Are you managing a fleet — or planning to build one from scratch? Your goal is to control costs and boost efficiency without sacrificing quality service. 

Today there’s a wealth of information, technology, and services available to improve the performance management of your fleet. In this article we discuss the following operational hacks: 

  • Leasing vehicles to become more flexible
  • Using fuel cards to monitor fuel consumption/running costs
  • Integrating AI into operations to improve delivery speed

As part of the ever-evolving transport industry, your fleet must be nimble, adaptable, and efficient. Read on as we explore some justifiable investment opportunities to ensure the future profitability of your fleet business. 

Leasing vehicles makes your operation more adaptable

Aside from your drivers, vehicles are your fleet’s most valuable asset; they also come at a great financial expense, especially if you buy them outright. 

Be it a long haul truck or metropolitan scooter, when qualifying vehicles for your fleet, first consider commercial requirements, repair costs, value depreciation, and any other long term implications. 

Identifying the right vehicle is the first step of efficient fleet management, obtaining them for a sensible and profitable price is the second. With the latter in mind, you should seriously consider the potential benefits of leasing over buying. 

Leasing is often one of the most business-savvy moves a fleet company can make. It means you avoid paying irregular lump sums in favour of smaller, more controlled instalments. 

One downside of leasing is you’ll never own a particular vehicle, but in this lies opportunities to be more adaptable, given you won’t be stranded with inoperable transport when mechanical issues strike or operational demand inevitably changes. 

Still thinking of buying? Here are some upsides of leasing that could sway your opinion: 

  • Valuable industry insight: when leasing you’ll be using another company to get your vehicles. The most trusted lease companies have been around for a long time and seen it all, you can use their expertise to find solutions and navigate around issues. 
  • Adaptable operations: leasing is a short term commitment, meaning you won’t be locked in for the long term. This is ideal for planning for the short term in times of change or uncertainty. 
  • Keeping up with the latest tech: blink and you’ll miss it. Leasing allows you to routinely upgrade to the latest models — and with a global shift to EVs on the horizon, this is a big benefit to shore up the future of your business. 

Purchasing your fleet isn’t always possible, plus it likely isn’t the most efficient way of operating your company. Leasing helps you adapt to current issues and plan for the future, so it’s worth considering if you want to be more efficient. 

Fuel cards help fleet managers monitor fuel costs

With a number of vehicles on the road at one time, fuel is the most detrimental (yet seemingly inevitable) running cost your fleet business faces. 

Fuel prices fluctuate wildly in tandem with the world economy, occasionally you’ll be pleasantly surprised and walk away with a small win; other times you’ll be left scratching your head at the receipt. 

One way to mediate/monitor the unpredictability of fuel prices is through the use of fuel cards — a credit card used to pay for fuel. These tools, though innocuous in appearance, integrate seamlessly into your fleet operation and pack a punch when it comes to saving time, money, and hassle.  

Running your fleet in an efficient way starts with controlling fuel costs — and fuel cards offer digital and practical applications like a swiss army knife for reducing such a pressing burden. 

Struggling to see the point? Here are a few benefits that could change your mind: 

  • Key data informs decisions: the telematics provided in fleet management apps boost business efficiency and allow you to manage a fleet of any size. You can use this data to monitor the frequency of fuel stops and plan journeys to reduce them. 
  • Reduce admin tasks: admin work is an inevitable byproduct of running any business, but with fuel cards, you can reduce non-billable tasks to a bare minimum. Fuel cards produce digital receipts, which double up as an HMRC approved invoice, meaning you can easily claim back VAT on fuel without wasting time. 
  • Discounted fuel: many fuel providers offer a slight discount to fleet companies through the use of a fuel card. Although it’s often small, when applied to a large scale operation it makes a big difference.

Though a small change, there is plenty of value in using a fuel card. They boost transparency and help your fleet business navigate the proverbial minefield that is rising fuel prices. 

Integrated AI software improves tracking and delivery speed

One recurring issue bound to face any budding fleet managers is the lack of oversight they can afford drivers out on the road. 

With deliveries and services taking place all over the country (and sometimes the globe) your blind spot spans throughout your entire company. Therefore, being able to track your fleet out on the open road is an absolute must. 

But can you go one better? Many established fleet companies are adopting artificial intelligence to not only track remote tasks, but also improve efficiency, safety, and overall drive time. 

It’s a lesser-known factoid UPS trucks never make a right or left turn depending on what side of the road your country drives on, but this isn’t some mere quirk, the company uses navigation software known as ORION (On-Road Integrated Operation Navigation) to plan out the most optimum routes for its drivers.  

Using artificial intelligence and historical delivery data, ORION identifies that UPS trucks should avoid turning into oncoming traffic when making a delivery, suggesting it wastes time and the shortest route is rarely the most efficient

In the future AI navigation systems like ORION are likely to become more widespread across fleet businesses. While you probably cannot afford the investment right now, it’s certainly worth having this on your radar. 

Leasing, fuel management & tracking: how you can boost efficiency in your fleet business is more plentiful and varied than ever before. It’s clear the transport industry is improving through rapid innovation year on year, but remember to never sacrifice the quality of your service.