20 October 2020
vital process of fleet preparation
“Fail to prepare and
prepare to fail” as the old adage goes, but it’s not just a saying when it
comes to fuel logistics.
It’s up to fleet
managers to ensure their drivers and vehicles are ready for the road in every
aspect possible, from legal compliance and health and safety, to fuel
management and vehicle maintenance and inspection.There’s a lot to consider,
even before a single vehicle leaves HQ.
prolonged nature of the global pandemic means operators need to be even more
aware than usual of current and future fuel logistics industry requirements, and
therefore ready to deal with unexpected fluctuations in demand.
A fleet manager needs
digital support to ensure a fleet is prepared for any eventuality, as we
Managing driver hours
In the UK, all
employers of goods vehicle drivers must abide by drivers’ hours regulations set
by the Department for Transport (DfT). Fleet managers must therefore plan
routes and job schedules that ensure drivers work within the regulations, while
also maximising the efficiency of their time behind the wheel.
The way to strike this
balance is through automated job allocation and route planning and optimisation. As part of a fuel logistics management
system, these features enable a fleet manager to enter a list of required drops
and rely on the software to assign jobs and routes to their drivers in the most
resource-efficient way, while also accounting for break times, consecutive
hours off and legal shift limits. Drivers are able to achieve the optimum
number of drops during their working hours, without losing any of the downtime
that’s so vital for road safety and health and wellbeing.
planning functionality also allows fleet managers to respond to changes in
legislation, such as the DfT’s temporary relaxation of its drivers’ hours
regulations earlier this year. Optimisation software enables instant adaption
to longer working hours, automatically planning the extra time while saving
hours of manual scheduling.
Keeping vehicles roadworthy
HGVs are built to be
robust, but any vehicle that’s constantly on the move will require serious
upkeep. Just as fleet managers have a duty of care towards their drivers, they
must also ensure the fleet itself is maintained which, of course, links back to
driver safety too.
Current government guidance states that every HGV should be subject to a
daily walk-around inspection before a shift starts, as well as regular safety
inspections and statutory annual tests. Drivers know their vehicles best, so it
makes sense that they’re the ones who take on this vital duty.
Our fuel logistics
software comes with a vehicle inspection app, which can be downloaded on any
connected smartphone or mobile device. The simplicity and convenience of a
digital inspection checklist to work through means drivers can run through
daily inspections with ease, and automatically send back their findings to
fleet managers via the system in real time. When it comes to more in-depth
inspections and MOTs, fleet managers can set a maintenance schedule that
reflects the realities of their operations, such as the age of their vehicles,
the types of loads they transport and the distances they cover. Vehicles that
regularly ship heavy loads over long distances will need more frequent
maintenance checks and with digital reminders in place, these will never be missed.
Getting the load right
Perhaps the most
important part of fleet preparation is ensuring each vehicle is loaded with the
correct amount of stock to be delivered. This is essential from the perspective
of a business’s customers of course, but also in terms of fuel management, a
central element of effectively running a fuel logistics fleet. Under or
overloaded vehicles will cost an organisation in excess fuel (underloading due
to having to drive further to make up the shortfall, and overloading since too
much weight will increase fuel consumption), as well as potentially risking
customer relations due to a failure to make accurate drops.
operation’s weighing systems must work hand-in-hand with its management
software, providing precise on-board stock monitoring and visibility from the moment vehicles are
loaded. This way, fleet managers can confirm that each one is carrying the
optimum load amount for fuel efficiency and order fulfilment before every