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Effective cost management is every fleet manager’s goal. You’re responsible for reducing costs while increasing driver productivity – and you need to be able to show how your fleet enhances your company’s bottom line. That’s why it’s so important to understand what your costs are, what drives them and how to measure them.

For insights into typical fleet costs and best practices for measuring them, get our tip sheet:

What you need to know about fleet costs

Here are the questions it covers:

  • Do you know your fleet’s primary costs?
  • What key metrics should you be tracking?
  • What sources of data are available to you?
  • What factors that drive depreciation, fuel expenses and maintenance costs, and how can you control them?
  • To what benchmarks should you compare your metrics?

Let me know what you think.

Also check out this blog, which includes good information about understanding material handling equipment costs.

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Valentine’s Day is a big day in the greeting card industry, second only to Christmas. For card companies like American Greetings, an Element Fleet Management client, getting seasonal card products to market is key to success. And one crucial aspect of ensuring its card inventory is in the stores is its vehicle fleet.

This video about American Greetings shows you how its fleet, led by an agile and responsive team, had a major positive impact on the company’s bottom line: 

Watch video

Effective fleet management can make a real difference to sales, service and distribution – the “heart” of any organization. Have a happy Valentine’s Day!

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My latest article is up on Fleet Management Weekly – “Strengthen your strategy by getting a grip on your material handling costs.” If your organization operates material handling equipment, it’s important to understand the direct and indirect costs, as they can be large enough to impact your bottom line and are worth investigating, documenting and reducing.

In this article, I discuss the various factors that go into understanding material handling equipment costs.

Read the article here.

Other articles in this series can be found here and here.

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A top priority for all fleet managers and operators is to ensure the safety of your drivers and the general public. When it comes to trucks and equipment, this commitment is especially important, as you must be compliant with regulations. So we’re beginning a monthly safety blog specific to your needs to help you augment your truck safety program.

This month: Ensuring your wheel lugs are tight.

Loose wheel nuts can occur for a variety of reasons, including undertorquing, overtorquing and other factors. If too many lug nuts are loose, the wheel could detach from the wheel stud, with potentially catastrophic results.
 
One solution: wheel nut indicators. These are small tags which are fixed to the lug nuts – see the pictures below with two different options for positioning the tags). The tag rotates with the nut, and if the nut becomes loose, the point of the tag shifts noticeably out of alignment with the other tags. Your driver only has to look at these indicators for loose lugs, and they can be tightened before the situation escalates into a lost wheel, with all the resulting expense and danger to the public.

Wheel lugs   Tire cropped

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and if there are truck safety topics you’d like me to cover in this blog.

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Fleet managers: You know that a good fleet telematics program can help you change driver behavior, enforce policies and reduce fuel costs. Regardless of your industry or type of fleet, telematics can also help:

  • Show you what you’ve been missing
  • Measure results

That’s what you expect – and that’s reason enough to consider implementing telematics in your fleet. But what additional benefits have our clients discovered?

We’ve put together an eBook on fleet telematics that provides more details on how this technology helps fleet managers operate more effectively. There’s a whole section on “hidden advantages” that aren’t often identified when talking about telematics – but are proving to have powerful impact on fleet effectiveness.

Get the Telematics eBook here.

Let me know what you think or if you have found additional benefits that you didn’t expect.

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Fuel prices are at a five-year low. While that's great news for fleet managers who are seeing positive impacts on their fleet budgets, we all know those prices won't last forever.

In addition to enjoying the current environment, there are some things you should be thinking about doing now that will help you in the future when prices rise again. You can find out what those are in our new tip sheet,

"4 Considerations for Fleets While Fuel Prices Are Low."

Read it and let me know what you think of these ideas – and whether you have other ones you would add.

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What are the characteristics of a successful fleet manager? In our experience, the most successful are usually strategic thinkers – people who find ways not to get bogged down in the tactical, day-to-day administration of a fleet, but who see the bigger picture and ensure their fleet is helping their organizations achieve their goals.

We’ve put together a tip sheet called “7 habits of strategic fleet managers” that identify ways you can ensure you are managing your fleet strategically. I encourage you to check it out and let me know what you think!

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Want to get 2015 off to a knowledgeable start when it comes to your material handling equipment? Our monthly feature in Fleet Management Weekly has been posted, and this time we focus on trends we’re seeing in the equipment industry and how they could impact your organization.

You can read the article here.

Let me know if you have any other insights into material handling equipment management or additional trends you’ve noticed.

P.S. For last month’s article on Material Handling Equipment 101, go here.

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Automotive Fleet Magazine has released a special report titled “Fleet Management circa 2025” – a look at where fleet management companies like Element see the industry going in the next 10 years. It’s a great read. Here’s a taste of what some Element Fleet experts  said in the article:

Ryan Gilbert, software developer:

  • Autonomous Vehicles Will Make Telematics Standard Equipment.
    “With driverless vehicles, telematics will be essential. Software will eventually be able to analyze each vehicle’s location throughout the day, and recommend fueling stations with the best prices. We may even see a shift in the appearance of gas stations, including having compressed natural gas (CNG) and charging stations for electric vehicles readily available.”
  • Virtual Reality Tools Used to Make New-Vehicle Selections
    “There will be an uptick in the adoption of virtual reality for new-vehicle selection and purchasing. This will allow fleet managers to browse and test-drive new vehicles from the comfort of their office using their computer.”

Joy Schnetzka, Manager, Strategic Alliances:

  • More Dealer-Based Repairs
    “In five to 10 years, we’ll be seeing more dealer-based repairs of fleet vehicles. Many non-dealer shops will only provide preventive maintenance services, due to more sophisticated technology. We anticipate the service process to become more complex and specialized, resulting in more reliance on dealerships.”

Ron Ditzel, Tax Manager:

  • Fleet Taxation Trends – Services and the Cloud.
    Leasing companies continue to offer more online services/ products to their customers and more states are beginning to apply current tax laws to these types of online services/ products. One issue is that states are continually relying on outdated tax laws to include these online services/products as taxable without consideration of the nuances of what is actually being provided. Looking ahead, states will need to update their tax laws to account for the changing environment of how services/products are provided online.

There’s more from Element and other fleet management companies in the article – read the entire article here.

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By Marcin Michno, Project Manager, Strategic Consulting

The end of the year is always a good time to look ahead to the future – so as 2014 draws to a close, we wanted to make sure you were up to date on fleet management trends for various classes of trucks. We participated in several articles published by Work Truck Magazine in November that identify important trends. If you missed any of these articles, now is a good time to review:

We look forward to sharing more truck expertise with you in the coming year, and wish you a prosperous and safe 2015!

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