Earlier this year, Mike Antich published an article on Automotive Fleet about the top 5 challenges facing commercial fleets. The article details the findings of a survey of commercial fleet managers. We’ve taken the liberty of summarising the main takeaways for you.
Managing costs is always a major challenge for commercial fleet managers. The pressure to save money year-over-year has become increasingly severe as a result of the current economic climate. Many fleet managers report they are given a specific percentage reduction goal in fleet costs with little direction on how to achieve it.
Fuel Price Volatility
Fuel is still the second largest challenge facing commercial fleet managers. Fleet managers report they are struggling to balance the fleet budget with constant and volatile changes in fuel prices. Most fleet managers believe that fuel prices will remain elevated. Consequently, an increasing number of fleet managers are considering fuel hedging to protect against further price rises. Other fuel-saving initiatives include:
- Driver behaviour moderation
- Idle reduction
- Fleet size reduction
- Downsizing to smaller vehicle classes
The third largest challenge reported by commercial fleet managers is driver safety. Many fleet managers are focusing on reducing preventable accident rates and associated repair, downtime, and liability costs. Some fleets are focusing on driver training, in particular on ways to minimise driver distraction, in order to reduce preventable accidents. Furthermore, many fleets are also working with third-party providers to create new safety training modules and programs.
Green Fleet Initiatives
Despite the current economic climate, sustainability initiatives continue to gain strong support from senior management at many companies. However, a major setback to fulfilling green fleet initiatives is the lack of capital spending and reduction of fleet replacement budgets. Consequently, most commercial fleets agree that green initiatives must provide acceptable return on investment.
Many fleets are considering technological solutions, such as GPS and telematics systems, to increase driver productivity. Some fleets are expanding the current telematics being used for safety and fraud detection, which has resulted in improved service delivery times and reduced distance travelled. However, financial pressures often delay the implementation of these technological solutions. Furthermore, the impact of these technological solutions is limited due to the current shortage of qualified drivers.
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