The economic headwinds facing fleets in 2023 are considerable – from recession and supply chain disruption to inflation and rising interest rates. 
Although decarbonisation may remain high on business agendas, against this backdrop, cost control will, for many, have become the number one priority. 
These financial and sustainability business objectives, however, should not be viewed as mutually exclusive – they are peas in a ‘mutually beneficial’ pod that have a symbiotic relationship. 
Smoother driving inputs and effective vehicle maintenance, for example, are integral to reductions in fuel spend. At the same time, they are equally important for reducing associated carbon emissions. 
Transitioning to electric fleet vehicles (EVs), meanwhile, can not only contribute to saving the planet, for appropriate fleets with effective charging policies, the move can also result in significant monetary savings. 
As fleets strive to navigate the challenging and volatile economic waters, initiatives designed to cut fuel and SMR spend should ultimately result in greener fleet operations, while investments in EVs may also lead to lower whole-life running costs. 
Data insights signposting the road to success 
Today’s fleet manager can ill-afford to take a reactionary approach to business intelligence. Data insights are the catalyst for greener and more cost-effective operations. 
By focusing on how vehicles are used, improvements in both sustainability and cost control can be delivered no matter the size, nature and make-up of a fleet. 
Fleets need little reminding that drivers remain the biggest factor in fuel savings, accounting for around 30 per cent of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a vehicle, and that measurement of mpg underpins the potential savings in this area. Other crucial areas for measurement include vehicle idling, speeding and incidences of poor driving style, such as harsh steering or braking. 
Advanced telematics solutions, such as Webfleet, deliver such performance intelligence in real time. This enables fleet managers to initiate evidence-based improvement programmes, whilst providing in-vehicle coaching to drivers, empowering them to make meaningful changes to their driving style. 
Implementation of smart job allocation and scheduling can also have a notable impact on mileage costs and carbon footprint. But dispatching the most appropriate mobile workers to jobs requires, once again, accurate management information. This will range from assessing the urgency and priority of jobs to the location of employees and traffic flow en route. 
A fleet’s carbon footprint can be monitored with information available for every vehicle and journey, whilst the latest in dedicated EV management tools now offer insights to ease the electric transition and support the on-going operation of electric fleets – minimising cost and optimising performance. 
Using EV solutions, fleet managers can access information on real time battery levels, remaining driving ranges and energy usage, alongside insights into charging processes and vehicle charge levels. 
Seize the day 
The ‘carpe diem’ message for fleet decision-makers – many of whom will have an increasingly important role to play in business success and survival the weeks and months ahead – is clear. 
Telematics technology is a pre-requisite to harnessing and actioning the fleet intelligence needed to deliver on 2023’s most pressing strategic goals. Moreover, with appropriate digital solutions in place, they are not only able to drive change, but be demonstratively accountable for helping secure a greener and more profitable future 
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