The past year has been full of continuing and emerging challenges for the trucking industry, especially regarding rising fuel costs. TMS software can help cut fuel costs by allowing you to reduce fuel surcharges, plan fuel-efficient routes, and monitor driver behaviour that could negatively impact fuel usage.
The past year has been full of continuing and emerging challenges for the trucking industry. The rise in consumer demand for goods during the pandemic started to wane earlier this year. This shift in consumer spending has been amplified by rising inflation, which continues to affect how major chains manage their supply chains. While spot rates are down 11%, contract freight is holding steady—but it costs carriers more to move those loads.
Rising inflation also drives up diesel fuel prices and reduces profitability for trucking companies and owner-operators. According to the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook from the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, average retail diesel prices will continue to be more than $5 per gallon through 2022 and into early 2023.
Reducing fuel usage is critical to carriers looking for ways to navigate these uncertain economic times. Improving fuel economy can be one of the most significant factors in making your operation profitable. One of the fastest ways to do this is by implementing a transportation management system (TMS) to help reduce fuel usage and save money. TMS platforms provide detailed data and analytics that can save your fleet fuel and time—and reduce your maintenance budget.
At over $5 a gallon, saving every drop of fuel counts. An intelligent TMS can help reduce fuel costs across your fleet by optimizing loads and routes so your fleet is running as efficiently as possible. It can also help you avoid shipment delays and empty miles, as well as other routing issues.
Poor routing ultimately wastes driver time and fuel, which can drive up carrier costs. Using the right TMS enables your team to effectively plan out routes across your entire fleet, optimizing them for the fastest routes possible with the fewest construction or congestion-related delays. A TMS can be even more useful for LTL shipments since intelligent software can plan your routing based on the most efficient stops with the highest calculated profitability. Manual route planning is subject to human error and simply cannot keep up with the efficiency and reliability of a TMS.
Another high cost that TMS software can reduce is fuel surcharges (FSCs). Our Breakthrough Fuel Module enables automated estimations and billing of FSCs that can standardize the FSCs that are paid. You can update carriers on the FSCs during the contract through to completion via automated email notifications. A good TMS should have tools to help you keep track of fluctuations in fuel surcharge prices so that you can adjust your billing accordingly.
Rising fuel costs are another reason for adopting data-driven TMS software platforms. An intelligent telematics system can collect and analyze data and help you automate key tasks like your Hours of Service (HOS), workflow, trailer tracking, and the dispatching and management of your entire fleet.
Telematics data can provide your team with actionable insights on miles or kilometres driven, vehicle idle time, fuel economy, and ways to optimize routing. Telematics data can even help identify simple issues like low tire pressure that can add up to high fuel wastage.
Optimizing operator behaviour and identifying potentially high fuel usage driving issues is another way TMS software can help identify fuel usage issues before they become a significant problem.
Using TMS software and collecting telematics data can also help identify erratic driver behaviour that could be a safety issue for your business. It can also be a valuable tool to help you recognize when and where drivers are going off route so you can collect accurate odometer and fuel usage information.
TMS software can provide preventative maintenance recommendations for all your vehicles and trailers by collecting telematics and other vehicle data from your fleet. These recommendations can cover everything from tire rotation schedules, oil and filter changes, and mileage-based engine and mechanical maintenance that, over time, can increase fuel use and decrease profitability.
Using these proactive recommendations puts you in the driver’s seat to avoid major repairs and maintenance that can lead to downtime, surprise fleet operating costs, and low customer satisfaction.
Some TMS software can even allow you to upload video from your vehicles’ forward-facing cameras so you can verify incidents, absolve drivers of liability from an accident, and improve your driver training feedback loop.
Fuel is one of the most expensive aspects of running a commercial trucking business. As fuel prices continue to rise, now is the time to start monitoring your fleet to reduce fuel usage.
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