Efficiency Enterprises, Inc. 6300 Efficiency Way Baltimore, MD 21225

Top 5 Fleet Costs You Need To Monitor

Despite their many benefits, fleet vehicles can be a headache for business owners.

Fleet vehicles are an excellent way to improve the speed and efficiency of transportation and other company logistics, but they can also have hidden costs associated with them. Managing a vehicle fleet is a balancing act of price and value that needs to be monitored closely to ensure the success of your business.

Fuel

Fuel is likely going to be the biggest expenditure associated with any fleet of vehicles. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average vehicle consumes about 684 gallons of gasoline each year. That can add up quickly if you have a large fleet of trucks or vans. Since it’s not something you can control, tracking fuel consumption will allow you to determine how much fuel was used for each vehicle and what the average cost per mile is. This data will help you make informed decisions about how much to budget for gasoline.

Employee Wages

Driver wages are an important consideration when overseeing a fleet of logistical vehicles. A lot of companies will use a driver wage calculator to determine the value of their drivers, but that may vary based on a number of factors from location to productivity level.

Many companies have started to use telematics solutions to monitor the performance of their fleets, which enables them to keep track of how much fuel is being used by each vehicle and how many miles are being driven by each driver. This allows them to get a more accurate idea of what kind of salary they need to pay each individual employee in order to keep their fleet running smoothly.

Maintenance and Repair

The cost of maintaining and repairing large fleets of vans or trucks can be very costly. This is especially true when you consider that the ripple effects of a single-vehicle malfunction can affect your entire fleet. When you’re responsible for multiple vehicles, the costs associated with each breakdown rapidly add up. That’s why it’s important to monitor your mechanic fees and make sure they’re not getting out of control.

If you find yourself paying for more frequent repairs than usual, this could indicate that something needs to be replaced or repaired sooner than expected—and those costs will compound quickly. The price of parts alone can tally up fast, especially if you need to restore an entire engine or transmission. Plus, there are also labor charges to consider, along with the toll of downtime while repairs are being made.

Procurement of Replacement Vehicles

Fleet vehicle replacement is incredibly expensive. For example, if you have ten trucks and wish to upgrade them, you can expect to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars. This cost includes the price of the actual vehicles, along with any necessary upgrades and repairs that need to be made before they can be put into service.

Thankfully, fleet vehicle purchases can come with bulk rebates, discounts, or other special offers. These may help lower the overall price of the vehicle in order to make it more affordable for your company.

Insurance Coverage

When you’re in charge of a fleet of vehicles, you want to make sure they are properly insured. This can be a challenge because it’s hard to predict what will happen, making it difficult to know what type of coverage to get. You should always make sure that your insurance policy covers any vehicles that are part of your fleet.

The best way to do this is to get a commercial auto policy from your current provider, or with another provider if necessary. This type of policy will cover all kinds of damage and liability that might happen while an employee is driving one of your fleet trucks. It will also cover any injuries caused by accidents involving these vehicles.

Efficiency Enterprises can help you with your fleet planning and management. Let us be your partner and do the heavy lifting for you! Contact us today for your consultation.

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Commercial Truck Production Delay: Expected Through 2023?

The production of Class 8 trucks is showing some signs of improvement, but freight truck production won’t truly rebound until well into 2023, most experts are saying. COVID 19 has caused an assortment of issues in the OEM markets, and these issues have been further compounded as new variants have cropped up all over the world, leading to further shutdowns and labor shortages. The demand for Class 8 trucks and freight trailers has not gone down; quite the contrary, it has grown significantly. However, the industry has never fully recovered from the original COVID 19 lockdowns, and new lockdowns and infection rates of the Delta and Omicron variants have continued to put the OEMs further and further behind.

Labor and Parts Shortages

Despite the demand, many OEMs have had to place significant caps on the orders, as the fulfillment of orders has been difficult for the previous years. Many companies had to resort to laying off and furloughing employees at the start of the pandemic, and many of those employees have not returned. Don Ake, FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles, stated that “suppliers need workers desperately.” While there are shortages in truck components, specifically semiconductors, improving the supply of parts will not necessarily lead to drastically improved production. Ake continues by stating, “even if the semiconductor issue was solved on the Class 8 side, you still wouldn’t be able to get up to maximum production.” Labor shortages are affecting many industries across the globe, and freight truck production is no less a victim of this than any other industry.

