“A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.”
— attributed to Sen. Everett Dirksen (R-IL)
Whether Senator Dirksen actually ever said the above, this quote resonates. Where Dirksen’s wry observation was about government spending (he cut his teeth during FDR’s New Deal), a small businessman might read that quote and think of savings.
Fleet management software saved the companies below thousands, often millions, of dollars, and it can save your fleet money, too. Read on to learn about just how they did it, and how you can do it too.
Though an idling truck may make for soothing white noise (this is real?), it can also waste fuel. How much? By one estimate, three billion gallons a year. I don’t even want to multiply that number by the current price per gallon of diesel fuel. The amount of money would be obscene.
Reduce idling, reduce fuel spend. It’s like the new “save the cheerleader, save the world.”
Comcast partnered with fleet software giant Fleetmatics to help monitor idling. Thanks to the insight from Fleetmatics’ software, Comcast “was able to save several million dollars each month.”
Even if you’re not a giant like Comcast, reducing idling can still save money. New England-based Crown Uniform and Linen Service saved “between $1,500 and $2,000 per month” on fuel by cutting idling about an hour a day with the help of fleet software provider Geotab.
Most drivers and fleet managers want to reduce sudden braking. Why? Here are some reasons:
The health of the drivers is, of course, the first thing to worry about in the above accidents. But they’re not the only concern.
Every one of those crashes means hundreds, more often thousands, of dollars on repairs, higher insurance premiums, not to mention asset downtime when a truck’s off the road for repairs. There’s also the matter of legal fees, should another driver sue, as well as the drop in revenue that comes when the media covers one of your totalled trucks on the road.
Prefer some hard data? The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) “calculated that the average commercial vehicle crash, resulting in property damage only, cost $18,000; a cost that varies by vehicle size (for CEI, in 2014, the average repair bill for client Class 3-6 vehicles was $2,900).” If, God forbid, someone dies in the accident, the average cost is $7.2 million, or Barack Obama’s estimated net worth.
My point with the horror stories? You can track behaviors like sudden braking with fleet management software, and correct drivers before it comes to the point of accidents.
You can program fleet software to keep an eye on behaviors like harsh braking, sudden acceleration, or breaking the speed limit. Drivers, too, can use the software to check their own behaviors: “Software can be configured to audibly alert drivers when they trigger an event (e.g., speed approaches or passes the posted speed limit) so the driver can immediately self-correct the behavior.” There’s already hesitation among some drivers over the “Big Brother” aspect of having their driving tracked. If they can track their own performance, however, software will seem less invasive and more proactive.
It takes maybe six or seven minutes to go a mile on the highway, and, as of my writing this, it costs about $2.19. Cut that each day from your fleet, like UPS did, and it can add up to millions.
Fifty million dollars, to be exact. That’s the savings a Wall Street Journal article estimated for UPS from “reducing by one mile the average aggregated daily travel of its drivers.” UPS’s proprietary fleet tracking software program, Orion, is what calculates those reductions.
UPS expects the savings from Orion to run up to “$300 million to $400 million a year” once the program’s completely set up by 2017.
Even though Orion is specific to UPS, the way it optimizes routes is a feature of many fleet management software programs. Route optimization looks at the potential paths your drivers could take, and determines the best one. Those best routes may only save a few cents per trip, but 365 days of those cents-savings can add up.
Route optimization can add up for other parts of your business, too. Jeff Barnes of WastePro USA credits his route optimization software with helping him “make very expensive add or remove truck decisions.” If three trucks’ routes are better optimized, you may not need a fourth.
Manage Your Assets
“Let the data drive the decision to replace a truck,” suggests Peter Flynn of Fleet Advantage. With the right fleet maintenance software program, available data can tell you when you need repairs, when warranties are about to run out, and when a vehicle may have changed from an asset to a liability.
Trying to keep track of a fleet of vehicles with an Excel spreadsheet is heroic, but futile. Even if you succeed, it’s a pyrrhic effort at worst, and a John Henry-like endeavor at best. Tracking things like “maintenance and accident repairs, normal scheduled maintenance, tires, and other maintenance curves” with software, however, isn’t a frustrating final result. It’s a comparatively easy start to deciding which trucks to keep.
How has fleet management software saved you money?
Got a great example of how fleet management software saved your company money? Let me know in the comments below!
Better yet, people buy software the way they look for restaurants on Yelp: with reviews. Leave your own on your favorite software vendor’s page in the fleet management software directory.
Looking for Fleet Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Fleet Management software solutions.