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7 of the best fuel efficiency tips you might have not thought about

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 29, 2016 9:00:00 AM

best fuel efficiency tips

In the present economic context and in these times of heightened environmental awareness, fuel economy is an ever growing concern for fleet managers and companies whose business is completely dependent on the operation of vehicles.

That’s why we decided to share an infographic created by The News Wheel on that topic and to provide you with  7 of the best fuel efficiency tips. Though the infographic targets car drivers, there are some tips you could actually use as a professional driver, that will allow your fleet to be more fuel efficient and your company to grow: by cutting expenses on fuel and fleet costs, it inevitably follows that there will be more income to invest in the development of your business!

Interested? Then learn how to save fuel by checking out the following tips!

  • Make sure you are up to speed on your fleet maintenance:
    • 1. Check the tyres of your vehicles, and make sure they are properly inflated.
    • 2. Check the state of the engines of your fleet vehicles regularly.
    • 3. Check the oil you use: if you use synthetic oil, make sure your oil filters are changed regularly and appropriately.
  • Train your drivers toward a more fuel efficient driving style:
    • 4. Barring an emergency or having to take evasive action, speeding and harsh braking are definitely unacceptable if you want to reduce your fuel consumption. Train your drivers toward a smoother driving style.
    • 5. Idling is also a practice you must avoid at all costs! This will not only improve your fleet’s fuel efficiency but also reduce the carbon footprint of your business.
    • 6. Paying attention to traffic signals is also a good way to cut your fuel expenses. In a word—anticipate! By being more mindful of the traffic, your drivers will naturally drive more smoothly and therefore more fuel efficiently.
  • Plan your journeys and select the best route beforehand:
    • 7. Anticipating your drivers’ journeys is a sure way to cut your fleet’s fuel consumption. By keeping an eye on the traffic, you can avoid the jammed roads—saving fuel and time!

 

So far so good? Check out the infographic below to learn more fuel efficiency tips!

FuelEfficiencyInfographic-2.jpg


As you can see, these great tips are there to help cut your fuel bill and they are easy to implement; this is especially true when it’s your vehicle we are talking about. But how can you be sure these directions will be applied across your fleet? That’s where our fleet management software, SynX, comes into play!

With SynX you can:

  • receive the live traffic updates and journey reports you need in order to choose the best route possible; and not lose time and fuel in traffic jams, for example;
  • be kept up to date regarding your fleet maintenance, receive fuel reports, integrate fuel cards and be notified of idling alerts among other things...


In other words, a totally comprehensive fuel management software system makes for a totally fuel efficient fleet!

Contact us if you want to know more...

  Learn about the best fuel efficiency tips by watching our video!  

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Topics: Fleet Management, Fuel

Fleet management strategies: what expertise must fleet directors have?

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

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Companies that own vehicles and use them in order to carry out their daily tasks might have different fleet management strategies in order to save money and wisely distribute budgets without compromising the profitability of their business. But surely an important element of the fleet management process is being able to rely on a smart professional in the role of the fleet director.


Given the daily needs of a fleet, whether large or small, a fleet manager is typically expected to organise a team to cope with the fast-pace economy we are currently experiencing—there are many, many tasks a fleet manager needs to deal with. Considering all this, there is surely a range of qualities a fleet manager must have, together with a particular set of technical skills.


In this blog post we are going to describe the technical skills and expertise a fleet director must have in order to ensure success for his business—what are they exactly?


1 - Knowledge of vehicle maintenance


While a fleet director doesn’t necessarily have a background in mechanics, he must be aware of fleet maintenance. And in order to do so he has to be familiar with different types of vehicles and their (evolving) technology. These skills are critical when the time comes to purchase new vehicles or when considering whether to replace the current ones, as factors such as vehicle consumption and features like cruise control or ABS might have an impact on fleet costs.



