The environmental impact of a commercial fleet can be a significant issue for businesses in any sector. No matter the size of a fleet, the goal of reducing its environmental impact has now become high on the list of priorities for fleet managers around the world.
One way to reduce a fleets impact on the environment, which has shown to deliver results, is installing vehicle tracking technology across a fleet. This allows fleet managers to gain a far greater understanding of exactly how their fleet is operating and where improvements can be made. There are three main areas where fleet managers have used vehicle tracking to great effect to reduce both individual vehicle’s and the collective fleet’s environmental impact.
One of the most significant gains in improving a commercial fleets environmental impact is reducing the fuel usage of individual drivers. In both small and large commercial fleets, there will naturally be drivers who are more fuel-efficient when operating their vehicle than others. Vehicle tracking allows fleet managers to identify drivers who are using higher amounts of fuel than is needed for the journeys they’re making.
There are several actions which contribute to high fuel usage. The most common are speeding, allowing the engine to idle when the vehicle is stationary, harsh acceleration and harsh braking. All of these factors increase the amount of fuel any vehicle will use.
Fleet managers can monitor and improve this behaviour in two important ways. Firstly, vehicle tracking systems installed in commercial vehicles gather data measuring the frequency of the actions mentioned above. Fleet managers can then identify drivers whose numbers are higher than they should be and design training to help them drive more economically, and reduce their fuel usage.
The second way driver’s behaviour can be improved to save fuel is through the installation of in-cab coaching devices. These systems monitor the actions mentioned above, which contribute to high fuel usage and alert drivers whenever they are, for example, letting their engine idle. Drivers receive audio and visual feedback to alert them to these actions and allow them to self-correct their own driving style. If drivers aren’t able to self-correct, fleet managers still have access to the data and can help their drivers with further training.
Routes and closest driver
A key factor in improving fuel efficiency, and therefore the environmental impact of a fleet, is the routes a vehicle is taking each day. Companies operating a commercial fleet may have to plan new routes each day or take the same route often as part of a supply chain.
In either case, making sure the route is as fuel-efficient as possible is vital. Historical and live data collected from vehicle tracking along with online maps allows fleet managers to plan which routes are best for their drivers to take. It’s often not as simple as setting the route with the shortest distance between point A and B, as historical data may show traffic congestion in specific areas at certain times of the day. Areas like this should be avoided and planning a route which may be in theory longer, can actually work out to be faster along with more fuel-efficient.
Another feature of vehicle tracking, which is particularly beneficial to businesses operating fleets where drivers are required to respond to an issue or sudden change in schedule, is the ability to see the live location of every vehicle in the fleet. Because of this, a fleet manager can quickly determine which driver is best placed to respond to an issue, such as a vehicle breakdown. This not only provides better customer service, as the person requiring assistance isn’t made to wait longer than necessary but also saves fuel as a driver who is much further away isn’t being called when one closer could respond.
Keeping vehicles running at their best
Whenever aiming to improve the environmental efficiency of a fleet, it’s crucial to ensure each vehicle is operating at its best. This can be as simple as making sure the tires are inflated to the correct pressure, to more complicated engineering processes. Vehicle tracking allows fleet managers to gain detailed insights into the workings of their vehicles and maintain these elements.
Overall, vehicle tracking has demonstrated an ability to significantly reduce the environmental impact of running a commercial fleet. This is not only highly beneficial to the planet, as the impact of operating a commercial fleet is reduced, but also beneficial to the company as well. It allows them to save money which can be invested back into the business, in some cases replacing older and less efficient vehicles with newer models to generate even more savings, both financial and environmental.