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3 basics to help your fleet generate profits

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 27, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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When we deal with customers who manage fleets and the problems they need to overcome while managing vehicles and journeys, we often focus on the sources of costs that fleets have to face.

This might lead you to think that fleet management is all about dealing with costs, but there is actually a lot of potential not only to shift the focus away from costs (and onto thinking about fleets in terms of generating revenue), but to actually make it happen! Sometimes it is just a matter of positive thinking, of not procrastinating but taking action, or having the right resources at your disposal, or having full visibility of your fleet’s activity.

With this post we want to show you how your fleet can actually start generating profits by getting 3 basics right—let’s have a look at them!

 
#1 - Get active contribution from responsible drivers

If you have the right drivers and continuously help them to make their driving efficient in terms of consumption, they will perform their tasks safely. By rewarding them, engaging in continuous two-way communication and helping them in their job by providing good tools you will ensure the motivation is there to help drivers switch to a safer driving style.

 
#2 - Make sure you are using the right vehicles

Not all fleets are using the same assets; it depends a lot on the scope of your job, on the geographic area you are working in, the regional weather conditions and, again, on the specific situations your business has to be prepared for… but if you are not using the right type of vehicles it might lead to you incurring excessive costs. Also, if you do not have visibility regarding your vehicles’ locations, you could be underusing your assets.

 

#3 - Have a proactive attitude and not a reactive one

It might sound like an obviously typical best practice for managing fleet maintenance, but it actually needs to be the attitude to adopt regarding all aspects of fleet activity—trying to pinpoint the causes of issues before they become major issues, whether it be fuel consumption or safety.

 

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Topics: Fleet Costs, Fleet Management

3 more fleet management mistakes that might be wasting your money

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 25, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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The challenges that fleet managers have to face every day as well as dealing with multiple responsibilities always make for tight time and budget constraints and a work scenario where mistakes can be made.

A scenario could easily arise where a manager is not in complete control of their fleet, not having data at their disposal or, despite having the data, not being able to properly measure metrics.

If you find yourself in this situation, have a look at these 3 key areas that need to be kept under control; if their importance is not realised they can really eat out your profits and reduce your fleet to a mere source of cost.
 
#1 - Unauthorized purchases

Whether you distribute cash to your drivers for fuel (are you really still doing that and not using a fuel card?) or because you do not have a fuel policy, there are a lot of ways in which unauthorized items can be purchased and money that should be used for fuel spent on them. Make sure you set up rules for this and that they are promoted and shared by everyone.

#2 - Recurring maintenance issues that are not tracked

If you have multiple things to worry about and do not properly track maintenance events for your vehicles as they come up, you might not only miss excessive costs that are incurred due to your choice of vehicle provider, but also, if any of your vehicles are too frequently in need of repair, it might well be that they actually need replacing (something you might not ordinarily be aware of). Make sure you have all the servicing milestones at your fingertips—it is another great way to save money on fleet costs.

#3 - Private use of vehicles

Again, if you either are not privy to a vehicle’s location or have not established guidelines or policies for the use of your fleet vehicles, there might be cases of misuse. Make sure you eliminate this possibility, and take advantage of the savings.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

3 fleet management practices that are wasting your money

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 23, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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In the constant struggle to deliver the best results at the lowest cost, we know fleet managers, or anyone responsible for organising fleet activity, would straight away be looking for the most immediate cost cutting strategy in order to decrease their expenses: monitoring fuel costs or trying to spend less on fuel is probably the first thing that springs to mind when looking for solutions to budget problems.

Although it is true that fuel surely constitutes one of the highest expenses for any fleet, it is also true that there are other factors or practices that make fleets waste money that might not be very evident…

These are 3 examples of dubious fleet management practices that amount to “throwing money out of the window”—what are you doing at present to prevent these attitudes?


#1 - Uncontrolled downtime

Preventing downtime through an efficient maintenance strategy and with risk assessment should be of the utmost importance for you. Downtime is costing you money every minute drivers are not on the road because the vehicle they need is not at their disposal. The reality is that this is something that can’t always be predicted, but it can sometimes be prevented simply by reinforcing maintenance and safety—make sure the situation is not out of your control so as to minimise downtime.

 

#2 - Unclear fuel policy

If you have already opted for fuel cards you should be enjoying some of their benefits, but you might not be fully utilising them if you do not provide adequate instructions for their use or have a system in place for either controlling purchases or restricting their purchasing options (for example, buying fuel by card is permitted but paying for services and coffee are not). If you set up an appropriate fuel policy and make sure you check it is followed thoroughly, you will quickly realise the benefits.

