14 avr 20

How telematics can cut fuel bills

Tracking driver behaviour and routes provides the evidence for improving fuel economy and more efficient journeys.

The return on investment in telematics can start almost immediately thanks to improvements in fleet fuel economy.

While lower collision rates and cheaper insurance costs typically provide the foundation for most business plans in favour of telematics, there are also major financial gains to be achieved by encouraging more fuel efficient driving styles.

As one multi-national fleet director told Fleet Europe: “When drivers don’t pay for fuel it’s easy to have aggressive driving behaviour.”

Cut harsh acceleration

Identifying and reducing incidents of harsh acceleration can significantly lower fuel consumption while improving the safety of the driver. Some fleets are using this data to create league tables of driver performance, with prizes or awards for the best performers, giving drivers an incentive to engage with company programmes.

In the car and van arena, combining fuel card information with telematics data about routes and driving styles can help fleets to shrink their carbon footprints, which is a key target for many multinational organisations.

Schindler, for example, which provides elevators, escalators, and moving walkways has set itself the ambitious goal of achieving a 25% reduction by 2022 in its vehicle fleet CO2 emissions, in relation to its revenue, compared to its levels in 2017.

Guillaume de Subercasaux, Global Category Manager Indirect Spend, Schindler, said: “Telematics is not only about money, but also about improving the safety of our drivers and being a greener company. How do we do that? By driving fewer kilometres with better fuel economy.”

Schindler drivers identified as having a driving style that leads to higher fuel consumption may be directed towards eco or defensive driver training to help the company achieve its environmental objectives.

Avoid unnecessary kilometres

For logistics giant UPS, the greenest mile is the mile not driven. The company’s ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimisation and Navigation) system uses algorithms, artificial intelligence and machine learning to route and re-route its couriers throughout the day, avoiding congestion and providing pinpoint accuracy in its directions not just to addresses, but to specific package drop-off and pickup locations that may not be visible from the street.

This focus on maximum efficiency is saving UPS about 100million miles (160m km) and 10million gallons (38m litres) of fuel per year across Europe, the US and Canada.

Make fuel reporting simpler

Productivity gains are achievable elsewhere, too, by combining fuel card spend with route tracking data. Lavazza Professional, which has 80 company cars for its technicians and sales team, has freed up employee time through its new Trakm8 telematics system.

Keeley Mayne, Area Service Manager for Lavazza Professional, said: “The reduced time it takes to do fuel reporting has made a major impact on our business.”

At the start of each trip, drivers now log the journey as either business or private mileage on an app and then submit their data in seconds at the end of the month. Previously their individual fuel reports took about an hour to compile.

“That is a massive productivity boost – it means each of our engineers can complete an additional service call per month, because they are not messing around with spreadsheets,” said Mayne. “From an efficiency point of view it is saving us a huge amount of time and the engineers can focus on the job we want them to do, rather than administrative work on mileage.”

And in the back office it now takes Lavazza Professional just 15 minutes to produce a fuel report for the whole company, compared to a full day under its old system.

Five ways to cut fuel bills with telematics
  1. Use vehicle tracking to identify drivers who exceed the speed limit, then introduce them to eco-driver training techniques.
  2. Track incidents of excessive acceleration, which wastes fuel and increases risk, and coach drivers to behave less aggressively.
  3. Integrate live traffic information with route planning to avoid time and fuel lost in congestion.
  4. Use geo-location to deploy vehicles closest to customers, reducing total kilometres driven.
  5. Give drivers an app that lets them itemise journeys as business or private, and then measure each journey precisely so fuel cost reimbursement is only made for actual business miles driven.

Image copyright: Shutterstock

Authored by: Jonathan Manning