Find the right solution for your business with our free Fleet Management Buyer’s Guide.
In the face of ever-growing state and federal regulations around sustainable fleet management and carbon emissions, owners and managers in many field services industries (e.g. HVAC, plumbing, electrical, landscaping) are feeling the pressure to “go green” and modernize their fleets. And there’s good reason that these fleets are in the environmental spotlight: transportation accounted for 28% (the largest portion) of total U.S. GHG emissions in 2016.1
With many operations now scrambling to shrink their carbon footprint and avoid looming penalties, it may seem that nothing short of a complete fleet overhaul will do. But before you start crunching numbers to calculate whether your business can handle a massive investment to revamp operations with a brand new hybrid fleet, keep in mind that there is another way.
Investing in a telematics solution is a simpler – and more affordable – alternative that enables changes in operating procedures which can dramatically improve sustainability and environmental soundness. Here are three ways that telematics technology can help lower your greenhouse gas emissions and improve your bottom line without the need for a hefty financial investment or major vehicle overhaul:
1. Reduce fuel consumption
Reducing your fuel consumption is not only the easiest way to reduce your environmental footprint, it’s also a fast way to cut fuel costs and positively impact your bottom line. Given that fuel is the largest operating expense for an operation dependent on multiple vehicles, using telematics tools to increase the fuel efficiency of your fleet can have a significant impact. An automated solution can track and monitor how your workers are operating fleet vehicles and where improvements can be made to driving behaviors -- all to improve fuel efficiency, reduce costs and, in the process, become a “greener” fleet.
2. Optimized routes
Another way fleet management technology can help you realize a “greener” fleet is by enabling you to optimize driving routes for your workers to reducing driving time. A telematics solution lets you determine the fastest, most direct route between job sites based on traffic patterns and other available data, so fleet vehicles are driven less and workers can spending less downtime between job locations while also minimizing fuel use. Drivers can also take advantage of navigation tools and GPS to avoid getting lost and streamline delivery scheduling, ultimately ensuring the least amount of time is spent consuming fuel and giving off emissions while on the road.
3. Reduced idle time
Time spent idling not only means workers aren’t contributing to the profitability of operations, it means fleet vehicles are consuming fuel unnecessarily and negatively impacting any “green” initiatives you put into place. With the right telematics solution, you can set alerts for any unnecessary idling beyond a specific time threshold you define as appropriate. This allows you to minimize idling among fleet vehicles and reduce fuel costs (and, in some states, avoid associated penalties).
The right support matters
Keep in mind that the adoption of any technology can’t happen in a vacuum. To support real change in the environmental sustainability of your operation, it’s important to get all technicians, drivers and employees on board at the outset. This ensures everyone is held accountable to the same standards and establishes trust among your team and helps to accelerate the ability to see positive results from your “greenification” efforts.
In addition, remember that not all telematics solutions are created equal. To get the most from your technology investment, look for one that offers:
- Access from anywhere: the ability to view data and maps on any device at any time
- Detailed maps: letting you view near real-time activity and current status of all vehicles, workers and equipment
- Easy-to-use dashboards: showing you up-to-the minute fuel and other analytics
- Coaching modules to help fleet managers underscore safe driving behaviors 365 days a year
Companies that rely on mobile workers to be productive can see significant gains by focusing on areas to cut unnecessary costs and wasted time in addition to adding jobs to their days. Tree Tech reported seeing savings of approximately $2,000 a month in fuel by monitoring speed, idling time and routes. Optimizing driving routes was especially key for Tree Tech President Andy Felix. “The solution shows us where traffic is heavy in the morning, so we can avoid certain routes that look really bogged down on the Verizon Connect screen."
United Subcontractrs Inc. (USI) implemented telematics to increase efficiencies all around and the estimates reducing fuel costs approximately10% as well as maintenance fees by 10%-15%. Integrating the fuel card system, for example, was also an important part of helping USI make informed and impactful decisions using fleet data. "[W]e’ve really been able to leverage all our information and data as best as possible,” says Jim Liverseed, Director of Facilities and Fleet Operations at USI. Knowledge really became powerful for USI in a variety of ways for its fleet. “I now know exactly how many miles each vehicle has on it. If a vehicle has low miles, I can take that from one branch and reallocate it to another branch. Something as simple as accurate odometer readings every day on a fleet of nearly 1,000 vehicles saves a company like USI thousands of dollars,” says Liverseed.