A well-executed fuel management program can save money and help your business grow. Fuel prices fluctuate based on where your fleet operates, as well as the type of fuel it uses. Fleet managers are often eager to optimize fuel spend. After all, saving a penny or two per gallon can offer tremendous savings in the long run.
When putting together a fuel management program, here are a few things to consider:
1. If you don’t already have one, it may be time to create a fuel management program.
Fleets purchase millions of gallons of fuel every day by with no set fuel management policy in place. Taking the time to develop a fuel purchasing program can dramatically reduce operational overhead. Purchase policies built out through a B2B fleet fuel card are easy to craft and prevent unwanted spend that accompanies drivers with open loop credit cards or cash.
2. Facilitate driver input and engagement.
Fleet managers can take initiative to curb wasteful spend. In order to be successful, you’ll need engagement and buy-in from drivers. Once the program is built, train drivers on all program elements and have them sign a contract stating they agree to follow the fuel management policy, which states they’re aware of program parameters and will adhere to them. Invest in a reward mechanism for desired fueling behavior. If drivers are going to help the business save a great deal of money, make sure to invest some of that return to say thank you to drivers for making that possible.
3. Leverage buying power.
Concentrate purchasing power and use it to secure fuel discounts at truck stops or gas stations that want your gallons. Fuel retailers are generally willing to commit to fuel discounts if the fleet agrees to a gallon commitment. When thinking about fuel discounts, leverage your fuel card provider for insight around your operational footprint and use them as a consultant.
4. Keep track of fuel invoices.
If you’re not paying attention to spend, there is no point in building a fuel management program. Taking time to analyze fuel invoices can help in numerous ways. There are instances where the fine print contained in fuel card terms and conditions allows a billing card company to add cents to a gallon of fuel to obtain a minimum margin. Another scenario is making sure fuel discounts agreed to by merchants are applied properly. Paying attention to fuel invoices is vital to managing spend.
5. Conduct quarterly fuel program reviews.
A successful fuel management program is continually tweaked and evaluated. Avoid the “set it and forget it” mentality, which can cause fleet managers to become complacent. Instead, take time to identify ways to enhance or harmonize fuel spend to ensure the program is running optimally. A few questions to consider:
- Have the needs of your fleet changed?
- Have market conditions changed?
- Do you have the line of credit you need?
- Are drivers fueling according to policy?
- Can you obtain a better discount with a gallon shift strategy?
- Are your fraud prevention controls up to date?
Facilitating a successful management program doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does take commitment, oversight and engagement by fleet managers and drivers. Utilizing a quality B2B fuel card is a step in the right direction and can do a lot of heavy lifting during the building of your program. It can also connect interested fleets with consultants that identify elements of a fuel management program to help your fleet grow.