Fuel expenses account for a significant share of fleet costs, but trucking lines
don’t always know where to look for cost-saving opportunities.
Edmond, Okla.-based GPS tracking system maker US Fleet Tracking has
some ideas on that. It contends that lax driver practices are a prime cause
of wasted fuel and that companies can identify and address the troublespots
through the use of GPS tracking devices.
To illustrate how GPS monitoring can help, US Fleet Tracking offers the
following tips for cutting fuel consumption through the use of GPS tracking:
First, take advantage of the GPS device’s route planning feature. Though it
may be unintentional, drivers often fail to take the shortest route. Maybe the
long way around is the only route they know, or perhaps they’re relying on
outdated phone apps or navigation devices and end up getting lost and wasting
mileage in the process. The fix? By tapping into the route planning feature of
a GPS device, a dispatcher can determine the shortest and quickest routes and
give drivers turn-by-turn directions to pickup and delivery sites.
Second, keep an eye on idling times. When temperatures drop, drivers may
keep the engine running longer than necessary in an attempt to warm up the
cab. But every second of idling adds up, wasting fuel and degrading the engine,
the company says. GPS tracking reports and alerts can help managers curb this
Third, watch that speedometer. While it may be common practice to cruise
at five to 10 mph over the speed limit, speeding burns extra fuel and stresses
the engine. With GPS tracking, dispatchers can record data, generate reports,
and even send drivers “slow down” alerts via e-mail or text message.
Three ways to cut fuel use
Just in time for the holiday season,
an industry veteran has introduced
two must-have items for material
handling aficionados everywhere:
a 26-page “Frankie Forklift and
Friends” coloring book and a soft
Frankie Forklift plush toy.
The new items are tied to the
“Frankie Forklift and Friends” children’s book series, which features a
group of characters named Frankie
Forklift, Tony Towmotor, Petee
Pallet, and Sally Shrinkwrapper.
The series is the brainchild of longtime logistics pro Frank Clark, vice
president of forklift dealer The Lilly
Co., who created the books as a way
to teach lessons like “learn from
your mistakes” and “slow down
and do things right the first time.”
The coloring book introduces 18
new characters inspired by material
handling equipment, like Dudley
Dump Hopper and Clarence
Clamp Truck. And the founder
says there’s more to come: “We
will continue to bring you books
in the series as well as other platforms (coloring books, plush toys,
sticker books, and so much more)
to inspire kids to learn about the
world around them while making
it fun to be part of the huge warehouse we all live in,” Clark said in
a release. “For those of you in the
industry, Frankie Forklift says ‘See
you in the warehouse.’”
Frankie Forklift returns
As a way to trim fuel costs, trucking companies routinely
invest in specialized fairings, skirts, and gap reducers to
improve aerodynamics. These items can boost fuel efficiency
by 5 to 9 percent, saving thousands of dollars per year.
What they might not realize is that even the smallest
details—like the trailer’s mudflaps—can make a difference
as well. One example is the “Eco Flaps” splashguard, a new
type of aerodynamic mudflap that’s included in the latest
version of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s
(EPA) “Smart Way Verified List of Aerodynamic Devices.”
The new flaps look nothing like the thick rubber mats that
have hung off the back wheels of 18-wheelers for decades,
bearing the image of a pistol-brandishing Yosemite Sam or
a cartoonish female silhouette.
Rather, the new generation of splashguards, which were
designed by Brentwood, Tenn.-based Eco Flaps, are sleek slitted screens made
of injection-molded nylon. The gaps allow wind and water to pass through the
mudguard before being diverted to the pavement on the other side.
Their aerodynamic design qualifies the flaps for the EPA’s 1-percent fuel savings category, although the manufacturer says the splashguards can improve
miles per gallon by 3.5 percent, saving approximately 700 gallons of the 20,000
gallons a truck will use annually.
So long, Yosemite Sam