Sustainability is a popular topic these days, and for good reason: with rising fuel costs, shifting weather patterns, and changes in our global climate, fleet managers have an opportunity to be leaders in the business world by making shifts toward sustainability that can help improve inefficiencies, lower costs, and align with changing sensibilities about the way we use our planet's limited resources.
By establishing clear objectives and planning for challenges that may arise, fleet managers can attain fleet operations that are both effective and sustainable. By ensuring that their fleet is environmentally friendly and efficient, fleet managers can help reduce maintenance costs while also protecting the environment.
There are many fleet management strategies that fleet managers can use to create a sustainable fleet strategy, a number of which are discussed below.
If you want to learn more about the basics, you can read all about it in our article “How Does Fleet Management Work?”
The following steps will help you, as a fleet manager, focus on fleet sustainability. As you can imagine, each of these steps requires changes to your internal best practices that can be simplified with a full-scale telematics fleet management system.
Idling increases fuel consumption and produces harmful emissions, contributing to air pollution and climate change. On average, idling burns about a half-gallon of gas per hour. And that's not all: Idling also shortens engine life because it puts extra stress on engine parts, taking longer to warm up and leaving fuel residue behind. The best way to avoid all of these problems is to reduce vehicle idling whenever possible by turning off your engines when fleet vehicles are not moving.
Fleet managers have a unique opportunity to reduce their fleet's environmental impact by optimizing their delivery routes.
Routing optimization can be accomplished in several ways, but the most effective method is through the use of telematics. By tracking driver behavior and monitoring maintenance schedules, fleet managers can optimize their routes to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
In addition to reducing emissions, routing optimization can also save fleet managers money. By reducing the amount of time drivers spend at stoplights or waiting for customers, fleet managers can minimize the amount of fuel wasted and hourly wages paid for sitting still.
Telematics are used to track and manage fleet data in a number of ways. By tracking driver behavior, fleet managers can identify areas where individual drivers can improve their efficiency, as well as identify standard fleet procedures that require an overhaul.
Overall, telematics provides fleet managers with a wealth of data that can be used to improve fleet sustainability. With telematics, fleet managers have the ability to track everything from driver behavior to hours of service.
Fleet managers can use telematics to track driver behavior and identify areas where individual drivers can make their fleet more sustainable. In addition, fleet managers can use telematics to monitor maintenance schedules, which can help prevent costly repairs and keep vehicles running smoothly.
Easily adjusted behaviors such as unnecessarily quick acceleration, overspeeding, heavy braking, and inefficient route planning all contribute to waste and emissions, and a telematics system provides tangible information about where to improve.
Fleet managers can also save money and improve sustainability by monitoring their vehicles' maintenance schedules and ensuring that each vehicle is running in top condition with updated fleet management software.
Regular preventative maintenance helps keep vehicles running smoothly and prevents costly repairs down the road. By using these automated integrations, fleet managers can ensure that their vehicles are always running as efficiently as possible.
Fleet managers can implement a number of different initiatives to improve fleet sustainability, but it is essential that fleet drivers and operators are properly educated about these initiatives and how their efforts can effect a positive change.
One way fleet managers can educate fleet operators and drivers is by using telematics to track driver behavior. By tracking driver behavior, fleet managers can identify areas where individual drivers can improve their efficiency, as well as identify standard fleet procedures that require an overhaul.
As you make the shift towards focusing on fleet sustainability, encourage your operators to join you in the journey. As conversations about emissions and ethical consumption continue to take center stage, your drivers will be happy to be at the front of the change.
If sustainability is something that calls to you, there are countless grassroots and long-established advocacy groups that are always looking for new contributors with different perspectives. Contact your local representatives and let them know about the changes you are making in your fleet and how important this shift is for your business and the future of a livable planet.
Fleet managers can take a number of steps to downsize — or right-size — their fleet.
The first step is to evaluate your needs and determine exactly what you need your fleet to do. Once you have a clear idea of your requirements, you can begin to pare down the fleet to only the vehicles that are necessary.
Next, look for ways to consolidate trips and optimize routes. This can be done by using telematics to track driver behavior and identify areas where drivers can improve their efficiency.
Another important aspect of creating a sustainable fleet strategy is choosing the right vehicles for your fleet. When choosing vehicles, fleet managers should consider a variety of factors, including the following:
Fuel efficiency is an important metric to consider when choosing and replacing vehicles for your fleet. The fuel efficiency of a vehicle directly impacts the number of emissions it produces, as well as the amount of money spent on fuel.
In addition to being harmful to the environment, emissions from fleet vehicles can also be subject to regulations. As such, fleet managers should choose vehicles that produce low emissions in order to avoid costly fines and penalties.
Alternative fuel options such as electric vehicles are also becoming increasingly popular among fleet managers. Electric vehicles have a number of advantages over traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, including lower emissions, cheaper operating costs, and government incentives.
Fleet sustainability is a tangible and realistic goal, but it can be difficult to achieve. There are a number of challenges fleet managers face when trying to create a sustainable fleet, including the following:
Making the shift towards fleet sustainability can be difficult, especially if many of your operators and drivers are not on board with the change. In order to make significant progress, it is important that everyone in the fleet is on board with the goals of fleet sustainability. Proper education and possibly incentivizing high performers are two great ways to lead this shift in consciousness.
Another challenge fleet managers face is finding vehicles that are both efficient and environmentally friendly. While fuel efficiency and low emissions are important factors to consider when choosing vehicles, these factors are not always easy to find in one package.
Finally, fleet managers often face difficulties in implementing sustainable fleet strategies due to a lack of funding. Sustainability initiatives can be expensive, and many fleet managers do not have the budget to make significant changes to their fleets. However, there are a number of ways to finance fleet sustainability initiatives, such as government incentives and private grants.
Despite the challenges, fleet sustainability is a realistic and honorable goal. With the right planning and implementation, any fleet manager can create a sustainable fleet strategy that will reduce emissions, save money, and improve the environment. Contact MiX Telematics to learn more about creating a fleet policy that will help achieve compliance, improve safety, and reduce cost.