Fleet management is on the move — quite literally. The latest entry by Fuel Card Services (FCS) in its Fleet Matters series identifies the ways fleet management is shifting for managers. It's not just technology that's changing the way fleets and their payments are managed. According to Fuel Card Services, there are five areas in which fleet is undergoing an evolution.
Driverless Cars, Drones And Duty Of Care
The risks of managing fleets are changing, the company said in its latest issue. Over-the-road fleets are especially exposed to this risk, especially as changes in legislation impact how fleet management companies remain compliant.
As a U.K.-based firm, Fuel Card Services identified the nation's Modern Transport Bill currently in the works by policymakers as an example. The legislation would aim to support the introduction of driverless vehicles on the road, while top auto firms, like Audi, Jaguar, BMW and Toyota, are all investing in the technology.
The scope of driverless technology will eventually widen into fleet, Fuel Card Services said.
"Sooner or later, every fleet manager will have to contemplate the issue of driverless road vehicles," the firm said in its issue. A more immediate impact of the technology, however, is how fleet vehicles will interact with driverless ones. The same goes for the rise in drone technology, too, it added.
The Type Of Fuel Matters
The cost of additives in fuel can hit fleet management firms unexpectedly.
"One of the key differences between diesel and petrol — only a minor factor at procurement time — is easily overlooked and can become an unpleasant surprise for drivers," Fuel Card Services warned. That factor is new legislation on emissions limits and the way vehicles and fuel types meet those standards.
Additives in fuel, like one called AdBlue, help vehicles to remain compliant with these rules but can mean extra costs for the company when procuring that diesel fuel, the report explained. Fleet managers need to clarify who at the company will pay for this expense.
Fuel Card Services pointed to a report that found that more than one-third of U.K. company car drivers are unfamiliar with U.K. legislation and basic road laws.
"It raises a serious question, yet to be researched," the issue said. "Do fleet managers realize that many of their drivers may be putting themselves, other employees and the public at risk?"
According to the issue, it's not only newer laws that remain unfamiliar to drivers and fleet managers. FCS argues that fleet managers do not always check the most basic of requirements for drivers, like their licenses. Fleet managers must develop internal controls to ensure adequate driver qualifications and education of current road regulations, the report concludes.
Watch Out For Truck Platooning
There's a new government initiative that's sure to catch the eyes of fleet drivers and managers in the coming months, Fuel Card Services warns. It's called truck platooning, and it involves a fleet of trucks electronically linked so that the leading vehicle controls the actions of the trucks behind it.
It's another form of driverless technology that could lead to lower fuel consumption, reduced emissions and less space occupied by fleet trucks on the road.
Procurement Cost Savings
Finally, Fuel Card Services advises fleet managers to get educated on the various methods of procurement they can tap into to generate cost savings. Procurement and spend analytics technologies need to be deployed to develop strategies for annual servicing and maintenance, repairs and other expenses, the issue said.
And with the rise and fall of oil costs, fuel cards can also be a part of this strategy to prepare for incoming expenses.
The final conclusion? "Review your refueling strategy, comparing the whole fuel card market, regularly and frequently," stated Fuel Card Services.