The lack of parts, specifically semiconductors, is still a major issue, though. Countries like Malaysia and Japan, major producers of the vital component, have experienced new lockdown protocols and have been ravaged by intense infection rates of the newer COVID variants. Further compounding the issue is the fact that semiconductor production focused more so on household goods as trucks were taken off the road with new national and state limitations on travel. With both production of the necessary components down, and with the reallocating of where the parts go, this has led OEMs to begin making ‘red tag units’, trucks and trailers made without certain components. However, even with some of these corners being cut, the production of trucks is still running at a deficit of over ten thousand, with trailers only doing slightly better.

Optimism for 2023

There is some reason for optimism on the horizon, though. FTR projects that nearly two hundred and seventy-five thousand Class 8 trucks will hit the market this year, possibly rising to three hundred and thirty-five thousand. 2023 should see the largest increase in production, with estimates of Class 8 trucks breaking three hundred and fifty thousand and higher. Again, Ake speculates that “this is going to keep the OEM build rates elevated into 2023 and maybe into 2024.” He clarifies, though, that, “we’re in catch-up mode and we’re going to be in catch-up mode for a while.”

Despite the labor shortages and the bottle-necking of production caused by a lack of components, there is reason to be hopeful for the future of freight production. After all, the decrease in production that the industry has seen over the last couple of years is not from lack of demand, but rather from lack of production ability. As the component industries start producing at their usual rates, and as workers begin to return to the industry, the demand to get Class 8 trucks and trailers on the roads will be staggering. Most industry experts are pointing to some time into 2023 as the point where these shortages will be fixed.

Looking for a solution to your fleet shortage? Let Efficiency Enterprises help as your fleet management partner! Contact us

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Tips To Overcoming Supply Shortages for Your Fleet

Supply shortages of any kind interfere with your normal business processes, inflating prices and disrupting the flow of inventory. When your business depends on rubber hitting the pavement, nothing can bring you to a screeching halt faster than a tire supply shortage.

While you can’t control the number of tires available on the market, there are things you can do to overcome tire supply shortage and minimize the impact it has on your fleet.

Understand Why Tires Are In Short Supply

If a tire shortage causes you to cancel or alter arrangements with your client base, you’d better have a good explanation ready. Patiently walking your customer through the reality of supply and demand can be crucial to prevent the perception that you’re making excuses, and may help you maintain valuable relationships.

Tire shortages are caused when there is a rubber shortage, shipping difficulties, or increased demand in the tire market. Interruptions in the cultivation of rubber trees can lead to a long-lasting decrease in supply. As nations develop, the demand for tires may increase. The availability of shipping containers or other materials can also decrease the number of tires available for purchase.

When fewer tires are available, the overall supply of vehicles also decreases, posing a significant challenge to fleet owners who need a reliable stable to conduct their business.

Reorder now

In a shortage, there’s no such thing as ordering too early. Vehicles that usually take six to eight weeks to acquire can take six months or longer during a shortage. Evaluate your fleet and identify the vehicles that are likely to need major repairs soon, and plan to replace them with newer, lower mileage vehicles. This strategy, which is known as a life-cycle strategy, will help you keep your fleet on the road and your monthly maintenance costs fairly steady.

Preserve Existing Tires

Decreasing the effect of a tire shortage on your fleet means taking good care of the tires you already have.

The first step is to institute a tire rotation schedule. Regular rotation of tires ensures that they wear evenly, and have treads of similar heights. Tire life is reduced when you run a vehicle with different sized tires on the same axel.

The other crucial part of keeping your fleet’s tires in good condition is avoiding underinflation. Severe underinflation is known to contribute to tire failure, a safety issue that all drivers and fleet personnel are keen to avoid. Even a slightly underinflated tire will wear out more quickly than a properly inflated tire, and yet checking tire inflation often falls off the list.

A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) can be installed directly on the vehicle, sending data back to a centralized source in real-time. A TPMS can be mounted on the tire itself, on the rim, or on the valve.

An alternative to installing TPMS on every vehicle in the fleet is the purchase of a single-station automated tire inspection system. Rather than tedious manual checks, an automated tire inspection system merely requires the driver to position the vehicle over the sensor plate. The tread and pressure are automatically measured and stored, providing valuable data that can be used to optimize your maintenance schedule.

