Managing a fleet of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) comes with the challenge of balancing costs while maintaining productivity. Fleet managers constantly seek ways to reduce fleet costs and increase efficiency. From reducing fuel costs and reviewing maintenance schedules to taking a closer look at your drivers behind the wheel. In this blog article, we will present 9 efficient strategies to help HGV fleet managers lower costs and optimise operations.
1. Monitor driver behaviour
Sloppy driving habits can lead to excessive fuel consumption. Speeding, needless idling and inappropriate gear shifting, for example, will contribute to fuel waste. Monitoring driver behaviour is therefore essential to reducing fleet costs.
With an integrated fleet management system, fleet managers can assess patterns in driver behaviour and support actionable feedback to HGV drivers. The OptiDrive 360 feature in Webfleet provides real-time insights on speed, coasting and other driving habits that affect fuel use. It also sends predictive alerts to drivers on the road, empowering them to immediately correct inefficient or unsafe behaviours. Ultimately, reducing excess costs as a result of operating the vehicle and reducing the likelihood of insurance claims.
2. Optimise route planning
Higher mileage equals higher fuel costs. Productive fleets can’t avoid racking up mileage, of course. But driving unnecessary miles will burn through fuel. As will sitting in traffic. Fleet managers are turning to digital tools to sidestep these issues. A complete telematics and software solution makes it easy to analyse live traffic and weather data to help fleet managers provide better on-road support for HGV drivers.
From the Webfleet dashboard, you can readily figure out whether your trucks meet height and weight restrictions for certain roads. Keeping your trucks on appropriate roads translates into preventing the costly consequences of bridge strikes, safety incidents and delays. Plus, you save money on fuel costs by not having to backtrack or take long detours. Optimised route planning enables you to deliver more, faster. Using fleet management software, fleet managers can provide reliable ETAs to customers, leading to greater satisfaction and stronger business relationships.
3. Implement predictive tyre management
Roughly 20% of commercial tyres on the road are significantly underinflated. Slow leaks and improper tyre pressure result in a 2.5% increase in fuel use. Regularly checking tyre conditions is an effective way to save money on fuel and reduce fleet costs. Predictive tyre management is also a booster for fleet efficiency. By keeping tyres in optimal condition, you prevent unexpected repairs and vehicle downtime. Well-maintained tyres are less likely to cause blowouts and roadside breakdowns jeopardise truck and car drivers alike.
The question is, how can you determine how every single tyre in your fleet is performing? Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) takes out the guesswork with real-time checks on tyre pressure and temperature. TPMS notifies you about abnormal pressure or temperature levels, enabling you to address issues before they lead to excess costs from downtime or safety issues.
4. Schedule preventative maintenance
Properly maintained vehicles last longer and run better. When kept in top shape, vehicles use fuel far more efficiently. Maintenance issues that go unnoticed or put off will eventually result in breakdowns and potentially higher repair costs. Fleet management software simplifies preventative maintenance scheduling. Your business benefits by contributing to safer roads while avoiding fines and reputational damage.
Cared-for vehicles help protect all drivers from safety incidents. Should an accident prove to be caused by a poorly maintained vehicle, your business would be liable for any material damage or loss of life.
5. Promote fuel-efficient driving practices
Drivers are one of the biggest fuel economy influencers and by improving their performance, meaningful results can be achieved. One aspect that is often overlooked is driver training. The key is to educate your HGV drivers on aspects like fuel usage when idling, speeding and harsh cornering and braking. Fleet management solutions can draw upon a wide range of insights that fleet managers can use to structure driver training programmes to improve HGV fuel efficiency.
Drivers can also be empowered to improve with performance information fed to them via their in-vehicle navigation devices. Predictive advice, using vehicle and map data, tells them when to shift gears and what their optimum speed should be.
This combination enables drivers to improve themselves while providing fleet managers with valuable data insights to develop customised driver training programs. Ultimately, creating a more fuel-efficient and safer HGV fleet. Read more on how driving techniques can save fuel.
6. Monitor fleet compliance
The DVSA handed out more than £4.5 million in fines for tachograph offences, driver hours, overloading and other offences in 2021 alone. Meanwhile, in 2022 speeding offences have rocketed by 16% to an eight-year high! Are you aware of how your drivers are on the road? Could you do more to stay on top of driver’s compliance?
Webfleet’s partner Fleetcheck allows you to check a driver’s record and driving history. Their integration partners access the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) ‘Live’ database to check employee’s endorsement statements (employee consent required). This combined with other safety checks helps safeguard your business against fines, prosecution and financial exposure from unlicensed drivers.
7. Review Fleet composition
A thorough examination of the composition of your HGV fleet is crucial for reducing fleet costs and optimising operational efficiency. The primary focus should be on assessing the range and suitability of vehicles in relation to business requirements, evaluating their performance, and analysing associated vehicle expenses. Moreover, strategic fleet composition can significantly contribute to a reduction in costs by minimising fuel consumption. You can review where savings can be made in your fleet by utilising our cost saving calculator. To conclude, conducting an ongoing review of your current vehicles is essential to ensure your business is maximising its logistics and delivery capabilities.
8. Continuously Improve Fleet Operations
Regardless of how well you’re doing, there’s always room for improvement. Even the most successful fleet manager is constantly looking at their workflow, drivers, processes, vehicles and route planning to see where changes and upgrades can be made that will boost business.
As with reducing mileage, the key to doing this well is data. Without clear, accurate information on the history of the trips your HGV drivers have taken to analyse, you can never be sure you’re focusing on the right areas for improvement.
9. Consider Integrated Fleet Management Solutions
In fact, Webfleet can help you with all of the tips in this guide. Want to find out more about this award-winning solution for HGV fleets? Then check out our latest interactive video. Play through a day in the life of an HGV fleet manager (don’t worry, it only takes a couple of minutes!) and see where Webfleet helps you to reduce costs and support you at every step.
Cost saving conclusion
By implementing these 9 efficient strategies, HGV fleet managers can effectively reduce fuel and vehicle maintenance costs and improve fleet efficiency. Monitoring drivers, optimising routes, maintaining vehicles, promoting fuel efficiency, and embracing technology are key areas to focus on. Stay compliant, utilise digital tools, and continuously seek improvement for long-term success in reducing HGV fleet costs.