Fuel Efficient Driving Now Vital Industry Issue, say UK Haulage Managers
02 May 2014
Road haulage managers believe greater adoption of fuel efficient driving behaviour holds the key to reducing the industry’s fuel consumption and, subsequently, fuel-related costs and CO2 emissions in the short-term, according to new independent research commissioned by Shell.
The Fuel Matters 2014 study, a comprehensive look at the fuel management practices of more than 200 managers of UK-based road haulage operators, found that two thirds (67 per cent) single out improving their drivers’ fuel efficient motoring skills as the most effective way to reduce fuel consumption. Not only that, over half (54 per cent) think tackling the issue could single-handedly cut fuel bills by five per cent or more, while more than one in 10 (12 per cent) believe the saving could be greater than 10 per cent.
Nearly half (46 per cent), however, also say they feel powerless to capitalise on the opportunity due to a lack of resources in personnel, funds for driver training and information.
Phil Williams, Head of Shell Commercial Fleet UK, said:
“In a world of tighter margins, stricter environmental legislation and a growing need to prove green credentials during customer tenders, fuel efficient driving can make a real difference to the profitability of a haulage business. This is why many operators feel frustrated that they don’t have the resources to capitalise upon the opportunities available.”
According to half (49 per cent) of road haulage managers, the key to improving fuel efficient driving behaviour lies in the effective use of fuel management telematics systems, devices that track vehicles’ fuel consumption and driver performance and, subsequently, identify areas for operational improvements. Yet despite this, the study also suggests due to a lack of resources many are struggling to make the most of the insights such systems provide. In fact, nine in 10 (87 per cent) admit they are currently only able to use and action less than 60 per cent of the insights generated. Nearly half (45 per cent) are able to use less than 30 per cent. More than one in three (38 per cent) road haulage managers also harbour concerns about convincing drivers to adopt more fuel efficient behaviour in the first place.
According to Phil Williams, the findings are symptomatic of a major shift in the job itself:
“Nowadays, the role of a road haulage operator has become more important – and much more complex. Not only are they required to manage day-to-day fleet operations, they also have to stay on top of emissions regulations, investigate new fuel and vehicle solutions, and find ways to minimise fuel consumption. Many managers are telling us they’re just not getting the support they need to deliver this. We hope that the advice and guidance we are providing to fleet managers through Fuel Matters 2014 will help them to achieve their goals.”
In order to help road haulage operators capitalise upon the cost savings and emission reductions potentially available by improving driver fuel efficiency, Shell has developed the following set of Golden Rules:
- Get buy-in from drivers at the outset by providing them with real examples of how their driving behaviour impacts fuel consumption and, with it, the company’s operating costs and ability to win contracts.
- Use a fuel management telematics device like Shell FuelSave Partner and then coach drivers one-on-one on how to make positive changes based on the bespoke insights the system provides per driver.
- Respect and recognise the challenges drivers face in reducing their fuel consumption while still maintaining the same level of operational performance – and reward those that achieve it.
- Introduce a sense of friendly ‘opt in’ competition through league tables of top performing drivers. However, it is important not to use it as tool to single out those not doing well.
To download a copy of Fuel Matters 2014 report, road haulage operators can visit: shell.co.uk/FuelMatters.