Consider a Fleet Partner

Navigating fleet ownership is difficult enough when you’re not trying to overcome a tire supply shortage. Let Efficiency be your partner. As an expert advisor with industry connections, Efficiency can be a valuable resource to your business. We just might give you the boost you need to stay ahead of your competitors. Contact us today to discuss the right fit for your business.

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Staying Safe During Winter: What Truck Drivers Need To Know

Roads can become extremely dangerous during wintertime. When the snow begins to fall and temperatures drop to sub-zero, even highly experienced truck drivers can have problems with poor visibility and the reduced traction that is so typical of icy roads. Luckily there are a few things they can do to help them stay safe in these conditions. Continue reading to learn more.

Double-check before the trip that you have all the necessary supplies.

If the trip does not work out as planned and you are involved in an accident, get stuck in heavy traffic, or have to pull off and wait out a storm, you are going to need certain supplies. That’s why it’s important to double-check before the trip that you have blankets, warm clothing, water, and food – and that the diesel tanks are full.

Check the truck before the journey.

Getting the truck ready for winter is a crucial part of staying safe and preventing accidents. Start by checking the engine oil. Also check the condition of the tires, tire pressure, antifreeze levels, brakes, lights, and everything else that could negatively impact having a safe journey.

Be on the alert for black ice.

This thin sheet of transparent ice typically forms when temperatures start approaching freezing point. The first warning sign could be when ice starts building up on the windscreen. Reduce your speed when approaching bridges, shaded areas, and overpasses since these are spots where black ice often first starts to form.

Increase following distances.

It takes much longer than usual to bring a large vehicle to a complete standstill when roads are wet, icy, and slippery. This is why truck drivers should always increase following distances during the winter months to help prevent accidents.

Be aware of and prepared for all weather conditions.

You should always make sure that they are up to date with the latest weather conditions on their planned route. Drivers should also use a GPS, radio, or another form of communication to be alerted of accidents ahead, roads that are closed, etc.

Turn signals and hazard lights become even more important during winter. Experienced truck drivers typically have their own rule of thumb for each different road condition. For driving in winter, they would use four to five blinks before moving into the adjacent lane. And they don’t try to match the speed of the other vehicles on the road at all costs. If their load or the road conditions require this, they would rather drive more slowly and use hazard lights to warn other drivers of this fact.

Do not try to be a hero.

There is no load worth a human life. If a truck driver experiences extremely dangerous driving conditions, he or she should know that it’s fine to look for a safe spot where they can wait it out. If there is no space at the nearest truck stop, stop on a ramp or anywhere else that is not in the way. Just beware of parking on a steep incline as you might have issues pulling off again with a full load.

Exercise caution when getting into and out of the truck.

Wintertime means slippery conditions that make it very easy to fall and hurt yourself. Wear boots with a solid grip and when visibility is low, always wear high-visibility clothing.

We always err on the side of caution, especially in unpredictable weather! Looking for more tips or information about how to improve your fleet management? Let Efficiency help! Contact us today.

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Boost Your Fleet Management Solution With These 6 Steps

Regardless of the size of the business, managing a fleet of trucks can be both stressful and complex. From fuel costs to truck maintenance, hiring the right staff, and training them, fleet managers have an unenviable job. Fortunately, technological advances are rapidly starting to make the process a lot easier. Below are a few tips on how to boost your fleet management solution.

1. Choose the best vehicles for the company’s needs

This is one of the most important tasks of a fleet manager. Depending on the type of industry that your firm operates in, procuring the right type of vehicles that best meet operational needs can make or break the business.

From strictly adhering to maintenance requirements to determining optimum vehicle replacement cycles and carefully considering disposal options can all have a major impact on the fleet management program’s success or failure.

Another important consideration here is vehicle reliability. It’s of little use if truck B costs $10 000 less than vehicle A but the direct and indirect costs of breakdowns will amount to three times that.

2. Optimize schedules and fleet delivery routes

Routes that are properly planned will undoubtedly increase customer satisfaction rates. It is crucial to provide your customers with accurate estimates for delivery times and small appointment windows. Efficiently planning delivery routes can help to shorten delivery times and will improve driver safety because there will be no need for them to rush. Ultimately this will also have a positive impact on accident rates.

