Tips And Tricks For A Top-Notch Fleet

Successful fleet management is hardly a simple task, especially with evolving technologies and mandates across the U.S. about the need for “green” fueling options. So, what can managers do to ensure that they’re getting a true bang for their buck, while also keeping company information secure? Michael Lingman, director of WEX Inc. Direct Fleet Sales discussed the finer points in a webinar, reassuring those out there that a complicated task does not have to be an impossible one.

Fleet managers have an immense task in front of them. There are drivers to manage, vehicles to maintain and large amounts of data to sift through to ensure that customers remain satisfied. So, what exactly needs to be done to keep the process as smooth as possible?

At a recent webinar WEX’s Michael Lingman explained that they key for a well-rounded fleet program is to “consider the program holistically.” Until an organization understands what goals it wants to accomplish, what tools are currently in place and which ones must still be acquired Fleet Management will be more difficult than necessary.

Level III Data

Properly using the tools already in place is key. Payment cards, for example, have a lot of potential to lighten loads and make work more efficient, but only when they are used properly.

When drivers use a card, it’s crucial that fleet managers have access to all data connected with that transaction. Approximately 30 percent of that data is lost, according to Lingman, because it’s simply not captured. This is where being able to see Level III data comes in handy.

According to Lingman, Level III data is compiled of enhanced transaction details that identify not just the when and where behind a purchase, but also the who, what and why – the most important detail.

“Most credit cards can extract when a driver fuels and how much he purchases, but Level III enables fleet card users to capture that and more,” Lingman said, adding that details such as odometer readings can be recorded.

Purchase cards that have this level of security also require driver and vehicle identification numbers, which set it apart. At the point of sale, drivers must enter their ID number or the transaction cannot be completed.

Properly utilized tools create what Lingman called a “closed loop” network. While generic bank cards can put some limitations on purchases, the closed loop option can specify what a driver buys at different locations. For example, a fleet manager could restrict purchases at a specific fuel station to only include fuel, oil and service charges. If the driver attempted to buy a drink, that purchase would be denied.

Electronic Systems And Total Cost

Lingman further discuss discussed how strong electronic system to streamline administrative duties. Apart from mandates being implemented across the country for fleet services to “go green,” things like paperless billing can reduce waste and eliminate redundant efforts, Lingman said.

Additionally, the right electronic system can assist fleet managers in a crucial task: calculate total ownership cost.

“There are other expenses that can add to fuel costs,” Lingman explained, saying that something as simple as a driver who tends to speed could increase that price. Or a driver who brakes excessively could affect maintenance fees associated with a vehicle.

“Driving habits of people across the country are changing,” Lingman said. “There are more efficient vehicles and people are driving less distances. Is your fleet doing the same?”

By regularly reviewing total purchase data, fleet managers can identify opportunities for savings and then evaluate how successful things like a fuel policy were implemented. Additionally, this can help catch unfavorable consumption patterns and ensure that the company has customizable reporting.

Not all fleet programs are the same, Lingman said, which is perfectly fine. As long as executives understand the ins and outs of their organization and are willing to make the necessary changes to keep it profitable, fleet companies can find new ways to thrive.

Just last week discussed the importance of fleet management companies being willing to adapt their business strategy, or run the risk of being left behind. Experts predict that over the next few years, the total number of third-party logistics firms across the country will shrink – mainly due to mergers and acquisitions. By ensuring that your fleet profile is outlined with current data, payment cards are secure and that the ideal program is in place, fleet managers will further guarantee the success for their organization.


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