The First Step to Effective Fuel Management is Setting Up the Reports You Need.
By Jack Lee
Management is a series of interruptions interrupted by interruptions. That’s a pretty good quote. I can’t remember where I heard it, but it is something that is proven to be true every day around my office.
I enjoy the interaction and the challenges facing us in business today and those interruptions are part of it. They can be learning experiences too, because I have learned to count on my systems and procedures to give me back some of the time taken away by those constant interruptions.
If you are fuel reliant and manage a fleet of trucks or equipment, calculating fuel economy to minimize consumption can take hours and hours of your time, but it is necessary.
Without that effort you will waste fuel and squirt money out your tail pipe. The first step to effective fuel management is setting up the reports you need.
Here is my top six:
1. Fuel Economy.
This is the number-one report you need to help you manage and control the profitability of each unit in your fleet. Get the mileage and fuel consumption by unit, calculate their efficiencies and compare each unit and find out which are the fuel wasters and fix it.
2. Monthly Fuel Budgets.
Budgeting can be a pain particularly if you leave it to the end of each fiscal year, so reconcile your monthly fuel consumption and build the file as you go. If you have a number of people in outlying regions that are a part of the process, even more reason to keep regular track of your fuel expenditures. Track performance vs. budget, comparing distance, pricing and fuel consumption. The more variables you measure the better.
3. Invoice Management.
Stay on top of your fuel bills and review them as soon as you get them. Ever had an invoice that appeared to be wrong? Deal with it quickly otherwise the problem will grow.
4. Asset Utilization/Monthly Consumption Reports.
Check historic reports and calculate trends based on weekly or monthly fuel reports. Gather this information by equipment grouping, by region and by project. With this bird’s-eye view of your fuel expenses it is easy to figure out where and when your peak consumption periods are and more importantly your Return on Fuel Investment.
5. Fuel Reports by Location.
If you refuel from a number of different sources including on site, or your own centrally located fuel tanks and/or card-locks, gather these inputs and measure efficiencies by unit and by location.
6. IFTA Reporting.
If you are in the long haul transport business crossing between provincial and state borders creates a ton of paperwork. Add to that currency exchange rates that vary day to day and you’ve got a full-time job, but you got to know. Keep a daily log, by unit and the job will be a bit easier, saving you some time. And that saves you money.
If you have made it through the list above, you now realize how much time it takes to manage your fuel to get the maximum return on your fuel investment. These six reports will make your life easier. And save you money.