3. Have an open-door policy

The fleet manager is a core part of any successful equipment and vehicle management program. His or her knowledge helps to keep track of issues and trends that might affect not only clients but also internal departments of the company. That is one of the biggest reasons why the fleet manager should always make time to listen to what drivers, clients, and other stakeholders have to say.

4. Control spending professionally

One of a fleet manager’s most important duties is to ensure the optimum use of the capital the company has available. Factors that can have a major impact on the firm’s success include:

  • Deciding whether to buy, lease, or rent vehicles based on sound financial criteria
  • Ensuring that the company gets the best financing rates
  • Taking into account tax incentives and other tax implications when making financial      decisions
  • Negotiating the best possible prices
  • Taking into account resale values and operating costs when making purchasing decisions
  • Planning for the firm’s future operational needs

5. Use technology to plan truck sizes and routes

New technologies such as GPS tracking can help drivers to arrive at their destination safely and efficiently. With proper route planning, they will be able to avoid roads with weight limits, low bridges, and heavy traffic. Drivers will also have access to live information about road closures and detours so they can choose the best alternative route. All of these can play a major role in driver safety and customer satisfaction rates.

6. Encourage safe driving habits and improve the performance of your drivers

Regular driver training is another crucial responsibility of fleet management. The aim here is to improve safety standards and efficiency. Focus on issues such as reducing fuel costs and eliminating bad driver behaviors like excessive idling, hard braking, and speeding. Probably the best way to do this is to make it very personal. Keep track of those drivers who might need training in specific aspects of the job and make sure they get the training they need.

7. Reward positive driver behavior

Another good idea is to have an incentive program in place that rewards drivers for positive behavior. With modern technology, it’s very easy to keep track of issues such as speed fines, delivery times, accidents, etc. If the company rewards those drivers who perform best in these areas it will motivate other drivers to improve. In the end, it will reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and benefit the whole fleet’s efficiency.

Want to discuss more fleet management solutions for your business? Let Efficiency help! Contact us.

Sources:

https://www.mixtelematics.com/blog/11-tips-for-improving-truck-fleet-management
https://www.mixtelematics.com/5-ways-to-make-your-fleet-more-efficient
https://info.rastrac.com/blog/improve-fleet-management-operations
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Cut Your Fleet’s Fuel Costs With These Four Easy Steps

One of the simplest ways you can improve the amount of profit your business makes is to reduce the amount of money you spend on fuel each year. Spending a lot of money on fuel can have a huge negative impact on your business if you operate a fleet of vehicles. Fortunately, there are some simple strategies that you can implement to ensure that you don’t end up spending too much on fuel. Read on to find out how you can cut your fleet’s fuel costs with these four easy steps.

Cut Your Fleet’s Fuel Costs by Improving Driver Behavior

The way your driver moves has a serious impact on how much fuel your trucks use. For instance, if they drive at excessive speeds, brake harshly, and gun off after stopping at traffic lights, the trucks will consume a lot of fuel. This means you must invest in training your drivers and ensuring that they understand the importance of fuel-efficient driving techniques. This will not only help you to save money on fuel, but it can also help keep the drivers, pedestrians, and other motorists safe on the roads.

There are several Energy Saving Trust-approved eco-driving courses that your drivers can take so they understand how to drive properly. Research shows that trained drivers can help you save up to 6% over time, about 15% on the day a driver is trained.

Avoid Unnecessary Idling

Research shows that idling vehicles for prolonged periods is a practice that wastes fuel unnecessarily. Even though it seems like only a small amount of fuel is wasted when trucks idle, these amounts accumulate over time, and the wasted expenses can quickly add up, especially at the fleet level resulting in significant losses.

To avoid unnecessary idling, you must train your drivers to switch off their engines if they know they will be parking for a while. It is also important that they don’t overdo it because research also shows trucks that are started many times a day also consume a lot of fuel. If the stop is going to be prolonged, turning off the engine will have more benefits than just saving fuel. There will be less engine wear as well. Nowadays, you can use telematics software to let drivers know when they should switch off their trucks after shifting into park.

