As the vehicle fleet manager, you’ll want to minimize your expenses without compromising on the quality of service, thereby improving the delivery line. It should be no surprise that fuel takes up a large chunk of any commercial fleet’s expenses. As operations continue, these costs rack up quickly, becoming nothing short of a headache for fleet managers.
And that’s where fuel cards come in. These cards can help you track or manage fuel expenses, allowing you to identify the areas where the costs can be streamlined and improved. Moreover, they help keep the driver’s behavior in check via purchasing profiles, aiding the fleet’s management aspect. Let’s look deeply into fuel cards to see how you can effectively manage fuel expenses for tracking vehicle fleets.
Fleet Fuel Cards And How They Are Beneficial For Tracking
To put it simply, fuel cards are like debit cards designed for one primary purpose: fuel payments. Fleet managers can use these cards to check fuel purchases and usage while tracking drivers’ locations.
Typically issued by oil companies, each driver in a vehicle fleet can receive a fuel card to pay for fuel. Some cards require drivers to provide a unit number, driver number, and vehicle mileage to receive authorization for pumping gas.
Chiefly, there are three kinds of fuel cards: branded, fleet, and universal cards, with each fuel card type having a different use, accompanied by pros and cons of its own. All three fuel card types share several common benefits, as listed below.
1. Lowered Operational Costs
Fuel expenses may consume nearly a fourth of the total average marginal costs for trucking companies. Along with driver wages, fuel costs make up for a little more than half of the net operating expenses for these companies.
By tracking a fleet’s fuel consumption, a fleet manager can decrease fuel wastage and reduce overall operational costs. Even if the fuel wastage is only a small amount in most vehicles, the fuel expenses add up once all the cars are accounted for.
2. Improved Profit Margins
Micro-management can be the answer to improving a fleet’s margins. The better a fleet manager micro-manages their vehicles, the greater the chances of improving the overall profit margins. Making the whole fleet efficient without a fault is not within the realms of possibilities, but making small optimizations will help in the long haul.
3. Cost Saving Leads To Company Expansion
Greater fuel efficiency means that a fleet manager can invest in the growth of the trucking company. Investments like training the drivers, purchasing new cars, trucks, or vans for the company, and hiring more employees will aid in the company’s growth.
4. Improved Driver Safety
As a vehicle fleet manager, you can ensure the safety of your drivers by tracking their fuel card data. Several fuel cards feature a GPS tracking system and can pinpoint a driver’s exact location. You may use this data to ensure that your driver is always safe on the job, no matter where they may be.
Moreover, these tracking systems can plot individual routes on a map, providing you with valuable data in the unfortunate event of an accident.
5. Online Access
A fuel card provider must send fleet managers and drivers alerts when purchases are made using the card. These alerts may include the purchase amount, the nearest refilling station, and tracking data.
The use of fuel cards is limited to certain locations, which makes it easy for you to avoid scams or potential fraud. Managers can restrict copy once they set up alerts for when the spending limit is exceeded, or the tracking data display oddities.
Much like a debit card, a fuel card requires a password unique to each driver to purchase fuel. This ensures that unauthorized users can’t use the card.
7. Fuel Consumption Data
Fuel consumption data enables managers to train their drivers when optimizing fuel costs. A manager can effectively pinpoint where fuel consumption is excessive and identify how it can be improved.
With the fuel price, location, the driver’s ID, and the vehicle’s odometer reading, managers gain plenty of data to micro-manage fuel consumption.
8. Proper Customer Service
Drivers having their fuel card declined is frustrating for them and may also eat into the time they spend during transportation. Technical aspects should not take up much of a driver’s time, if at all.
Thus, fuel cards must have good customer services that guide drivers through any technical hiccups they may encounter while on the road. Fuel purchases must always go smoothly, and fuel card providers must support that.
9. Tracking Expenses Through A Digital Dashboard
The time spent accounting for each expense through receipts is an area that fuel cards can eliminate. Good fuel cards like WEX use digital dashboards to track the fuel used, and the money spent, giving the managers a peek into driver trends.
Instead of maintaining multiple receipts, the reports help you access all the information in one place to reduce paperwork.
Fuel management is a process that is usually quite tedious, requiring manual methods to measure fuel consumption across the vehicle fleet. But fuel cards have improved efficiency and management, making them one of the most useful additions to the arsenal of trucking companies.
The data these fuel cards provide is an invaluable aspect of management, as managers can use it to drive the company’s growth further. An effective, comprehensive management system is essential for this, which fuel card providers strive to achieve.
And with additional tools such as dashcams and telematics, trucking companies can maximize their profits, savings, or fleet efficacy.