When people speak of fuel economy in terms of sustainability, they’re usually referring to the environment and our obligation to reduce our impact on it. However, it can also be said that by improving the efficiency of your fleet, you’re making your own business more sustainable as well. With slim margins, high fuel costs and given the hyper-competitive world in which you work, becoming more efficient is sometimes the only way to improve profitability. Every penny you don’t spend goes directly to your bottom line.
However, since reducing fuel consumption also benefits the environment, the trucking industry has some non-traditional allies in its pursuit of greater efficiency. Are you taking advantage of it?
Over the past decade, several organizations have sprung up that are committed to helping fleets improve their efficiency for the sake of cleaner air. As these organizations have evolved and gained a better understanding of the realities facing fleet operators, they’ve developed some extremely useful tools and research that for the most part is absolutely free of charge.
By now, you’ve most likely heard of the EPA SmartWay program. But did you know that here in Canada, its fleet members now have access to data analytics tools that essentially provide any-sized member company with a data department – at no cost? For several years now SmartWay has been providing its member fleets with benchmarking reports that compare their performance across several categories (ie. idle-time, mpg and asset utilization) to carriers of similar size and scope.
Most recently, the program has made available data analytics tools that allow member fleets to run their own queries and generate customized reports that drill down into areas of the most interest. The data analytics tool is available at the SmartWay portal where you go to access the SmartWay logo, etc. It’s a great time-killer and can produce a ton of valuable information to help your fleet better understand where it has room to further improve its efficiency in relation to similar companies, even within the same region.
You may not have heard of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), but it has produced some incredible research that delves into topics such as idle reduction, low rolling resistance tires, trailer aerodynamics and powertrain optimization. So far it has published seven Confidence Reports on these topics, giving fleets insight into how they can employ best practices to reduce their fuel consumption.
In addition to publishing Confidence Reports, NACFE also produces a number of tools to help fleets implement a fuel-saving program. These are all free of charge and can be found on www.TruckingEfficiency.org. You can read about NACFE’s two most recent Confidence Reports – on low rolling resistance tires and lightweighting – in this issue. But visit their site for tons more useful information on becoming a more efficient fleet. When it comes to improving the efficiency of your fleet, free help is available. The information is excellent and you can’t beat the price.