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3 Smart Steps to Combat Fuel Costs

The price of fuel has always been an unpredictable fleet expense. When it's cheap, inefficiencies in fleet management are less costly. But when prices spike like they have in 2022, fleet managers need to shift into high gear and find ways to cut costs, reduce waste and support the bottom line. This means thinking big picture and understanding that investing up front in the right fleet management tools and partnerships can pay off now and in the future.

As DJ Lord, VP of Fleet Services for GM Financial puts it, “Don’t look at the cost of a fleet management product alone because “the overall benefits far outweigh the costs.”  He continues, "There are three things at the core of smart fleet management, especially when fuel prices are high: having a plan, utilizing data and leveraging relationships."

Step 1: Get serious about strategy

At every stage of a vehicle’s life cycle (purchasing, compliance, maintenance, fuel, reporting, resale), there are opportunities for lowering costs and increasing efficiency. But capitalizing on them requires an intentional strategy. “If you’re winging it all the time, your costs are going to be high,” Lord says. To take advantage of those opportunities, “it’s important to have a good picture of your fleet, so you can make changes.”

Lord points to fleet vehicle cycling as an example. With a plan for getting the most usage out of a vehicle for the least amount of investment, a fleet manager can know when and how to replace a vehicle, take advantage of the lowest purchasing options for new vehicles, and know the best timing for resale.

A comprehensive strategy for purchasing, insuring, maintaining, fueling and reporting will help you take advantage of cost-reducing opportunities that may be hiding in plain sight. But without one, it's easy for this essential high-value work to stay buried under the day-to-day tasks of fleet management. Getting out from under that mountain is not only possible, but necessary.

Step 2: Commit to data-driven decisions

When fuel costs are high, precision pays off. And to make precise fleet management decisions in 2022 and beyond, you need data. “Having a fuel program, optimizing routes, ensuring proper vehicle setup and load amount, and minimizing idle times during the day are key to keeping costs low,” says Lord. Data-driven tools allow fleet managers to identify and take advantage of these strategic opportunities.

Telematics, for example, uses GPS technology to identify and communicate trends and potential issues and make recommendations to fleet managers. Through insights such as vehicle speed, engine status, braking, tire pressure and more, telematics provides fleet managers with a robust understanding of fleet and driver performance.

Data-driven tools allow fleet managers to move beyond the shaky ground of educated guesses and onto the solid foundation of real-time, data-driven decision-making.

Step 3: Build your team of experts

Finally, rising fuel costs demand a collaborative approach to fleet management. The right strategy and tools are critical to lowering costs and increasing efficiency. However, the right relationship is needed to make them effective. But how can you be sure the strategy you've chosen is the right one? And how are you going to implement it? Once you've started collecting data, what are you going to do with it to get the results you want?

The good news is you don't have to do this alone. You just need a team of experts in your corner who:

  • Know the ins and outs of fleet management for businesses like yours.
  • Will work with you to customize a fleet management strategy that you can put into action right away.
  • Empower you to execute your strategy by providing access to data-driven tools.

Fuel prices may not be back to 2020 levels anytime soon. But with the right strategy, data and team in your corner, you'll set your fleet and your business up for success no matter what the future holds.

To learn more about how GM Financial Fleet Services may be able to help your fleet run more efficiently and make your business stronger, just click below to get in touch. "We aren't just selling something," says Lord, "We see ourselves as true business partners, helping customers manage all their fleet needs."

 

Talk With an Expert

 

Ross Appleton
By Ross Appleton, GM Financial

Ross Appleton loves to help people navigate their toughest challenges. He believes that clarity is the key to flourishing in a complex world, and that a timely dad joke is good for the soul. When he isn’t talking or writing about big ideas, you’ll likely find him reading about them in old books. He is married, and two of his four children currently serve in the U.S. Army.

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