2 - Knowledge of fleet management software


Telematics is no longer a technical upgrade that some directors might wish to have for vague reasons, but actually something they need to actively engage with. Understanding the fundamental principles, establishing the metrics that need to be measured, being able to monitor KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are some of the skills fleet managers need to acquire when using fleet management software. There might even be different tools and software that are connected through an API (Application Program Interface) together with your fleet management solution, or you could have access via a different platform or software installed in your computer. Dispatching orders, field service, tachograph control: these days a fleet director must be fluent enough with the technology in order to control all of them. The days of pen and paper are long gone…



3 - Legal, HR, compliance


Part of fleet manager’s responsibilities include knowing what is needed in order to maintain legal compliance and how to operate without the prospect of unpleasant surprises, such as sanctions cropping up, because the correct rules and legislation have not been applied.


Not only should health and safety at work be guaranteed, but also compliance with working times, adequate logbooks maintained, vehicles MOT’d, drivers checked to ensure they are in possession of the adequate licences and certifications and so on.

Download our maintenance guide to learn about fleet management strategies and best practices

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Topics: Fleet Management

Lower fuel prices cause fatalities to increase by 7% in the US

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 22, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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We are constantly trying to sensitize people to important issues, provide insights on fleet safety and demonstrate how to achieve lower fuel costs without necessarily relying on lower fuel prices; we advise companies to adopt sound long-term strategies and educate drivers toward more ecological and safer driving styles.

One of the stranger stories in the news lately concerns the lower fuel cost prices that the US have been experiencing of late; a fact which encourages Americans to drive more frequently which in turn, unfortunately, has led to a 7% increase in road fatalities.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which issued a communication on Aug 29th, 2015: “The nation lost 35,092 people in traffic crashes in 2015, ending a 5-decade trend of declining fatalities with a 7.2% increase in deaths from 2014. The final data released  by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed traffic deaths rising across nearly every segment of the population. The last single-year increase of this magnitude was in 1966, when fatalities rose 8.1% from the previous year.”

When fuel is cheaper, Americans tend to drive more. An improving economy also naturally leads to more work-related driving, according to NHTSA. Other factors that contribute to the likelihood of a fatal traffic accident include drunk or distracted driving. Economists generally agree that low gas prices help stimulate the economy, though the modest economic growth of the last two years has led them to debate the extent of that effect. Still, an increase in traffic deaths is just one of several negative side effects. More driving also means an increase in the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change; and automobile pollution continues to be responsible for disease and death in America’s urban centres.

NHTSA and other government agencies are working on a number of programs aimed at stemming the rise in traffic deaths, such as

  • releasing an open data set that contains detailed, anonymized information about each of these tragic incidents;
  • using the studies of attitudes toward speeding, distracted driving, and seat belt use to better target marketing and behavioural change campaigns;
  • monitoring public health indicators and behaviour risk indicators to target communities that might have a high prevalence of behaviours linked with fatal crashes (drinking, drug use/addiction, etc.).

According to many transportation experts, in the long-term self-driving cars may be the solution that can erase traffic fatalities completely.

 

Fuel Saving Bible - FREE ebook

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Topics: Safety, Fuel

Is prevention of bridge strikes one of the top driving safety topics?

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

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Though, usually, the hottest driving safety topics seem to be driver distraction, speeding and drink driving, there is one topic that is becoming increasingly popular in Ireland, even if it is already a well-known issue for the UK as well—bridge strikes.

Irish newspapers have recently published a warning by Irish Rail, who told truck drivers to “wise up” (the exact words used!) and to be more aware of their vehicle's height as this issue has cropped up again after some time and particularly affects the DART route.

The latest occurrences drew these comments from Irish Rail: “The basic intelligence and competence of drivers involved in these incidents must now be called into question. We have endeavoured to inform and educate drivers, we have advertised, we have improved our signage, we have seen prosecutions and we have introduced new technologies – the message has to get through.  It is basic safety for truckers to know the height of their vehicles and the bridges on their routes.”

