Fleet managers can improve fuel efficiency and reduce driver down time by implementing a fuel card program. Though the concept of a fleet fuel card is simple, drivers and fleet managers will experience a learning curve as a company integrates the cost-cutting tool into the daily workflow. The following strategies can help managers to make productive decisions as they guide drivers and dispatchers through the the process of implementing fuel cards.
Prepare for launch
Any fuel card program will get off to a slow start if managers fail to perform sufficient set up. Managers will need to collect driver personal data, vehicle identification numbers and other pieces of basic information and pass them along to the fuel card company. Taking care of these chores early on ensures that drivers will have access to their new fuel cards a soon as they become available. Rapid adoption encourages drivers to accept the new fuel card program and provides fleet managers with extra time to answer questions that drivers have about the fleet card system.
Address driver concerns
Drivers will likely voice questions about how the introduction of fuel cards will change their job requirements or how the new accountability tool will measure their performance. Full disclosure is always the best policy when it comes to implementing a fuel card program. Employees will feel more at ease with changes to their day-to-day jobs if the adjustments are introduced in a straightforward manner. The Business Journals warns that some employees will always react negatively to greater oversight, but catching these bad attitudes is preferable to leaving employees in the dark.
The full benefits of fleet fuel cards cannot take effect until drivers understand that failure to utilize the system correctly will lead to repercussions. Fleet managers put themselves at a disadvantage by being easy on first-time offenders or neglectful drivers. Fuel cards act as a far more effective deterrent if drivers are mindful of consequences. Fleet managers can consistently check driver performance by reviewing the data collected by vehicle telematics and the fuel fleet card. Abuse of company time is likely occurring if managers note large discrepancies between the two reports. Managers may find themselves in a position where employees are resistant to participate in these changes. The Office of Personnel Management recommends using conversation and goal setting to encourage these employees toward compliance.
Set performance goals
Introducing fleet fuel cards as an accountability tool may draw some resistance from employees. Fleet managers can neutralize much of this attitude by also framing fleet fuel cards as an opportunity for drivers to improve their own skills. The data recorded by fleet fuel cards and telematics systems help drivers to discover unconscious habits that contribute toward inefficient driving. Drivers that adopt the use of fuel fleet cards for their own sake will be more likely to implement the company’s training .