Is your Fleet Card Poised to Help in the Heat of the Summer?
Even though the official start to summer is not until June 21, for much of the country the heat has arrived – bringing with it tropical storms, floods, wind and fire. The National Weather Service predicts a range of weather related issues across the country this year and as always, some could be catastrophic. While the Northeast through the mid-Atlantic might expect a bit of everything from hot to humid to stormy, that is normal; but the Southern United States is smart to prepare for the threat of tropical storms early in the season. California is already battling wild fires from the dry heat and winds, and it is just the beginning of June. The trucking, transportation and logistics sector is one of few industries that experiences it all, and the industry knows too well that preparation for the worst case is critical. Fortunately, technology is lending a hand by providing tools that can keep drivers aware, poised and fueled up. Along with well-maintained air-conditioning, tires, and engines, fleet cards and mobile devices are two of the most important components that a driver will need to battle the heat of the summer.
Fleet Cards are Driving Business
Trucking companies across the country are diligently and persistently in search of solutions that will benefit the bottom line while providing security and access to their drivers. To that end, most of these companies have found the most immediate and effective solution in fuel and fleet cards because they have proven to be just as beneficial to the driver as they are to fleet managers looking to maintain visibility and control costs. Flexible fleet and fuel card solutions can be customized for any fleet size saving time and money while providing security and protection.
EFS Fleet cards go beyond simply providing discounts on fuel and other products. The Edge fuel card can actually provide the ability to track and vet transactions. When using a credit card, a fueling receipt typically shows the date, time, location, and number of gallons purchased. An EFS fuel card, however, can upload a much wider range of information, allowing fleet managers to thoroughly analyze company expenses. Fuel cards provide a more detailed level of crucial information, such as driver ID, VIN, and, in conjunction with telematics data from the truck, even odometer readings and the quantity of gasoline in the tank. The ability to access this wealth of information through an EFS fuel card is not only extremely valuable for expense tracking and accounting, but it also provides control over on-the-road spending that can help eliminate fuel waste and fraud. The access and efficiencies these fleet cards provide can be a life-saver when a driver is confronted with a harsh summer storm, wild fire diversion or urgent repair needs.
6 Advantages of Fleet Cards on the Road
1. Savings: With acceptance of up to 90% of fuel locations nationwide, it is possible to save up to 15% on total fuel management costs.
2. Convenience: All purchases are tracked for easier accounting and much less paperwork.
3. Security: Set restrictions, require driver ID authorizations and add or deactivate cards to reduce unauthorized spending.
4. Service: Customer Service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
5. Control: Real-time access to online services allows managers to add or delete drivers and vehicles, pay invoices and set purchase controls and alerts.
6. Flexible Reporting: Easily view fuel spend in both real-time and via summarized, monthly reports.
“With the WEX account we are able to track all charges, when they were made, where they were made, who made the purchases, and how much was spent. It has saved us thousands of dollars”.
Fleet Mobile Can Help with Payment and Save a Life
Fleet mobile solutions are equally as valuable as a fleet card, in some cases working in conjunction with them through mobile wallet and mobile pay. Mobile devices provide assurance and security for payment, but also so much more. They can keep up with increased regulations, and track traffic patterns, issues and accidents while keeping drivers awake at the wheel. A study by uShip reported how fleet owner-operators are using their mobile devices and apps on the road. The categories include the following:
- 57% use their phones more for daily business this year than they did last year.
- 37% use their phones to book loads, and 35% use them to bid on loads.
- 33% use mobile apps to monitor the weather, gas prices and traffic conditions.
- 20% no longer travel with a laptop.
- Nearly 20% use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter on their phones to keep up with family, friends and colleagues.
Many fleet managers have taken advantage of these statistics and addressed the demand by offering mobile capabilities for use with fleet cards and finances. Managing safety on the job through the use of hand held devices has proven to be invaluable, especially in hazardous driving conditions or extreme heat of the summer. High temperatures can cause drowsiness and compound exhaustion, and with that potential in mind it is critical to prepare for the summer months with awareness and routine checks for mind, body and vehicle.
“Statistics estimate that drowsy driving and fatigue contribute to 20% to 30% of all deaths on the road. In fact, the average driver becomes four times more likely to become involved in a fatal crash if he or she drives between 10 p.m. and dawn”. — Center for Disease Control
4 apps that help to address health and safety
1. Anti-Drowse: This app lets you program the length of your trip, and the app will then make sounds and noises at varying intervals to keep you awake. Unlike your typical phone alarm, the app is unpredictable, so you can’t fall into a sleepy, monotonous pattern while you drive.
2. FatSecret Calorie Counter: Eating healthy is an industry challenge: time is tight, hours are long and access to restaurants is limited by parking constraints or highway exits. With this app, drivers can look up nutrition information for foods found at most restaurants, scan barcodes for instant nutrition information on packaged foods, and track total daily calories, fat and carbs.
3. Co-Pilot Live Truck: This first-of-its kind app uses voice-guided GPS navigation to give drivers customized, safe and reliable truck-legal routes calculated based on vehicle size, weight and load type. The app helps drivers to avoid low-clearance and weight-restricted roads, create custom route profiles for easy switching between vehicles, view and plan efficient routing options, and help avoid out-of-route miles.
4. FleetSafer Mobile: While reading or writing a text, a driver looks away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. During that time, at 55 miles per hour, his or her vehicle will travel the length of an entire football field. FleetSafer eliminates the temptation to text, email or browse the web while driving. With this app, drivers can block texts and emails while driving, and automatically respond to incoming emails and texts with an “I’m driving” message.
Along with these safety and health apps, fleet mobile has solutions that can address requirements or add conveniences in the summer months. Drivers can count on mobile devices for way-finding, repair and fuel locations along with food, hotel and lodging. However, it is the health of the body and the vehicle that matters most. With the technology in their hands, drivers are safer on the roads than they have ever been and are extremely grateful for it.