The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Creating the Most Effective Fuel Management Reports

April 2002, by Staff

One advantage that fleets have discovered in using fuel management reports is the ability to track what type of fuel drivers use for their company-provided vehicles, and this knowledge can result in substantial savings.

Keith Zaring, who overseas about 1,450 vehicles as fleet manager for Voicestream Wireless in Bellevue, WA, said he has reduced incidents of drivers using unleaded premium or unleaded plus when they are supposed to be using regular grade.

"I know that none of my vehicles are spec'ed to use unleaded premium or unleaded plus," Zaring said. "So being able to catch someone using premium not only saves on fuel costs, but also helps the vehicles mechanically."

When it comes to fuel management reports, most effective means cost-effective and time-effective. It means reliable and immediate and is designed to make the fleet manager's job easier. Managing, creating, and disturbing fuel reports amid steady phone calls, meetings, and day-to-day fleet management duties can be a relic of the past.

Any fleet manager would welcome a reduction of expenses. But jumping out of business-as-usual means jumping out of that familiar comfort zone. Every fleet manager has a responsibility to understand and report fleet activity and expenses. Managed-fuel programs make capturing, analyzing, and reporting this information easy and flexible.

Jeri Buckley, fleet manager for AT&T Broadband in Lawrence, MA, said, "Managed fuel gives us the tools we need to locate transaction, PIN, and fuel-card issues immediately. We can manage our fuel budget more effectively because a managed-fuel program has given us the necessary tools."

With managed-fuel reports, fleet managers can have the information delivered by mail, fax, or online without any extra time or effort on their small part. No fleet is too large or too small to qualify for the advantages of this burgeoning approach to business.

Exception Reports: Keeping Everyone Accountable

The programming of exception reports (documentation of unauthorized purchases) is as versatile as the companies served. Some red-flag issues are common to all companies, for example, a 30-gallon fill-up for a 16-gallon tank. For some companies, a Saturday charge needs to be reported as suspect. For others, a midnight charge needs to surface as an unauthorized purchase. For still others, the purchase of food or other commodities may or may not be an authorized purchase.

Fleet managers whose fleets are on managed-fuel programs say that exception reports have helped them catch card misuse, which meant cost savings for their companies.

Bill Rotz, who oversees just under 1,000 vehicles for Centimark Corp. in Canonsburg, PA, actually used an exception report to catch a driver who was selling fuel with his company fuel card. "It was pretty obvious," Rotz said. "He had two pages of fueling for a single day." Needless to say, that driver is no longer with the company. But Rotz said that after requesting an exception report for premium fuel usage, Centimark reduced mid-grade and premium fuel usage by 35 percent in 2001.

David Hein, manager, employee benefits/fleet operations for Handleman Co. in Troy, MI, described exception reports as "phenomenal."

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