 

#3 - Uncontrolled asset use

Whether the reason is that you are running a large fleet or whether your vehicles are not in the same depot but scattered in different places, it is important to always keep an eye on where they are and if they are being used. It is so easy to lose control and have vehicles left unused if you do not know how they are being operated (or not operated), and this is another money waster...

 

Fleet management best practices: get started with maintenance

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Topics: Fleet Management

Why is green/eco driving important (and why this is something you should already know)

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 20, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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The importance of eco driving (fuel efficient driving) is today a matter of constant scrutiny, especially after the recent emissions news, for both environmental and legal reasons. These days it is no longer enough just to have good intentions with regards to ‘going green’, companies are now required to control their emissions and there is constant pressure to cut fuel costs (probably one of the highest sources of expense within fleets).

These are just some of the reasons why you should already have considered practising eco-driving in your fleet. But, in actual fact, for some time now eco-driving has been a component of the driving test—that’s why your drivers should already have practiced it, and there should be ongoing training on the topic. Environmental matters were introduced in different times throughout the EU countries between 2000-2010; examiners introduced eco-driving questions, like the one we see in the following example, taken from the online mock Irish Theory Test:

 

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Here is an example of some of the eco-driving questions included in the test:

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It might sound a little repetitive, but apparently it needs to be—not all companies or drivers are aware of how their driving style impacts on consumption and emissions. Would you be able to provide answers to some of these questions yourself?

Here are a couple of examples (with the answer):

 

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Do you think your drivers would be able to answer these questions? And if they would be able, how can you make sure they are really practising eco-driving?

If you are one of our frequent readers, you might be more than familiar with how SynX can help you in this regard. From monitoring driver behaviour (and rapid acceleration) to keeping track of your consumption, from scheduling maintenance in order to keep vehicles serviced to recording walkaround checks, there is a lot SynX can do for you. Don’t forget eco-driving does not just mean lower fuel consumption for your fleet, but safer driving all round, and with it, numerous additional benefits.

Contact us if you want to see how you can improve your fuel consumption and decrease your carbon footprint.

 

Get started with eco driving and cut on your fuel bills

 

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Topics: Eco-driving & Green actions, Fuel

3 headaches you should get rid of to boost your fleet performance

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 18, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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We often imagine fleet managers or anyone responsible for a fleet as multitasking individuals who are continuously working under pressing time constraints. Within this challenging environment there are surely aspects of the job or factors that have a negative impact on the efficiency of their fleet—the excessive time spent on certain activities could be more effectively tackled and improved upon with the aid of technology.

These aspects could also be impacting on the efficiency of YOUR fleet—so make sure you remain vigilant and seek out solutions… otherwise you might as well be throwing money straight out of the window!

#1 - Admin time

Find out how long it took for your staff to complete a job, check it and make sure it is what actually happened  How long does it take? And are you sure it is being done properly? (You can even separate private from work mileage.) If everything is only ever recorded on paper or communicated by word of mouth… how many opportunities arise to get it wrong, and what if it can cost you a sanction if not properly documented?

 
#2 - Maintenance logbooks

You are legally required to have a system in place for checking vehicles and keeping them safe and roadworthy, which has also, as a result, a positive impact on the lifespan of your assets if carried out regularly. But how do you keep track of the whole fleet and all the individual vehicle checks? If you rely on paperwork and spreadsheets, we can only imagine how long it takes…


#3 - Locating drivers

Whether yours is a delivery company, or a hotel with an airport shuttle, how much time do you spend trying to figure out where your drivers are? And are you sure this is not impacting on their performance by stressing them out and making them more distracted or prone to mistakes—there are far easier and quicker ways to check on your drivers’ position...

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

Speeding and dangerous driving in 3 European road safety videos

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 16, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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The three road safety videos we present in this blog post focuses on speeding and dangerous driving; and while some of them are quite dated, they could still act as stark reminders for those who do not practice safe driving.

Despite it sounding repetitive to continuously warn against speeding or aggressive driving, we are reminded that both behaviours still have a huge impact on the number of people injured on the roads; so this once again affords us the opportunity to point out that safety has to be the priority, always.


Let’s have a look at these campaigns!

 
#1 - UK—THINK!—Kill your speed

In this older commercial created by the UK’s Department of Transport, we see a car travelling just above the speed limit and braking, but even at this speed the car does not have enough reaction time and space to stop in the time available and eventually hits a pedestrian—making the point that at just 5 mph over the 30 limit, it takes a further 21 feet to stop.