 

Photo Credit: © Irish Rail http://www.irishrail.ie/news/bridgestrikes

 

What is a bridge strike and how can it affect road safety?

A strike has occurred if any part of a road user‘s load or vehicle has collided with a bridge (usually a railway). Most frequently there are collisions with under-bridges (of restricted height) and over-bridges (road over railway, when a driver has made a misjudgement or lost control of their vehicle)—both can have serious consequences.

The causes of bridge strikes can be wide ranging. However, they can be prevented with prior planning and adherence to warning or diversionary signage. Bridge strikes can lead to

  • loss of life or injury to the vehicle driver, passengers and other members of the public;
  • traffic delays and congestion;
  • train delays.

 

How can we prevent a bridge strike?

1 - Traffic signs are provided at bridges to show the maximum permitted vehicle height:

  • Red circles prohibit
  • Red triangles warn

2 - Road risk assessment helps identify routes and bridge height. They help drivers:

  • assess the risk of bridge strikes based on the height and width of the vehicle;
  • select routes to eliminate the risk of bridge strikes;
  • assess routes for vehicles under maintenance or engineering test to avoid bridge strikes.

 

Furthermore:

  • schedules should not cause the driver pressure, stress or fatigue as this may increase the risk of bridge strikes;
  • local highway or road authorities—guidance may be obtained on vehicle heights limits under bridges;
  • vehicle height checks are encouraged during first use—check the maximum height as displayed in the cab of the vehicle (always there as a reminder for drivers).

 

How should drivers be sensitized to this topic?

Drivers should be aware of the following:

  • The vehicle height in metres and the corresponding imperial measurements
  • The maximum vehicle height
  • The maximum vehicle height as displayed in the driver cab
  • The importance of checking that the load is secure
  • The number to call in case of an emergency

 

Risks on the Road - FREE ebook

 

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Topics: Road Safety, Safe Driving

Euro 6 emission standards and compliance: what's new for van fleets?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 15, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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September 1st, 2016 is a very important date for van fleets, since the Euro 6 emission standard will become a mandatory requirement for all new light commercial vehicles.

The Euro 6 standard is the latest of the Euro regulations set by the European commission in order to lower the emissions generated by petrol, gas and diesel engines. In particular, the different sets of Euro Standards regulations aim at lowering the emissions of:

- carbon monoxide (CO), the most common type of fatal air poisoning in many countries

- hydrocarbons (HC), present in fuel and as solid in asphalt

- oxides of nitrogen (NOx), present in benzene, a natural component of crude oil

- particulate matter (PM), generated by the burning of fuel.


Over the last few years, both technology and the automotive industry have evolved in tandem to decrease emissions, so it is relatively safe to say that vehicles manufactured today are way less polluting than they were in the past—they are not only increasingly cleaner to operate but more fuel efficient as well.


The Euro 6 set, as opposed to its predecessor the Euro 5 which mainly targeted carbon dioxide emissions, is heavily focused on lowering nitrogen oxide emissions which have been linked to respiratory diseases and acid rain. The Euro 6 regulations force vehicle makers to reduce nitrogen oxide by more than 55 percent—this applies particularly to diesel engines.


As regards to the technology employed in Euro 6 vehicles to reduce nitrogen oxide, this can be reached through different solutions:


1 - using a simple NOx trap (only possible for small vans)


2 - using Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), which injects a reductant called AdBlue into the exhaust stream to neutralise the nasty NOx. AdBlue is diesel exhaust fluid added to a special extra tank in compatible vehicles, in a process as simple as topping up the windscreen washer reservoir—this fluid is used to break down NOx into less harmful nitrogen and water vapour.


3 - developing the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) technology that has been used in diesel vehicles for years, with the implementation of Low Pressure Exhaust Gas Recirculation.


So, what is going to happen for van fleets?


New vans have to be purchased following the Euro 6 standard.

