No need to be reminded that oil prices are higher than ever. Although some of these ideas may be familiar, if even one is effectively applied, real dollars may be saved. Shared here by Ryder System, Inc. these simple strategies are aimed at mitigating the impact of rising fuel costs. These operating practices can be implemented immediately to improve fleet fuel efficiency.
Train drivers to practice fuel-efficient driving techniques: Speed is the largest single factor impacting large-truck fuel economy. Simply reducing speed from 65mph to 55mph can result in an improvement in miles per gallon of as much as 22%.
Improve tire maintenance: Correct tire pressure, alignment and frequent tire maintenance have a significant impact on fuel economy. Have drivers check for visual defects before starting work each day and use the recommended inflation pressure provided by the tire manufacturer.
Specify fuel-efficient equipment: New engine technologies, improved aerodynamics and weight-saving designs are available to improve the fuel economy of today's fleets. Ryder, for example, has a line of RydeGreen vehicles that include several “green” features designed to reduce fuel consumption, including 2007 engine technology, an auxiliary power unit to reduce idling, frame-side fairings to reduce wind resistance, an automated direct drive transmission and fuel efficient drive tires.
Implement an ongoing preventive maintenance program: A well-maintained vehicle is a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Consider outsourcing maintenance of the fleet to an experienced third-party provider, or at least make sure the fleet is on a scheduled maintenance program for even the most routine care to optimize performance.
Leverage technology: Take advantage of new telematics and onboard diagnostics systems that help fleet owners analyze fuel purchases, optimize routes and monitor idle time and vehicle performance — all which mitigate rising fuel costs.
Integrate real-time inventory visibility in the warehouse: Leverage innovative technology to streamline and improve the accuracy of inventory levels and reduce unnecessary trips.
Optimize distribution networks: Establish regional distribution centers to serve customers on demand and optimize and consolidate routes, reducing the number of loads to require fewer trips and less idling.
Consider a dedicated fleet solution: Control routes, fuel consumption and idle time with dedicated assets, drivers and strategic route planning.
Improve transportation management: Coordinate supplier shipments to consolidate freight costs and negotiate better rates and leverage multiple modes.
Ryder, a provider of leading-edge transportation, logistics and supply chain management solutions worldwide, offers a Pro-TREAD driver training program that includes a specific module on fuel management. It is available at www.rydersafetyservices.com.