Fleet Management: How You Can Help Create A Sustainable Future
Katrina, Harvey, Maria, Andrew, and now Ian. All born as a result of global warming. These storms alone have led to damages that have cost hundreds of billions of dollars in recovery and rehabilitation efforts, not to mention the catastrophic loss of life.
While we have made some progress in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions — that directly impacts global warming, there is still more work to do. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the transportation sector contributes the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions — 27%, but the transportation industry isn’t going anywhere. The movement of consumer goods and services relies heavily on fleets of vehicles.
Fleet managers play a vital role in reducing the carbon footprint their fleets leave behind. It’s critical that they adopt green fleet strategies to help clean up the environment. And while most companies have a pathway to transition many of their vehicles to electric, this will not happen overnight. Companies need actions they can take today to reduce carbon emissions.
Why is Fleet Sustainability Important
Decreasing the environmental impact of vehicles in a fleet should be a priority for all fleet managers. There are a lot of reasons why it’s important to create a green fleet strategy including:
Operating costs are reduced
By improving fuel efficiency, fuel costs are reduced, improving your bottom line. A predictive maintenance program improves vehicle uptime and recovery while repair and maintenance costs decrease.
Carbon footprint is reduced
The fleet is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions for many businesses. Your carbon footprint is reduced when you implement a green fleet strategy that focuses on sustainability and compliance with environmental social and governance (ESG) or corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. We all know that fully converting your entire fleet to electric can’t happen overnight, but taking significant steps towards eliminating CO2 emissions is possible.
Pressure from the supply chain is reduced
Larger organizations have targets for reducing their environmental impacts as part of overall ESG goals. The delivery of their goods is part of their strategy. If you have implemented a green fleet strategy, the impact is felt all through the supply chain.
Drivers become more engaged and happier
Driver retention increases, and new driver recruitment becomes much easier because working for responsible, positive employers is important to today’s workforce.
Overall road safety is improved
Because of a rigorous preventative maintenance schedule, fleets are safer to drive. Add that to eco-driving training practices that enable drivers to be more aware and, therefore, are safer on the road. The cost of insurance premiums drops as a result of drivers having fewer at-fault collisions.
How Sustainable Fleet Management Differs From Traditional Fleet Management
Companies have been managing fleets since the early 1900s, when Henry Ford first manufactured automobiles. The fleets that are managed today are significantly larger than they were over a hundred years ago. A lot has changed. We live in a very consumer-driven economy. It’s expected that consumers have access to the goods and services they desire quickly and efficiently. This has resulted in a notable growth in the size of fleets.
Traditional fleet management is part of the equation that negatively impacts the environment. The main goal of traditional fleet management is on physical vehicle procurement, internal policies around utilization and driving, maintenance and repairs, and replacing vehicles only when necessary. Fleet managers typically play a role in coaching drivers to improve safety, compliance, and liability. However, they don’t know each driver’s habits when behind the wheel, so a cookie-cutter safety program is provided to the drivers.
Sustainable fleet management is focused on how their actions impact the environment. They use data and intelligence to continuously measure and monitor fleet performance with clearly defined objectives and data parameters. Transport demand management, cleaner fuels and technologies, and efficient vehicle use are steered by data-driven information, unlike the educated guessing in traditional fleet management.
What is a Sustainable Fleet Management Strategy?
An effective, sustainable fleet management strategy will enable an organization to reduce its carbon footprint through:
- Promoting efficient driving
- Reducing unnecessary idling
- Optimizing routes
- Practicing proactive vehicle maintenance
No one strategy will be the same for every fleet. Fleet managers need to consider many different factors before determining which objectives to measure and monitor.
- What are the existing fleet-related policies that have been implemented?
- What monitoring is currently being done?
- What measures do you currently have in place to minimize vehicle mileage?
- How do you encourage fuel-efficient use with drivers?
- Who is responsible for inspecting vehicles and keeping drivers accountable?
After considering these and any other factors that will impact your sustainable fleet management strategy, you can begin to focus on creating your strategy. Define what objectives and data parameters you want to measure and monitor. Choose the tools you will use to help measure and monitor those objectives and data parameters. Don’t forget one of the most important parts of a fleet, the drivers. Come up with a continuous education plan to give them the knowledge and skills to help achieve the goals of your strategy.
Sustainable Fleet Management Solution for a Cleaner Future
While there is no single approach to building a sustainable fleet, fleet managers can assess and focus on a variety of areas to lower their impact on the environment. It all starts with turning data into action. Using the right software, fleet managers can gain a holistic, data-driven view of how their entire fleet operates. This allows them to then customize their vehicles to make them work in the most effective way possible, leaving the smallest carbon footprint on the environment as possible. It’s important to remember that these changes may seem insignificant when you look at the larger picture of global warming. However, if fleet managers all take these steps, over time, the impact won’t be quite so small.
Learn more about how Derive can help reduce fuel consumption, create safer driving habits, and how we are on a mission to eliminate 1.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the environment through our 15% Club.