The maintenance costs of even a single truck – not to mention the entire fleet – requires quite a lot of money. But the optimization of costs of fuel is also not an impossible task. Just try to control the fuel consumption of vehicles – you'll see that's enough. We advise you on how to do it in order to have the largest possible set of data and immediately know about possible abuses.
If you follow websites about TSL market, you undoubtedly quite systematically come across new reports of fuel theft from trucks in parking lots. However, you usually read about failed attempts when the perpetrators got red-handed. Nobody counts the successful ones so it is in vain to look for statistics – many drivers or shippers simply do not report such situations, including losses in costs with a loud sigh. Anyway, it is enough to listen to these more experienced drivers: they will talk about the whole gangs regularly draining fuel from the tanks of unlucky collegues resting at popular parking lots all over Europe. The thieves are more and more cheeky. In August this year, the German police caught red-handed 27-year-old Romanian truck driver who had in his vehicle full equipment for draining fuel from the tanks of other trucks.
But let's be honest – drivers prowling on European (and probably not only European) roads, robbing their colleagues, are only part of the problem. Another part is dishonest employees who cheat their own employers. There are many ways – pouring out fuel from your own tank and selling it on the side, pouring some fuel while refueling with company money, fraud on invoices or kilometers traveled. All this brings us to the essence of this article: the best way to control the quantity and consumption of fuel in large transport companies.
Why control fuel?
Why should you consider controlling your company's fuel consumption, even if you are able to treat the occasional theft by third parties on the road as a minor loss and you have 100% confidence in your own drivers? Because having complete statistics on gas consumption on specific routes by specific vehicles, you can get much more useful data. Thanks to their analysis, it may easily turn out that certain routes, although slightly shorter than their alternatives, generate higher fuel consumption due to the specificity of the traffic. If a given vehicle has significantly higher fuel consumption than others with the same parameters, you will immediately know that it is worth taking it to the review. Finally, you will also have additional information about how your driver is doing behind the wheel – just send several drivers to the same point along the same route. If one of them uses much more fuel than the others, maybe it will be worth to familiarize him with eco-driving technique? What is all of this worth? Why bother? Take notice, that every lost (stolen or inefficiently used) liter of fuel is a specific financial loss. Now check your own books and find the column that tells you how much your company pays for fuel per month. Here's the hint: fuel costs are sometimes even 1/3 of all expenses of fleet maintenance. By controlling the fuel, you will know if your employees and equipment are running super efficiently, or if the ever-huge amount of total fuel costs can be reduced. And believe us – if you do not yet control the fuel flow in your fleet, you can definitely save on it without sacrificing quality of service.
Traditional methods – a lot of work & little results
How to make sure that not a single drop of purchased fuel is wasted? First, you need to check how much fuel should actually be used. It is worth calculating the average consumption of each vehicle. The formula is simple: divide the amount of burned fuel by the kilometers traveled and multiply by 100. With this information, you can more or less know if something happened on the next route of a given vehicle that should raise your suspicions or not. However, this method requires a lot of calculations and checking the fuel levels and invoices for refueling constantly. The more vehicles you maintain, the more burdensome it gets. Also, the margin of error is large enough that with smaller cavities you may not even notice. Some companies introduce special forms for drivers to fill in – they contain information on fuel levels, fuel consumption, refueling, etc. However, neither of these methods gives 100% certainty, and both only impose further obligations on employees. Yet another option is the introduction of fuel cards – prepaid payment cards that can be used at gas stations. In this way, you can control the fuel indirectly by controlling the expenditure on it. However, we cannot speak of scrupulousness here too, as slight fluctuations in prices between individual stations or over time are enough and the results may differ. It is also another method that requires analysis of invoices and laborious calculations.
The optimal solution comes with the TrustTrack system
We know what you think: someone should come up with the idea for the system that will automatically provide us with all the data, right? So here's the good news: Ruptela's TrustTrack is able to control the actual consumption of fuel, but also much more. All you need to do is install the appropriate modules compatible with the TrustTrack software in the vehicles. What will it do? It will provide you with a series of various data that will allow precise fuel control. You will be able to check how much fuel is in the tank of a given vehicle, its current consumption, when it was refilled – all of it at any time and without even leaving the office. You will also be able to receive notifications when refueling or a sudden, significant loss of fuel from the tank – in the event of a theft, both you and your driver will know about it immediately. The reports will also allow you to determine if the vehicle is not using more fuel than it should, which may be the result of a malfunction. You will also be able to find out if your drivers are using the most fuel-efficient driving style, as well as determine if the route is more fuel-efficient or not. In the reports sent by TrustTrack, you can read the total amount of fuel used on the route, its level at the start and at the end of the route, average consumption, cases of refueling and emptying along with the location of these events. What's more – if there's a real drop of the gas level in the tank, you will receive an immediate notification inside the TrustTrack system, by email or SMS. This will allow you to immediately alert the driver (who can also be informed directly by the system) or the Police. All data comes straight from the truck – it is taken either from the on-board computer (CANbus) or from a module installed in the tank. As a result, the information is super precise and always up to date.
A simple way to savings
By investing in the TrustTrack system and fuel level sensors, you ensure that you always have access to all information on fuel consumption. From now on, you will know exactly what is the demand of your entire fleet and what is the actual consumption. It will be up to you how you use this information, but obtaining it is already the first, largest and most important step to real savings. Thanks to it, you will quickly eliminate fuel-consuming flaws, dishonest employees or cases of theft on the route. This will make your investment in TrustTrack, an easy-to-use and practical system, pay for itself very quickly, and you will find it very easy to optimize fuel consumption and reduce fuel costs. Remember that monthly expenses at gas stations – even if your fleet has its own – can reach up to 30% of all maintenance costs. Reducing them by even a few percent is a lot of money saved.