Fleet Efficiency: How to Improve & Maintain It

In the trucking and transportation industry, few things are as important as fleet efficiency, and for good reason. From a financial standpoint alone, an inefficient fleet is almost certain to have a negative impact on your bottom line. Plus, if you’re not operating your fleet efficiently, word will get out and you’ll probably have trouble attracting new customers – and keeping the ones you already have. Therefore, it’s no wonder that fleet managers spend so much time and energy on this very important topic.

In this blog, we’ll cover:

  • What is fleet efficiency?
  • How is fleet efficiency measured?
  • How to improve and maintain fleet efficiency
  • How to get help from the fleet efficiency experts

What is Fleet Efficiency?

Fleet efficiency is all about streamlining your processes and operations with a focus on getting maximum output from minimum input. Essentially, it all boils down to finding the answer to this question: how can I get the most bang for my buck? 

How is Fleet Efficiency Measured?

There are a variety of ways to measure fleet efficiency and when combined, they can give fleet managers a clear picture of where improvements need to be made. 

One key metric of fleet efficiency is fuel economy, which refers to how much energy a vehicle can extract from fuel. Many factors can influence fuel economy ranging from driver behavior to the age of the vehicle to the condition of the tires. With the cost of fuel representing as much as 60 percent of a fleet’s total operating budget, it’s critical that fleet managers keep an eye on fuel economy.

Asset utilization is another important piece of the fleet efficiency puzzle. Having too many vehicles in your fleet can lead to excessive costs related to maintenance and upkeep while having too few can hurt your ability to serve your customers. That’s why fleet managers must monitor the size of their fleets along with the location of their vehicles and their drivers to ensure they’re utilizing their assets to their fullest potential. 

Finally, fleet managers should also be looking at fleet productivity. Are drivers taking efficient routes to make deliveries, and making more than one delivery per trip? Are they avoiding high-traffic areas that can cause them to idle and waste time – and fuel? Are they stopping for long periods of time during their shift for no apparent reason? All of these things can affect fleet productivity.


How to Improve & Maintain Fleet Efficiencydoor repair

Fleet Management Systems

Investing in fleet management software is one of the best decisions a fleet manager can make in regard to improving fleet efficiency. With the click of a button, fleet managers can run dozens of reports on everything from driver behavior to fuel usage. They can then analyze that information to identify inefficiencies and make changes when necessary.

Automate Processes

Thanks to fleet management software, the days of tedious data entry are over. Now, fleet managers can automatically generate reports and reminders based on odometer readings, maintenance schedules and miles traveled, ensuring that their fleet is up and running at maximum efficiency at all times.

Vehicle & Driver Monitoring

Your drivers are the lifeblood of your operation and they play a major role in your efficiency – and your reputation. If they’re not driving safely, they’re a risk not only to themselves but also to other motorists. By utilizing fleet management software with GPS functionality and sensors, you can track both the exact location of your vehicles and behavior of your drivers. Are they tailgating and then braking suddenly? Driving too fast for conditions? Not wearing seatbelts? 

If so, your software can alert you in real-time and can even notify the driver when they’re doing something that’s against the rules. Additionally, you can use this information to implement safety programs and training courses to help improve driver behavior.

Analyze Monthly Performance

The best way to see where improvements need to be made is by comparing your performance month over month. When you look at your data this way, you can begin to identify patterns that can help inform your decisions going forward. 

For example, you may notice more accidents occurring in the winter months when roads are slick and as a result, you can opt to offer more training for driving in poor weather. Or perhaps there are certain events that can cause heavy traffic during certain times of the year. By using the data you’ve collected, you can create alternate routes for drivers so they’re not wasting time sitting in a line of backed-up vehicles.

Track Fuel Consumption

As we mentioned above, fuel costs are a huge expense for anyone who owns a fleet and that’s why tracking fuel consumption is so important for fleet efficiency. This is another area where driver performance comes into play. When analyzing driver data, look at how long they’re idling, whether they’re maintaining a stable speed and if they’re using cruise control. 

All of these things can impact fuel consumption and by making sure drivers know the proper protocols, you can greatly improve your fuel efficiency – and your efficiency in general.

Preventative Maintenance & Vehicle UpkeepTechnician working on engine

No matter how diligent fleet managers are, there’s no way to prevent every problem from occurring. However, having a thorough fleet maintenance plan in place is a great way to protect your fleet from inefficiencies related to mechanical issues. 

The first thing you want to do is to create a detailed inventory of your entire fleet that includes the service and repair history for each vehicle you own or lease. Then, you can use your fleet maintenance software to create a maintenance schedule and checklist to ensure that pumps, tires, filters, hoses, and heating and air conditioning systems are being serviced on a regular basis. 

You can even set up your software to send you alerts in real-time if something goes wrong. By taking good care of your fleet, you’re taking a huge step toward improving your fleet’s efficiency.


Get help from the fleet efficiency experts

Want to make your fleet more efficient but are unsure where to start? Don’t worry – the Blaine Brothers team is here to help. 

Our experienced fleet management professionals are 100 percent committed to providing high-quality, customized services at competitive prices to companies of all sizes and after more than 40 years of service across the upper midwest, we understand the unique needs of the trucking and transportation community better than just about anyone else. 

From preventative maintenance services to general fleet expertise, we’ve got you covered no matter where your journey takes you. Contact us today and experience the Blaine Brothers difference.

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