Commercial fleets incur various costs associated with the operation and maintenance of their vehicles. Those fleet costs, including fuel costs that make up as much as a quarter of a fleet’s budget, continue to increase. Telematics offers solutions that can help better contain costs in a variety of fleet operational areas.
It’s an issue that is not going away anytime soon. A 2022 report from the American Trucking Research Institute (ATRI) found that the operational cost of trucking in 2021 increased to its highest level: $1.855 per mile. C.H. Robinson, one of the largest logistics platforms in the United States, forecasts that number will reach $1.88 per mile by the end of 2023.
Those numbers are averages that include everything from owner-operators to large fleets. However, they provide an indication of the direction fleet costs are going. That’s why many fleet managers, looking for ways to save every dollar possible, have turned to the advanced technology in telematics systems to help them better contain operational costs.
Some of the Biggest Areas of Fleet Costs
When considering fleet costs, certain areas also emerge as among the most expensive for fleets, year in and year out.
Fuel expenses are a major component of operating costs for commercial fleets. The price of fuel, fuel efficiency, and the number of miles driven all contribute to this significant expense. Telematics provides fuel solutions, including fuel cards that help managers better control where and when fuel is purchased. Also, driving training informed by data on their actual performance behind the wheel, can lead to saving on habits that burn excess fuel, such as excessive idling or speeding.
Vehicle Maintenance and Repairs
Regular maintenance and unscheduled repairs can be substantial costs for commercial fleets. Preventive maintenance is crucial to extending the lifespan of vehicles and minimizing unexpected breakdowns. Telematics systems can monitor engineer performance and alert managers and drivers to potential malfunctions before they lead to costly roadside breakdowns. They also can create maintenance schedules that ensure preventative maintenance is done on each vehicle.
Insurance costs for commercial vehicles, including liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, can be a significant expense. The cost depends on factors such as the type of vehicles, their usage, and the driving records of the fleet’s drivers. Telematics systems can help you check out each driver thoroughly, ensuring that you are hiring drivers with a good track record.
Purchasing or leasing new vehicles can be a significant upfront cost for fleets. This includes the cost of the vehicles themselves as well as any financing fees. Telematics can extend the life of current vehicles, helping reduce vehicle acquisition costs.
Regulatory Compliance and Fines
Staying compliant with various regulations, including safety standards, emissions requirements, and hours-of-service regulations, may involve costs for training, documentation, and potential fines for non-compliance. Telematics offers a suite of services that focus on making a fleet’s vehicles compliant with government regulations.
Understanding and managing these costs effectively is crucial for the financial sustainability and success of commercial fleets. Implementing cost-saving measures, optimizing routes using telematics, and adopting fuel-efficient technologies are some strategies to help mitigate these expenses. In all these areas, telematics can provide much-needed help.
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