematics solutions, fuel-management systems alert managers when a vehicle’s GPS location is different than where it was fueled, helping to catch problematic activity in real time. Plus, due to the scale at which fuel-management systems are able to collect and disseminate data, fleets can more easily pinpoint causes of increased fuel consumption, such as driver behavior. Behaviors such as speeding and harsh acceleration play a major role in reducing fuel economy. Tracking driver behavior in fuel-management systems provides managers with real-time alerts around dangerous driving for quick resolution.

Integrating fuel-management solutions such as fuel cards and/or telematics with fleet-management software (FMS) provides more accurate, timely data accumulation and deeper insights into the fleet’s fuel usage, allowing for better monitoring of fuel spend as it relates to daily operations, including fuel used while on jobsites to determine true cost of projects, fuel spend by operator to determine asset or fuel card misuse and fuel spend by asset to determine potential mechanical issues and replacement cycles.

Consolidate Fuel and Fleet Data for In-Depth Insights

Fuel-management systems provide a more automated way of collecting data and increase data accuracy for more actionable, in-depth insights. When using a fuel-management system in FMS, fleets can import historic fuel data and easily track fuel economy. Data collected in FMS is categorized and sorted automatically for easy report generation that can be filtered by specific criteria, including by asset, date, driver assignment and fuel type.

Automated fuel-data collection reduces instances of errors associated with manual documentation, improving data reliability and it significantly cuts down the time it takes to manually retrieve, sort and analyze fuel data. Having to manually reconcile fuel receipts can be time-intensive, especially if drivers are late getting receipts in or if they lose one. Fuel management in FMS not only captures that data automatically, but it also allows drivers to take pictures of and submit receipts via a mobile app should the business need that documentation separately.

Fuel Management in Fleet-Management Software

FMS automatically tracks data related to every aspect of fleet, including maintenance and repairs, inspections, mechanical issues, usage, productivity, downtime and fuel activity, plus expenses related to each. By collecting, consolidating and aggregating this data automatically in real time, FMS is able to provide insights for quick analysis so managers can home in on fuel issues on a more granular level. Fleets can use FMS to surface and source increases in fuel costs by comparing fuel reports to service histories, inspection histories, preventive maintenance compliance rates and exception reports to find the true total cost of fuel use per asset.

Additionally, construction fleets can use fuel management in FMS to gain a more accurate analysis of fuel expenses in relation to job types, assets and within the fleet as a whole to help improve fuel management and increase the business’s bottom line. While FMS helps fleets monitor and control fuel expenses, it also uses complete fleet data to calculate total cost of ownership for fleet assets so managers and stakeholders can better determine acquisition and replacement cycles and gain a clearer understanding of overall fleet health and productivity.

by Rachael Plant
Rachael Plant is a content marketing specialist for Fleetio, a fleet management software that helps organizations track, analyze and improve their fleet operations. For more info, visit fleetio.com.

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