Fleet man­age­ment sys­tems can re­duce ex­penses

Finweek English Edition - - Focus On Fleet Management -

THE SOUTH AFRICAN mar­ket is un­der enor­mous pres­sure as world economies con­tinue to show signs of weak­ness and dis­pos­able in­comes are be­ing stretched to the limit. High in­ter­est rates and fuel prices add to fi­nan­cial pres­sures fac­ing the com­mer­cial world as well the con­sumer.

One of the most com­mon com­plaints is ex­ces­sive fuel cost – a grow­ing bur­den on eet own­ers and those us­ing their ser­vices. Yet few com­pa­nies know and un­der­stand the signi cant im­pact driver be­hav­iour can have on fuel con­sump­tion and how get­ting driv­ers to mod­ify and im­prove their driv­ing style can re­sult in signi cant sav­ings and other far-reach­ing bene ts.

Charles Tasker, MD of MiX Telem­at­ics (In­ter­na­tional), says fuel is widely re­garded as the sec­ond high­est ex­pense in any eet man­age­ment op­er­a­tion. “In­creas­ingly, com­pa­nies that op­er­ate large num­bers of ve­hi­cles are turn­ing to eet man­age­ment tech­nol­ogy to re­duce the waste­ful con­sump­tion of fuel,” Tasker says. “Var­i­ous ve­hi­cle mon­i­tor sys­tems have proved it’s usu­ally the driver’s be­hav­iour (not the ve­hi­cle it­self ) that re­sults in ex­ces­sive and need­less fuel con­sump­tion. Bad driv­ing tech­niques in­clude speed­ing, harsh brak­ing and ac­cel­er­a­tion, pro­longed idling and driv­ing out of gen­eral rate per minute (RPM) thresh­olds.”

Tasker says eet man­age­ment so­lu­tions such as those pro­vided by MiX Telem­at­ics pro­vide tools for com­pa­nies to mon­i­tor and re­port on each in­di­vid­ual driver’s be­hav­iour and high­light vi­o­la­tions. “For ex­am­ple, our MiX’s FM Com­mu­ni­ca­tor on-board com­puter records data – such as driver vi­o­la­tions – in each ve­hi­cle through­out a eet, feed­ing it back to the driver and the eet man­ager in real-time where nec­es­sary. Fuel con­sump­tion data is recorded along­side trip data, thus pro­vid­ing an ob­jec­tive and ac­cu­rate cor­re­la­tion be­tween driv­ing be­hav­iour and fuel e4­ciency.”

Af­ter an ex­ten­sive eld trial, MiX Telem­at­ics re­cently se­cured a large con­tract to pro­vide their ser­vices to a large Bri­tish-based bus com­pany, af­ter sav­ing it in ex­cess of 10% of its fuel bill. Other clients have ex­pe­ri­enced the same suc­cess, with some achiev­ing sav­ings of up to 15% of their fuel bill. Sav­ings in main­te­nance and re­pairs were also noted.

“Bet­ter driv­ing re­sults in re­duced fuel con­sump­tion as well as lower main­te­nance costs (through re­duced ve­hi­cle abuse), thus eet man­age­ment tech­nol­ogy – ap­plied and man­aged cor­rectly – can bring about tan­gi­ble nan­cial bene ts to busi­nesses, “ says Tasker.

“Fur­ther­more, the bene ts of bet­ter driv­ing are far broader than the sav­ings in op­er­a­tional costs. It dra­mat­i­cally in­creases the safety of the driver, pas­sen­gers and other road users.”

The de­mand and need for eet man­age­ment so­lu­tions are likely to grow in tan­dem with fuel in­creases. Such tech­nol­ogy forms an in­te­gral part of sen­si­ble and cost-e4­cient busi­ness prac­tice through­out SA.

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