Maximise the operational efficiency of your trucks & trailers

Freight transportation demand is expected to rise during the upcoming years, with road transport dominating the overall transportation activity, according to an outlook from EEA. However, fleet managers can still reduce long-term investment, gain total operational control and optimise operational efficiency of their existing fleet regardless of market changes. How?

 

operational efficiency

 

  1. Telematics for digital and data-driven efficiency

Telematics is a relatively new technology, one that enables the transmission of data over great distances, before processing and transforming it into useful information. From simple route planning to scheduled alerts for maintenance, telematics offers a range of advanced digital capabilities and helps fleet managers to:

  • Decrease operational costs (e.g., fuel saving)
  • Be more time efficient (e.g., mapping system)
  • Ensure operational efficiency (e.g., brake performance and tyre pressure)
  • Comply with environmental policies (e.g., reduce carbon emissions linked to fuel efficiency)
  • Enhance security for both the drivers and the cargo (e.g., refrigeration unit temperatures, door ‘open / close’ status, distracted driving etc.

The adoption of fleet tracking and the real-time sharing of information presents a remote fleet management solution that guarantees the efficient and safe operation of assets. For used trucks and trailers, telematics can have an essential impact on monitoring maintenance and repair costs, asset tracking and fuel efficiency, all while enriching operational and financial performance.

 

  1. Fleet resizing & vehicle specifications for operating efficiency

Alongside improving the tracking of operational metrics, telematics also aids with the decision making when it comes to managing the mix of the fleet. Based on operational goals, utilisation, location history of the fleet and maintenance costs, the number of assets can be adjusted accordingly. Thus, with telematics, having the right assets in the right place at the right time is made easier than ever before.

Similarly, opting for bigger or optimised trailers (such as double-deck trailers) and reducing trailer weight will free up additional load capacity and support fuel efficiency (according to EPA, every 1,000 lbs. of weight reduced equates to 0.8% of fuel economy gained). Due to increases in freight density and production of lighter-weight components, overall weight decreases become ever more feasible, enabling fuel efficiencies (source: Fuel Efficiency Technology in European Heavy-Duty Vehicles, ICCT).  However, when focusing on saving weight with trailer specifications, it is critically important to understand the nature of the loads being transported and to not over (or under) specify, to ensure the trailer specification will stand up to the demands of the operation. For instance, for a highly concentrated load, a trailer that is built to handle it is recommended. If the weight is reduced to increase the payload, the lifespan of the trailer may be at risk.

 

parked trailers

 

  1. Efficient driving & operating behavior for fuel efficiency

    The way that a vehicle is operated can significantly influence the overall fleet performance. Efficient driving behaviour is a factor that can positively influence fuel consumption by 20% on aggressively driven cycles and by 5-10% on more moderately driven trips (Analyzing Vehicle Fuel Saving Opportunities, 2012). Even though external conditions, such as the general flow of traffic and strict transportation, do not allow the creation of a standardised curriculum on the most fuel-efficient vehicle operation, there are simple practices to follow and apply a concerted behaviour change:

 

a. Gradual braking and accelerating can improve a vehicle’s fuel economy by 33% on highways and by 5% on city roads. To be as fuel-efficient as possible, take 5 seconds to accelerate your vehicle up to 20 kilometres per hour from a stop. This type of driving not only helps to conserve fuel and save money, but it is also a safe practice for drivers to adopt (Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership, Second Report, 2012).

b. Maintaining a steady speed can increase your fuel use by 20%. Of course, different vehicles reach optimal fuel economy at different speeds, so fuel efficiency generally decreases significantly at speeds above 50 miles per hour. The fuel economy benefits of reducing your speed is 7% to 14% (Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership, Second Report, 2012).

c. Performing a maintenance routine can improve fuel economy by 40%. Factors such as tyre pressure and axle alignment have been shown to have a measurable effect on fuel consumption. For instance, driving with all tyres underinflated by 20% causes a 2-3% increase in fuel consumption. The maintenance check includes keeping the engine properly tuned, maintaining proper tyre inflation and using the recommended grade of oil.

Overall, there are many control features aimed at encouraging drivers to operate in a way that reduces fuel consumption, such as progressive shift, gear-down protection, road-speed governors and smart cruise control. Since driver training and management can significantly save fuel, fleet operators should consider adopting these practices.

 

Upgrade your fleet with TIP!

When trying to determine all the above and ensure positive ROI, fleet managers must seek out professionals with profound knowledge. TIP is a leading equipment service provider, across 120 locations in Europe and Canada, with more than 50 years of experience. From the sale of used equipment to maintenance and repair and telematic solutions for predictive maintenance, TIP provides all the services that a customer will require during the life cycle of a truck or trailer. 

Contact one of TIP’s experts to maximise your transportation capacity and gain total control of your fleet www.tip-group.com/en-gb/contact-us.

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