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H&M Trucking Navigates Savings with Expert Fuel

For H&M Trucking, integrating leading-edge technology into its TMS means improved staff and driver efficiency, better customer service and a solid return on investment. Among these transformative solutions: Expert Fuel, Trimble Transportation’s powerhouse application that optimizes fuel-cost data for significant savings and helps H&M carry out its corporate credo “ahead of the curve.”

“H&M operates dry van and bulk hopper divisions” explained the carrier’s Project Solutions Manager Cyndi Meurrens. “Managing fuel and routing for each are very different as one is typically based on truckload and the other on weight. Expert Fuel enables us to differentiate settings for each division down to a granular state-by-state level to accommodate their unique needs.” 

Nebraska-based H&M Trucking has enjoyed impressive growth throughout its 35 years of operation. Staking its regional roots in grain transport and freight brokerage, today the carrier provides full-service transportation and nationwide logistics to clients throughout the lower 48 and Canada. Meurrens guides H&M’s IT function, and software and systems analysis, which gives her insight to areas operating at capacity and those needing a performance boost. 

“My goal,” she noted, “is to keep us moving forward with innovative technology to ensure efficiency, visibility, and, of course, improving the bottom line.” 

Meurrens’ words underscore the advantages and value Expert Fuel delivers, which include pinpointing the most cost-effective locations for fuel purchases, direct interface with rig operators through their in-cab units, driver compliance enhancement and anti-theft protection. 

Reduced Spend, Elevated Outcomes

Expert Fuel lets carriers negotiate volume purchasing discounts within a countrywide vendor network of trucking centers. Especially now, with diesel costs fluctuating, the technology helps fleets achieve ongoing dramatic savings.

H&M deployed Expert Fuel in 2010, and experienced approximately $500,000 in first-year savings; thirteen years later, H&M sees savings on fuel costs of roughly $1.6M annually.

“With Expert Fuel we have been able to secure lucrative discount deals with the top travel and fuel stop companies all over the country,” said Meurrens.
“When companies hear a fleet uses a fuel optimization program, they push to compete for that business as they know the software can deliver those gallons if they price it right.” 

H&M receives weekly reports that observe per gallon savings, measuring pump price against its real cost plus driver compliance with the fuel plan. Meurrens said the normal range for percentage is 10-20% of the pump price. 

More challenging to measure: recent fuel surcharge (FSC) due to the furious price fluctuations seen throughout much of 2022. Noting that most FSC lags from one week to 30 days, Meurrens explained, “When fuel costs are static, FSC normally satisfies our profit and loss statement as margins remain stable; unfortunately, when we see surges in price, customer FSC tends to run behind, lowering those margins.  As the fuel price stabilizes, FSC ‘catches up’ and our margins return to normal.”

H&M has seen considerable success in vehicle-operator compliance, with an average fulfillment of 94%, due perhaps to the company’s approach of not only educating drivers on the benefits of using Expert Fuel but also acknowledging their participation. 

“We helped them to understand how Expert Fuel takes the guesswork out of the whole process—let them see the program from the back side and how it would calculate the optimal route and where to stop for fuel for the entire trip,” said Meurrens.  “Drivers are able to plan for rest breaks, sleeper berth, and drive timing as soon as they receive their fuel solution for an order.  H&M also decided to include Expert Fuel compliance in its driver bonus program. We fully believe that drivers helping us save on fuel by following the Expert Fuel plans should share in those rewards as well.” 

Mapped for Success

H&M Trucking, a longtime user of TMW.Suite and TMT Fleet Maintenance, clearly recognizes the correlation between software and successful outcomes. 

 “We also have Expert Fuel integrated with PC Miler web tools where we can set preferred routes and those we want to avoid,” said Meurrens. “This makes it easy to assist our drivers with navigation and get the most from the fuel and routing plans. With automation and fuel savings, Expert Fuel has been an integral piece for H&M to remain competitive in the industry for both customers and drivers.”

H&M deployed Expert Fuel in 2010, and experienced approximately $500,000 in first-year savings; thirteen years later, H&M sees savings on fuel costs of roughly $1.6M annually.