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5 Ways Technology Can Help You Navigate Rising Fuel Costs

Fuel costs are a major part of any transportation company’s budget, representing about a quarter of their costs on average. With fuel prices hitting historically high levels, the rising cost of fuel is cutting into the profits of fleets and placing extreme pressure on profit margins. 

Many Trimble solutions enable fleets to improve fuel consumption and optimize operations, allowing organizations to increase their margins considerably.  

With no end in sight to the high prices at the pump, this post takes a look at how leveraging technology can optimize operations and help alleviate these price pressures, including through: 

Optimizing the dispatch process

An optimized dispatch solution prescriptively suggests matches between loads, drivers and equipment. Through Trimble Dispatch Advisor, carriers can identify and select the best loads to increase on-time delivery, reduce empty miles and improve driver utilization. 

Trimble Dispatch Advisor reviews all available matches by utilizing a variety of variables, including location, driver Hours of Service (HOS) data, time windows and more, such as the effects of selecting a specific load on future orders. The system then recommends a primary match, along with reasons for the recommendation. Additional matches are also suggested, including an estimated impact to the company should they choose any of the other options rather than the first or primary match.

Another way to optimize dispatch is by having reliable routing details. Trimble users have access to PC*Miler, carriers, brokers and shippers are able to quickly establish pricing, payroll, and invoice details for routes. This leads to streamlined billing processes while reducing fuel costs from out-of-route mileage. 

Coaching drivers on real-time fuel usage

Trimble recently announced a collaboration with Tenstreet to integrate Trimble’s fleet management solution with Tenstreet's True Fuel® technology. True Fuel combines real-time driver coaching with insightful fuel efficiency data, and fleets that implement the real-time in-cab audible coaching typically see a 3 to 10 percent reduction in their annual fuel spend. 

A key benefit of True Fuel is its ability to impact fuel economy in real-time as opposed to only reporting on it after the fact. One of the ways the platform does this is through real-time driver coaching functionality, helping drivers eliminate fuel waste as it occurs to substantially reduce a fleet’s overall fuel costs.

Enhancing route planning and navigation

Fleet and route optimization technologies can maximize utilization of vehicles and load capacity while reducing miles driven, which in turn reduces emissions and fuel costs. Businesses can choose which roads work best for them and make routing decisions based on the mileage, estimated drive time, and toll cost. Being able to make these educated calculations is something fleets won’t find within consumer map data.

Commercial vehicle-specific routing reduces out-of-route miles, and removes all the unknowns and guesswork, empowering drivers with the information they need to know to confidently make it from Point A to Point B. It’s so important for the trucking industry to use a solution built specifically for trucks because the experience of driving a heavy-duty truck is completely different from driving a consumer vehicle. Trimble’s CoPilot solution is proven to lower fuel costs by reducing out-of-route mileage by 7 to 10 percent on average.

For final mile drivers completing the last mile of the delivery journey, Trimble MAPS’ Appian solution aids this unique sector to reduce both hours and miles while improving vehicle utilization.

Monitoring driver and vehicle performance

With Trimble’s Vusion platform, transportation companies can boost their decision-making and take advantage of the platform’s embedded analytics to improve fuel economy – truck by truck, engine by engine, driver by driver. Besides automating IFTA fuel tax reporting and generating road-use tax forms, the platform can also help identify when fuel theft occurs. 

Another add-on that can help your drivers out by knowing when and where to stop for diesel is Expert Fuel. The tool analyzes routes and selects the best location for fuel based on price, discounts, and quantity needed. Expert Fuel downloads detailed wholesale and retail pricing feeds daily to ensure drivers are purchasing fuel at the lowest available price.

The health of a fleet’s trucks can also be a key variable in their fuel economy. Utilizing fleet maintenance technology such as Trimble’s TMT Fleet Maintenance software can give you and your maintenance team a comprehensive view into your equipment. From accessing service and warranty records to enabling better part inventory management - this technology can help carriers realize greater asset availability, longer service life and the lowest possible cost-per-mile.

Reducing truck idling

While some amount of idle time will be unavoidable, it is possible to lower idling time across your fleet in order to increase fuel efficiency. Beyond having drivers employ a variety of idle-reduction equipment like fuel-operated heaters, auxiliary power units, diesel or electric APUs, battery-powered HVAC systems and automatic engine start/stop systems, there are also anti-idling technology solutions wrapped into fleet management software solutions. 

Fleet management software and analytics can help ensure a fleet’s drivers are taking the most efficient routes between destinations, analyzing if a specific process is causing a driver to repeatedly idle in the same spot, and offering real-time driver and vehicle performance data.

Address rising fuel prices with Trimble technology

With so many technology solutions to address rising fuel prices, it can be overwhelming to select the one(s) to address your fleet's needs and concerns. 

If you’re feeling the pinch at the pump and want to learn how your organization can best integrate some additional cost-cutting solutions, we invite you to reach out to Trimble today for a personal consultation about implementing this type of technology in your business.