How to Optimize Your Fleet's Efficiency Through Diagnostics
Modern technology offers the opportunity to enhance fleet efficiency in ways that would have been impossible only a few years ago.
Thanks to the diagnostic features built into today’s data recorders, it’s easy to find new opportunities to optimize fuel use, time utilization, and maintenance schedules.
Taken together, these three factors can make or break the profitability of fleets both large and small.
Save Fuel, Time, and Equipment
The largest single expense in trucking is fuel. Fuel accounts for 54 cents per mile of operating expense — according to the Trucker’s Report. That makes MPG the low-hanging fruit for decreased expense and increased profit.
Increasing fuel efficiency isn’t rocket science. A lot of MPG gains come down to smarter routing, regular maintenance, and smoother driving. Diagnostics can help in each area.
- Optimize routes.
Analysis of diagnostic traces on existing runs can reveal where a truck is encountering the most wait-time in traffic and the highest engine loads. Changes to schedules or diversions from the busiest (or steepest) highways can be simulated and evaluated thanks to the data collected. Remember that at zero MPH, a truck is returning zero MPG. Even a moderate reduction in idle time in traffic can make a great impact on overall efficiency.
- Keep that maintenance schedule. Modern digital diagnostic tools have “hooks” into the electronic systems of your truck. That allows the monitoring of factors like engine load and fuel flow, error codes, transmission performance, acceleration, and even chassis metrics like tire inflation and brake status. Diagnostics give the fleet operator a far better view into the real maintenance their trucks require than has been possible ever before. As a bonus, the better route management made possible by modern GPS tracking makes it possible to take advantage of the most cost-effective — and easiest to schedule — service centers.
- Drive smoother and smarter.
Smooth acceleration and deceleration, intelligent use of gears, and adherence to speed limits all tend to improve efficiency. Smarter driving also improves safety, reduces unscheduled maintenance, and increases equipment lifespan. Electronic diagnostics is much more than a nosy neighbor: It can act as a driving coach. Those drivers who seek training to smooth their drives can get help. Drivers who already are smooth can get recognized and rewarded for their skill. Those drivers who refuse to get with the program can get shown the door. It’s all thanks to electronic diagnostics.
Increasing fuel efficiency isn’t rocket science. A lot of MPG gains come down to smarter routing, regular maintenance, and smoother driving.
The Real Payoff
The other great thing about diagnostics: Any improvements (or declines) in efficiency can be monitored, tracked, and used to model an approach for ideal profitability.
Diagnostic data tracking helped one telematics firm increase their real-world MPG to over 9 miles per gallon over 50,000 miles spread across a small fleet of seven trucks. That contrasts with a North American class-8 efficiency of 4.5 to 6.3 miles per gallon. It all came down to smarter routing, better maintenance, and smoother driving.
Thus, the case for the modern diagnostic system’s ability to deliver improved fuel efficiency, improved maintenance, and overall profitability is extraordinarily strong. In many ways, the future of trucking is brighter than ever – all thanks to the smart use of diagnostic systems.
Considering a fleet management solution?
Learn more about the CyntrX comprehensive fleet tracking platform with a free demo.