A Fleet Manager's Guide To Fuel Management Systems
As a fleet manager, you’ll be well aware of the big impact that fuel costs have on your organisation’s bottom line. It’s easy to think of this as a fact of life & that there’s nothing you can do about it, but that’s not entirely true. Smart fleet managers are using fuel management systems to cut fuel costs, inform themselves & their business, & prevent wastage & loss.
What is a fuel management system?
A fuel management system is a means for an organisation that handles fuelling internally to closely monitor & control fuel stocks across any number of locations, both attended & unattended. The system accurately logs every time fuel is transferred or a vehicle is fuelled, along with unique identifiers for the vehicle or individual, & provides real-time visibility of the information generated. This gives fleet managers far more control over stock levels & fuel costs, & helps them to ensure accountability across the whole fleet.
How do they work?
Most fuel management systems use a physical identifier for vehicles such as a card or, in the case of Hytek’s systems, a durable & hardwearing datatag. This can be encoded with vehicle data as well as the correct fuel type & fuel limits per vehicle or per transaction, if required.
At the same time, a numerical keypad allows drivers & people responsible for fuelling vehicles to enter their own unique PIN along with mileage data. This means that each transaction is totally transparent, with the amount & type of fuel dispensed logged alongside the vehicle & individuals using it.
All of this data is recorded & made available to fleet managers. Older systems required a physical check of the fuelling hardware, or a PC permanently connected to it, but modern systems are entirely internet-based. This allows real-time visibility from anywhere in the world, & without any need to install software.
What are the benefits?
Make decisions based on data.
For many fleet managers, simply being able to accurately monitor fuel usage & stock levels across multiple sites is a huge benefit. All data is fully up-to-date & is available 24/7 from Hytek’s secure servers, making it far easier to report on & refine your operations, provide data to senior management, plan ahead, & make informed decisions.
Identify problems & plan solutions.
A fuel management system also allows you to identify any problems early & take steps to remedy them before they turn into a significant cost. This may include identifying opportunities to provide specific additional driver training which, being backed by data, can be more targeted & efficient.
Track & report.
Hytek’s modern, web-based fuel management software allows users to create customised reports so you can view exactly the data that is relevant to you quickly & easily, & track it consistently on an ongoing basis.
Monitor key information.
With its detailed reporting at a per vehicle & per driver level, a fuel management system allows you to closely & accurately monitor vehicle MPG or KM/L & CO2 emissions. This quickly highlights the efficiency of individual vehicles as well as the driving efficiency of drivers. Without a fuel management system this sort of information can be inaccessible, or has to be laboriously collected from different systems & locations. With a fuel management system, it can become a regular part of your planning & fleet management process, allowing you to make small efficiencies that add up to significant savings.
Knowing exactly where your fuel stocks are, & where fuel has gone, makes it far easier to prevent loss or theft. Every drop is accounted for, leaks & attempted theft are flagged up straight away, & any discrepancies in fuelling versus mileage will quickly become apparent on your reports.
Keep fuel costs down.
Paying for fuel on public forecourts is not only expensive, it’s also unpredictable. Prices rise & fall unexpectedly & vary considerably from location to location. The only way to keep your fuel prices both predictable & low is to buy in bulk, manage your own fuel stocks, & ensure that your fleet refuels at your locations using your stock. A fuel management system makes it easy to set up this process & then ensure that fuel stocks are maintained efficiently & at the best price.
How easy is it to set up?
Hytek provides a number of options for fuel management systems. The FC10 is integrated into a fuel transfer pump & is installed as a single unit, while the FC05 & FC20 are standalone systems that can be quickly & easily set up to control multiple new or existing fuel transfer pumps (FC05 up to 2 pumps & the FC20 up to 4).
The FC10 & FC20 systems come with a GPRS modem connection allowing them to be installed with the absolute minimum of site disruption, or the FC05 allows for quick & easy data transfer via USB stick, so requires no on-site commissioning.
Hytek’s fuel management software, meanwhile, is completely web-based. This means that absolutely no new components or software needs to be installed on your system, there is no danger of software crashes or system hang-ups, no requirement for regular updates, & it works on any PC running Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Firefox web browsers.
Once the fuel control system is installed, it is all pre-programmed & ready to use straight away. Firmware & software is kept automatically up to date via the web, so you’ll never be unable to access your data.
The bottom line
Most businesses find that the efficiency, ease of use & hard cost savings from using a fuel management system quickly outweigh the initial costs of purchase & installation. With all other elements of businesses increasingly closely tracked & monitored, it makes sense to apply the same rigour & smart thinking to fuel, & stop it from being just an unpredictable & opaque hit on your bottom line.