Your costs might increase if you choose a Euro 6 van with SCR, due to the AdBlue refilling system (depending on the vehicle). Vans with SCR have been designed in order to make room for the AdBlue tank, meaning the fuel tank has been reduced to compensate, so trips to the petrol station and the number of fuel purchases are very likely to increase.


You are not expected to modify vehicles not belonging to the Euro 6 standard, but all non-Euro 6 LCVs will have to pay a daily charge if they need to enter the London Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) from 2020 onwards—and this scheme may well be adopted in other areas, so think about it!

 

What’s the safest way of avoiding frequent trips to the petrol station and lowering emissions?

Having a system that detects the driving style of your staff and helps you train them in the art of ecodriving will definitely help you to save fuel. With the assistance of a complete management solution you will also be able to establish if all the trips to the petrol station are strictly necessary and make any appropriate improvements to your fuel card policy.

 

Contact us for more information on how to save fuel and decrease emissions, and receive a free demo of SynX.

  Euro 6 compliance thanks to SynX  

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Topics: Fleet Management, Eco-driving & Green actions, News, Stats & Facts

3 Things That Won't Happen when Introducing Fleet Telematics

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 8, 2016 9:00:00 AM

3_things_that_wont_happen_when_implementing_Fleet_Telematics.jpgBig Brother stigma is usually what springs to mind when managers begin looking into introducing fleet telematics. But there are also a number of other unfounded fears that put off companies that are thinking of acquiring this type of technology. Both workers and managers could easily share erroneous ideas on what they think would happen if they finally decide to install fleet telematics. But what is the real truth of it? What is really going to happen and what is NOT going to happen if you go ahead with introducing fleet telematics?


“Drivers will never accept this”.

We know the first suspicion of people who implement the technology would be that drivers won’t like it. You might find a bit of resistance from drivers as new processes still take time to be digested and accepted before they become reality. But it is your responsibility to make things work as well. Our advice is to


  • openly talk to the staff—never hide the fact that telematics is going to happen,
  • have a look at our implementation kit,
  • properly plan the implementation together with your telematics provider.

If you adopt the right practices, drivers will not only accept this, but as soon as they start to enjoy the benefits of the technology for themselves, you will gain their buy-in together with increased participation.



“I will spend so much time learning how to use all this technology rather than actually doing things”.

If you think so, you probably don’t know how much time your fleet is spending on manual or admin tasks that demand quite a lot of time. There is no need to view a fleet management system like it’s really, really complicated, because it isn’t! What it does exactly is to automate processes and reports (some of which, you would not even be able to create manually). The system collects real, complete data, and converts it into reports. You can also customise the system and adapt it to your fleet, vehicles and scope.



“I am not getting as many advantages as I expected from this”.

This depends partly on how your fleet management solutions provider deals with you. Before acquiring the technology you should look in depth into the features of the system and the activity of your fleet. With the proper preparation and dialogue with your provider, you will see just where the technology can drive your business forward. When asked by your fleet management solution team, provide as much context as possible and answer the questions they ask—from there, it is down to them to find out the perfect solution for you!

Get a free copy of our Implementation Kit to learn what the best practices are when introducing Fleet Telematics

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking, fleet managament

Fuel efficient company cars: are SUVs a good choice?

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

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These days, companies are frequently looking to make cuts in parts of their budget in order to invest in growth. One tangible step they often take in order to save money is to acquire fuel efficient company cars; often not scrimping on the cost of a car so long as it guarantees good fuel economy.


The market demand for crossovers and SUV vehicles has grown in such a way that these types of vehicles are becoming more and more popular, not only among end users but also as company cars. The image of a more traditional company car following the classical saloon style or the hatchback is no longer the sole choice for company cars, but is increasingly being replaced by SUVs.


SUVs and Crossovers are very well represented in all sectors and according to experts they are going to surpass compact cars in sales within the next two years. But if companies are looking into getting fuel efficient company cars, what are then the pros and cons of these vehicles and what does a company need to check before investing in a SUV?