Set Speed Limits for Your Drivers

Speeding is a practice that wastes a lot of fuel, and it can also be quite dangerous. Research done by the UMTRI shows that truck drivers who move at high speeds waste a lot of fuel, and sometimes a truck’s fuel efficiency can be cut by as much as 30%. Therefore, it is important to set speed restrictions for your drivers to improve fuel efficiency and reduce safety risks.

Just like with idling, you can also use GPS fleet tracking and telematics to monitor driver speed and alert drivers when they should slow down and drive within the speed limits. There are also software options that can generate reports to indicate which drivers are driving too fast.

Stick to a Preventative Vehicle Maintenance Schedule

One of the things that are most associated with high fuel consumption is tire pressure. This is because a truck requires more power to accelerate when it’s running on deflated tires. This is why you must perform regular checks and take a proactive approach when it comes to maintaining your trucks. There are a lot of factors that can be ironed out, resulting in better performance and reduced fuel consumption.

By practicing the tips listed in this article, you can greatly reduce your fleet’s fuel consumption and improve your bottom line. Little things like tire pressure can seem like they won’t affect your business too much, but it’s those things that can affect your profitability.

Let Efficiency Enterprises help handle your fleet concerns; learn more about becoming a fleet management partner today.

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4 Ways To Minimize The Risk Of Risky Drivers In Your Fleet

Statistics show that on average commercial fleets have a disturbing 20 percent yearly accident rate – and that human error is behind nearly 80% of all these accidents. A high-risk driver can cost your firm as much as $70,000 in a single accident. To put this into perspective: it’s nearly double the cost of the average workplace injury.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that fleet managers are under increasing pressure, not only to identify risky drivers, but also to boost safety levels by doing whatever is necessary to remedy the situation.

If the safety of your fleet is a top priority, it’s imperative to change the driver issues that are causing all these accidents. But where do you start? Continue reading to find out.

Start by identifying high-risk drivers

If you only have three vehicles in your fleet, you will already know which one of the three drivers is a higher risk than the others. If you have 300 vehicles, things are much more complex. Work methodically. Start by checking all the drivers’ accident histories. Also, check every vehicle record. This will help to identify those drivers who have been involved in the highest number of accidents or who have abnormally high numbers of traffic violations on their record.

Classify these drivers into risk categories

Let’s say that, after studying all the vehicle and driver records, a list of 40 drivers who have an above-average number of infractions on their record emerges. That does not mean they are all in the same risk category. The next step is to classify them into risk groups.

At the bottom would be those with one or two equipment violations. The next group could be those with three or four violations, including breaking traffic rules. In an even higher risk group could be those with more than four violations, including serious speeding and other moving violations.

Right at the top should be those who have committed serious offenses like driving under the influence, ignoring stop signs or traffic lights, or exceeding the speed limit by more than 25mph.

Train and re-train problem drivers

Once it becomes clear who the high-risk drivers are and where the problem areas lie, the next step is corrective training. Whether this happens online, behind the wheel, or in a classroom, it should specifically focus on eliminating problem areas.

Some issues can easily be fixed by making sure the drivers in question get a refresher course that covers topics such as following distances, the dangers of speeding, driving in bad weather, etc. In other cases, the driver might have to be monitored behind the wheel to pinpoint and eliminate bad driving habits.

Create a culture of safe driving in your firm

While a once-off ‘drive safely’ campaign might be useful, in the long run, more will be needed. To keep the issue of safe driving on your drivers’ minds, consider doing the following:

Involve managers. Managers are in closer contact with drivers than the top management team. Start by making sure safe driving is one of their top priorities and request them to regularly stress the importance of this whenever they are in contact with drivers.

Safety meetings. Safe driving is important enough to warrant a regular meeting where you, for example, get someone from outside the firm to give a talk on this topic. It will also go a long way to keep safe driving on everyone’s mind.

Memos, emails, and newsletters. On their own, these are not enough. But when used as part of an ongoing safe driving campaign, they can help to keep the message alive. If one of your drivers, for example, celebrates 10 violation-free years, use one or more of these to make sure everyone knows about it.

Sources:

https://www.mixtelematics.com/safety
https://www.transpoco.com/blog/how-to-reduce-fleet-vehicle-accidents-starting-with-these-5-tips
https://www.automotive-fleet.com/340207/how-to-deal-with-high-risk-drivers
https://www.wilmarinc.com/blog/8-steps-to-handle-risky-drivers-in-your-fleet
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