Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How to Make Your Fleet Greener by Robert J Hall

Increases in energy costs pose a challenge for all businesses, but even more so for those that rely on a fleet of vehicles to carry out everyday operations. It is especially advantageous for these businesses to develop a focus and implement strategies for green transport, energy efficiency, and sustainability in fleet management. These will dramatically improve the company's bottom line.

While energy prices are not likely to go down any time soon, there are a variety of strategies managers can implement in their fleet to reduce energy spending as well as lessen the company's environmental impact. Consider the following green fleet management ideas to improve your vehicle fleet's sustainability:

  • Expand the concept of "bottom line" Many companies have reduced their environmental impact by reconsidering what makes up the "bottom line" of their operations. These companies consider what they are doing for the planet and for their employees in addition to traditional profit generation. They are taking a more holistic view of the "bottom line" and broadening the definition of what constitutes a successful company. 
  • Set goals Changes that impact an entire fleet are not likely to take place overnight, but they will never happen unless goals are established. Set an emissions reduction goal and make the changes in fleet operations that work in that direction. Engage all of your staff in the pursuit of this goal by promoting awareness and enthusiasm for green initiatives. 
  • Driver education It is surprising just how much fuel consumption can be reduced by changing driver habits. In fact, 33% of fuel consumption can be changed on the highway with better driving habits. Practices that decrease fuel consumption also tend to reduce the occurrence of accidents. Initiatives that encourage vigilant driving and efficiencies involve little-to-no cost and improve overall safety of your fleet. 
  • Rethink vehicle functions It is not unusual for some company vehicles to have been purchased or dedicated to particular tasks at a time when fuel costs were much lower. Make sure that the size of the vehicle fits the task at hand. Is a large vehicle carrying out an operation that could be handled by a more efficient, compact vehicle? Taking a close look at what's going on in the fleet can inspire some simple, common-sense changes that could yield big savings.
  • Alternative Vehicle Fuel sources AVFs can save money on fuel expenditures, but also usually involve a significant initial investment. Fuel sources such as biodiesel, propane, and electricity are attracting attention in the business world, but it takes careful research and analysis to determine if these sources will improve your company’s bottom line. When determining whether to invest in AVFs, be sure to consider associated up-front costs and the availability of AVFs in your area.

Nowadays, effective managers need to consider the environmental friendliness of their company's practices. Engaging in environmentally friendly initiatives can do more than reduce fuel expenditures; it can also give a company favorable press exposure. A greener fleet benefits both a company's bottom line and its reputation.

About the author: Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leading provider of vehicle GPS tracking devices and software for small and midsized companies. www.trackyourtruck.com

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