1 - Design


Pro: SUVs and crossovers have a very important presence on the road and give an impression of an innovative company with their captivating design.


Con: SUV shapes are much less aerodynamic compared to other company cars, resulting in higher emissions and consumptions.



2 - Cost


Pro: Nowadays SUVs are quite affordable and can be seen as a benefit for those who drive for work and also suitable for their family’s needs.


Con: Companies have to check thoroughly into which tax rate the SUV model falls under, as it can result in a higher cost over the long term.



3 - Company branding


Pro: As stated before, SUVs might contribute to the global image of the company.


Con: There could be pressure by the team on the HR department in order to get an SUV for personal benefits. (It isn’t always easy to choose the right vehicle and keep everyone happy at the same time!)


4 - Fuel consumption


SUVs tend to have worse emissions and fuel economy data than hatchbacks or saloons so they might not be completely recommendable for a fleet; however, the automotive industry is no doubt researching technological methods of improving the fuel efficiency of SUVs and crossovers.


If you are looking into getting an SUV or a crossover, a good idea might be to experiment with the vehicle you purchase with the help of fuel management technology in conjunction with driver training to see if it can effectively meet the needs of your business without compromising your budget and increasing your global costs. Give us a shout; we can show you how to track consumption, set MPG targets and save money on fuel—a strategy that proves to be very effective in the long term. Contact us!

 

Make the list of your fuel efficient company cars by watching our video

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Topics: Fuel

Health and Safety management: road fatalities increase in the UK

by Eleonora Malacarne on Sep 1, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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The management of Health and Safety is surely now a number one priority after the UK government recently came under criticism for the 2% increase in road fatalities and injuries on British roads.

According to figures from the Department for Transport (DFT), for the year up to March 2016, 1780 people were killed on the road and 22830 injured. The total number of casualties for the previous year was 22404. Analysis suggests one out of every three road casualties appears to be work-related, or, to put it more starkly, approximately 11 people are killed at work every week.

Until 2011 the figures published by the DFT were showing a gradual decrease, but in the past 5 years in the UK the trend has reversed, and since 2013 there has even been a 6% increase in fatalities. This reversing trend has resulted in criticism towards the Government, which has committed to reducing the number of road users killed or injured.

According to some experts, more action is needed especially towards drink driving (counting for around 13% of the deaths) and roads with higher speed limits (apparently 56% of fatalities occurred on such roads and the number of crashes increased on roads with these speed limits, while the rate is demonstrably reduced on roads with a lower speed limit).

Recently published data from a new research conducted by Aviva, shows 83% of drivers do not concentrate during car journeys, with 38% of them experiencing a near-miss and 16% being involved in a collision after not fully focusing behind the wheel.

According to the study by Aviva, drivers tend to be more complacent on familiar routes: when they plan new routes and drive on unfamiliar roads they tend to focus more.

If you deal with Health and Safety management within your fleet, we strongly recommend you pay some attention to these statistics in order to raise awareness on the issue of distracted driving, speeding and near-misses for the benefit of driver safety and that of other road users.

 

Building the case for fleet safety: the video

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Topics: Safety

Fleet management software installations up 200% in 2016 — 16m more vehicles by 2020

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 30, 2016 10:00:00 AM

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Two recent researches conducted in the field of fleet management software have revealed some interesting statistics about the number of fleet management software installations and the rapid growth in the use of fleet telematics.

The RAC telematics report prepared by the UK based vehicle and breakdown services provider surveyed 1,000 UK businesses between September 2015 and April 2016, while the second source for the data is the Berg Insight research, carried out by the M2M/IoT market research firm based in Sweden.

