One way to save fuel that’s often missed
Most fleet managers know that a major operating cost is fuel. For the average fleet it accounts for around 30% of their total expenses and so it’s no wonder that managers and operation managers are always interested in knowing how to use less fuel.
One method of saving fuel that doesn’t involve keeping tires properly inflated or keeping to the speed limit is monitoring fuel theft. Obviously if fuel is being stolen from company vehicles, that will impact negative on your overall economy, regardless of how neatly your vehicles are being driven!
One reason fuel theft is often overlooked is simply that managers find it too hard to monitor or detect in a timely fashion, and thus prevent it from happening.
Some fleet managers have gone to the extent of adding dye to the fuel tanks or installing an extensive array of monitored security cameras. But that can become very time-consuming particularly with a large fleet.
There is a better way.
Why traditional systems don’t work
When installing any new business process or system, it’s important to ask yourself whether it’s scalable. Scalable means the system will work effectively with five vehicles or 500. Or 50,000. Employing a process that will only work for a small fleet will give you grief down the track when your fleet inevitably grows.
Another requirement is the system has to be able to be used by any authorized staff member. A system that is only operated by one person or exists only in one person’s head creates a security risk for the company, allowing for fraudulent activity. In situations where only one person knows the system also creates problems when that person leaves or is promoted.
Telogis® Fleet™ is web-based software that can track fuel use, fuel card use, and fuel economy, for all vehicles. Data on miles driven and vehicle use is securely stored and available to any authorized user with an internet connection.
A secure web-based system is scalable and secure, making sure that your fleet operations are not exposed to the risk of manipulation, corruption or fraud by dishonest staff.
Using fleet management software to eliminate fuel theft
There are a number of metrics you can use to detect abnormal fuel use (i.e. fuel theft!).
- Expected fuel economy for vehicle type
- Actual miles driven (or engine hours)
- Expected fuel consumption (expected economy x vehicle use)
- Actual fuel consumption using fuel purchase information (imported automatically from your billing system using the Telogis API feature)
Using this data, you can then compare actual fuel consumed with what was expected for this vehicle. Armed with this information you can run a report that checks vehicles are only consuming fuel within an expected range.
Running a report such as this can alert you to exceptions amongst your fleet, allowing you to identify specific vehicles that may be losing valuable fuel to thieves.
If you suspect it may be an ‘inside’ job being committed by current employees, proceed carefully. It would be sensible to enlist the assistance of your human resources department or contact an employment lawyer who can help.
If your company deems it appropriate you may make it publicly known to your drivers that fuel use is tracked thus discouraging any dishonest behavior.
By minimizing fuel theft, or eliminating it completely, your fleet will be operating a lot more profitability and that’s great news for your bottom line.