 

#2 - France—Securite Routiere—Il n'y a pas de petite infraction en voiture (There are no small transgressions when it comes to driving)

The video focuses on how the words “just a little” or “just a small” do not fit in with the concept of road safety. In the video, they actually clash with what is happening on screen:

“Vous roulez juste un peu trop vite”—You drive just a little too fast (when the car is travelling at 90 km/h and speed is increasing)

“Vous lisez juste un petit message”—You just read that small text message (a slight distraction)

“Vous tournez juste sans clignotant”—You just turn without using the signals

The final result is “Vous l’avez juste un peu tue”—“You just killed him a little bit”.

The video ends up explaining that on the road, there are no small violations—sur la route, il n’y a pas de petite infraction.

 

#3 - Spain —Dirección General de Tráfico—Campaign against drugs and alcohol behind the wheel

This video presents the side effects of drink and drugs driving as if it were a commercial advert for a vehicle promoting all the added features: “Euphoria, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, altered perception, dizzyness, distraction—drugs and alcohol add these features to your vehicle as they impact on its most important part: your brain. Don’t drive under their influence.”

 

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Topics: Road Safety

How does a fuel management system work?

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 13, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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We often come across this query with potential customers who often ask, “how does a fuel management system work?”. And when we ask our customers, or potential ones, how they purchase fuel or how they keep track of the mpg or fuel consumption of their fleet, we sometimes feel that they are not fully grasping what is possible with the help of technology or they erroneously think they cannot do anything to prevent increasing fuel consumption.

The truth is, that if you are able to measure fuel consumption as well as fuel purchased and cross check it with other aspects which impact on the fuel economy of your vehicles, then you are taking steps to improve efficiency. “Knowledge is power” might sound like an old adage, but there is a reason why we chose it as a slogan for SynX!

If you cannot measure, you cannot act. How could you possibly take action on your fuel economy if you do not know the causes leading to high consumption? You have to know the reasons behind it… that’s why you need a fuel management system!

So, to recap, we arrived here because we wanted to know how a fuel management system works… here are a few points that might help you understand why it is a tool you definitely MUST have:

 

A fuel management system...

 

#1 - Keeps track of global fleet or single vehicle consumption

You can view the consumption of your fleet in real time, from any device, as a whole or as a vehicle-by-vehicle breakdown.

#2 - Allows you to set up consumption targets

Again it can be done on a single vehicle basis or you can have a fleet target for your fuel economy. 

#3 - Gives you control of all fuel purchases

Not only can you get information on fuel purchases, but also insight into an issue that might impact on those transactions—and they will be classified appropriately. For example, your purchases will be classified as pending if the vehicle was not at the fuel station at the time of the purchase (GPS mismatch) or if vehicle or registration was not given while purchasing fuel.

#4 - Lets you know how many refills per vehicle take place

According to how many times you need to refill might mean there is an issue regarding the purchase or that your vehicles consume too much—it is easy to tackle potential problems if you know in advance…

#5 - Keeps track of driving styles that tend to consume more fuel

Idling, harsh braking, speeding and rapid acceleration are all behaviours that waste fuel. If you can minimise them… you will notice the reduction in your fuel bills!

 

 

Fuel management

 

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Topics: Fuel

How can a pay as you go GPS tracking system benefit young drivers

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 11, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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As providers of a pay as you go GPS tracking systems and fleet management software, we are acutely aware that among the most popular safety concerns in companies that rely upon driving as well as for anyone in charge of road safety is the training and the driving style of young drivers.

For a number of reasons, young drivers are placed in the highest at-risk driver brackets. This may be down to the inexperience of the novice: a combination of overconfidence in one’s driving ability as well as limited awareness regarding the dangers associated with driving. Young drivers, according to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) publication Managing Young Drivers at Work, tend not only to be overconfident but also to be more prone to speeding. The problem is that the unmonitored driving behaviour of young drivers can have serious consequences for companies which depend on drivers, but also for other road users…

Since companies have an ethical and legal duty to provide a safe working environment for their staff as well as for the other people on the road, keeping track of the driving style of young drivers could be particularly helpful for their training. So, how would you use a pay as you go tracking system for assessing risks among young drivers?

 

#1 - Detecting dangerous driving

A pay as you go GPS tracking system like SynX gives you the opportunity to monitor driver behaviour and keep tabs on any dangerous driving event, particularly speeding, harsh braking and rapid acceleration. This could be a very useful tool to train young drivers and prevent risks.