According to the RAC, the number of UK-based businesses relying on telematics and fleet management software has almost doubled since last year:

 

  • 65% of the businesses surveyed now use telematics (38% during last year)

 

  • Corporate sector usage has gone from 29% to 67%

 

  • Interviewees cited lower fuel costs, fewer accidents and reductions in maintenance costs as some of the benefits gained through acquiring the technology

 

A growing number of users who acquire fleet management software soon see beyond the shadow of the Big Brother stigma surrounding telematics technology and focus on the benefits of the innovative technology. Companies quickly realise the benefits and are keen to exploit all the various advantages such as the ability to automate manual processes, greater insights from the new data available, vehicle diagnostics, ‘vehicle connectivity’, assistance with duty of care and an increase in accident management technology.

The future is here and, according to the report by Berg Insight, it is catching on fast as the number of fleet management systems installed looks set to top 16 million by 2020.

Fleet management systems are now viewed as must-have tools, rather than an 'optional extra', which leverage vehicles' 'connectivity' to help enterprises collect information about their fleets of cars and trucks including their location, speed, and routes.

The mentality regarding telematics has changed over time together with the technology itself and the automotive sector: over the past year, there has been a significant uptick in the number of connected cars on the road. And as Internet integration becomes more commonplace, the automobile as we know it will transform. Over the next five to ten years, this newfound integration is expected to change the car ownership model, create a new platform for consumers to access content, lead to fully autonomous vehicles and revolutionize the auto industry.

Discover our fleet management software! Get a free demo!

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Topics: fleet managament

Fleet vehicle management: what is behind the scenes of Rio 2016?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 25, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Fleet vehicle management is not just the preserve of logistics companies but often makes an appearance in other sectors and fields that you might not necessarily be aware of, such as a major event requiring planning and organisation… and one of the major events, if not the biggest highlight of this summer, is the Olympic Games.

Despite Rio 2016 concluding last weekend, we still remember the achievements of our sports heroes along with all the emotions and memories—presenting the perfect opportunity to discuss the Olympic fleet!

The event is in fact not just about marshalling all the different sporting events, but a huge number of staff operate the Olympic vehicles and are also in charge of transit control, emergency and contingencies.

Earlier, during July, the Japanese car manufacturer Nissan supplied 4200 vehicles to the Olympics Committee—the delivery was made official by a ceremony held in the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro. The Olympic fleet featured cars from various categories and sizes to ensure comfort and best use across many different activities. According to official sources, the vehicles were used for transporting thousands of athletes, delegation members, guests, and also for supporting operational activities relating to some of the competitions. They were driven by volunteers selected by the Organizing Committee.

Here is one image of some of the vehicles from the Rio 2016 fleet:

Some of the cars of Rio 2016 Olympics fleetPhoto Credit: © Rio 2016 - https://www.rio2016.com/en/news/rio-2016-takes-delivery-of-4-200-nissan-vehicles-for-olympic-and-paralympic-games

Well before the start of the Olympic games, the Organising Committee produced some official documents on the sustainability and carbon footprint management of the event, which detailed the main measures used to reduce the environmental impact of the games:

 

  • Provide public transport for spectators and the labour force
  • Implement actions to reduce pollution, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in public transport systems
  • Operate the Olympic and Paralympic fleet using cleaner fuels
  • Rationalise and optimise logistics operations in the transportation of materials and equipment

 

 

With no surprise from us, this was one of the core principles proposed by the committee to reduce their carbon emissions (taken from Rio 2016 sustainability management plan):

“Decrease emissions at the source, lowering total fuel consumption through measures such as giving priority to fuel efficient vehicles, using tires with proper rolling resistance and providing driver training in techniques of economic vehicle operation.”

 

In order to live up to this proposal, the committee adopted a Fleet Software Platform integrated into their Control Centre, which was also able to provide a unified view of traffic information throughout Rio (traffic is a considerable issue in Brazil).

Do you want to reduce fuel consumption, train your drivers to be more efficient and become the next Olympic champion of fleet management?

I think you know what you have to do...

Be the next champion of fleet management! Request a free demo of SynX!

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Topics: Fleet Management, News, Stats & Facts

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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