In the recent post “The Fleet Managers Guide to Better Cost Containment,” best practices and fundamentals of cost containment that have existed for years were discussed. This article builds on those best practices in a way that has been made possible only recently, particularly with the unparalleled growth of digital technology.
The Power of Technology
Hard copy logs, journals, bills, and receipts are now well on their way to obsolescence. It was not until the mid-1980s that the availability of fax machines moved fleet management into the emerging information age. No longer would management and accounting have to wait for trip reports to record and analyze expenses versus budgets. Where fax machines were available, drivers had the ability to transmit documents once a day. What a convenience that was!
The Power of Digital Technology
Digital technology is the world of “You haven’t seen anything yet.” It enables fleet managers and drivers to be in touch with nearly anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time – instantaneously. While this connectedness is a mere convenience for the average person, its real power is being unleashed in the commercial realm. Sales and marketing may be the most discussed applications of digital technology, but the greater potential for profitability is the real-time transfer of corporate operational information.
The Potential for Greater Profitability
Real-time information communication provides several opportunities for managing fuel systems far beyond what has ever been achieved before. Real-time information may be transferred to fleet headquarters in a variety of ways, including:
- Wireless communication
- Hand-held scanners
- RFID tags
- Magnetic cards and readers
Each technology has its own features and benefits. Combined, their synergies far outstrip their individual abilities to manage fuel expenses. Because information is instantly available, trends become visible within minutes and strategic decisions can be made today rather than tomorrow, next week, or next month.
The advantages of real-time fuel management include:
- Having better control over fuel cost and usage. You know what is being purchased, where it is being purchased, how much is being purchased, the price at which it is purchased, and the rate of consumption.
- Ensuring regulatory compliance.
- Recognizing a potential problem before it becomes a real problem.
- Seeing opportunities to perform better even when performance is already within acceptable norms. This attribute may open the door for improving preventive and predictive maintenance programs that compound savings.
- Saving time in accounting because of reduced manual errors and immediate, accurate data transmission.
- Benchmarking for future performance.
Putting it All Together
EFS is leveraging technology to help companies make the transformational shift toward a more integrated approach of utilizing big data – both in real time and through back-end analytics – to improve efficiency, performance and in most cases, generate additional revenue. Big data is powering EFS’ Online Fuel Audit & Reconciliation tool to provide real-time visibility into performance and fuel spend. This tool provides carriers with greater transparency into volume purchase patterns with the ability to validate, audit and improve fuel spend.
The EFS Online Fuel Audit & Reconciliation solution can:
- save valuable time with real-time reporting and analysis
- ensure you are receiving your negotiated discount
- improve driver performance with KPI tracking and reporting
- provide optimization tools for drivers on the road
If your fuel management system is not working in real-time, it is time to take a closer look at what EFS can do for you.