 

#2 - Detect common driving issues

With our feature, “Map my issues”, you can be advised of the presence of any recurring aggressive driving issues and train your team to tackle them.

 

#3 - Promote driver games

With our system it is also possible to organise driver competitions to raise awareness on safety and teach eco-driving as well as safe driving techniques. And remember, psychologically speaking, no one wants to be at the bottom of the rankings!

 

#4 - Take advantage of meetings

You should take advantage of any occasion to discuss the dangerous driving events you find out and reinforce your safety policy —whether reminding drivers not to speed or that wearing a seat belt is compulsory. Make sure you set up safety reminders, especially once you become aware of the most common safety issues in your fleet.

 

Get a demo of our vehicle tracking software SynX!

 

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Topics: Road Safety, GPS & Tracking

3 features of your fleet management solution that enhance fleet maintenance

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 9, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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If you are struggling with the maintenance of your fleet and getting your head around vehicle servicing, you might have already looked into how a fleet management solution can help you.

While we already know the answer to your question—yes, a solution like SynX can definitely help in the global organisation of fleet maintenance—you might not know which features or aspects of a fleet management solution actually fulfil this promise. So let’s find out!

 

#1 - Maintenance Manager

This is obviously the king of the maintenance features, covering everything from scheduling maintenance events, filling in data and constructing a maintenance vendor database, to the upload of bills. Everything to do with the maintenance of your entire fleet will be at your fingertips: you can set up your calendar, receive notifications of upcoming servicing alerts, motor tests or when a tyre change is due…

 

#2 - Walkaround Checks Tab

Walkaround checks are the basis for any comprehensive fleet maintenance system. With this option in your software menu you will ensure drivers complete vehicle checks and that there is no lapse in servicing, plus there is the additional benefit of having everything recorded for compliance.

 

#3 - Fuel Consumption Tab

Why fuel consumption? Because if something is not working correctly in a vehicle or if it needs unscheduled servicing, you might discover this from the quantity of fuel spent. If a vehicle uses too much fuel to work—which is something you probably wouldn’t immediately realise without a system keeping track of fuel purchases and consumption—there might be something wrong; something that can easily escalate if you don’t have a look at it at straight away…

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking, fleet maintenance

Driver daily walkaround checks: how to set them up and save money

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 6, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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We are always discussing the undeniable benefits of daily driver walkaround checks and the optimisation of safety, by keeping vehicles in good shape to avoid constant reparations, because we know there are still companies out there that only focus on safety, reactively.

To try to convince those who are still not aware of how walkaround checks could actually benefit their fleets (despite the fact that walkaround checks are a legal requirement), we have prepared a list of some of the more pragmatic benefits of daily driver walkaround checks… but pay attention; you might actually enjoy some of them if you have a sound, efficient process in place. Let’s begin!

 

#1 - Set up an effective process with driver training

Doing walkaround checks is fairly straightforward and easy to grasp for most drivers, but if you have a standardised process, an “ambassador” and a walk-through tour with a designated person demonstrating the pace of the whole procedure, you will ensure everything is done in a realistic time frame. Furthermore, time isn’t wasted teaching the process every time or having drivers mechanically checking off each box one by one, making the whole exercise much more efficient.

 

 

#2 - Administration time

 

This is probably one of the hidden costs in the process; if not well organised it could really lead to more time wasted:  

Who is distributing the checklists?

Who is keeping records?

Who is communicating with the garage—is it the fleet manager or the driver? 

Who decides what needs to be repaired, and when?

If you have setup the basic process and the roles are already established, it is far less time-consuming… imagine, also, if you had dedicated software available and how much easier it could make your life!

#3 - Recordkeeping

If you run a large fleet, where do you store all the paperwork and the material records from each vehicle check? Do you scan the material or update logbooks, and how much does it cost? This is also a time consuming area. Think about what walkaround checks software could offer you in terms of time saving

 

If you are still wondering how to promote walkaround checks and save money at the same time, it’s worth contemplating these points—all three can so easily be taken care of by means of our softwareGet in touch and see how it works!

 

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Topics: fleet safety

About this blog

Welcome to the SynX blog!

Here is where we post all our latest and greatest tips and info on best practices for fleet management. Everything you need to know on fuel, safety, maintenance plus news and reviews. Subscribe to get the latest news and feel free to comment on any of our posts or give your feedback!

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