Using a fuel management system keeps things running smoothly for your business: not only does the right FMS give you access to your fuel levels, but also you can find ways to make fuel consumption more budget-friendly. With our tips for establishing efficient fuel management systems, you’ll know where to start to ensure success!
What Is a Fuel Management System?
A fuel management system is a piece of fuel equipment that monitors and manages fuel use. Fuel management systems work in different ways, but all of them offer some degree of visibility into your current fuel inventory and some way of controlling who can get access to your fuel. Drivers use some kind of authorization process – a pin code, a RFID key fob, or a mobile app - to ‘unlock’ connected tanks when they need to get fuel.
Fuel Management Systems benefit a company in many ways:
Monitor fuel use and costs
Control access to fuel
Preventing fuel slippage – the unauthorized or unintended loss of fuel, often through theft or leaks.
The most common way that companies keep track of fuel is with pen-and paper records. However, manually-recorded logs can’t account for undetected losses (for example, as the result of a tank leak), nor do they prevent employees or unauthorized people from taking fuel and not reporting it. With a fuel management system, you’ll have the tools to quickly identify and stop such problems before they become worse.
Why Use a Fuel Management System?
Besides the basic benefits listed above, the right Fuel Management System can help you better understand your business and operate more efficiently.
Analyze True Fuel Costs
With the data you get from a fuel management system, you can more precisely analyze how much you are spending on fuel. Rather than measuring fuel costs cumulatively, you can examine the fuel that individual employees use to identify fuel misuse or identify inefficiencies.
Analyzing the fuel costs is one part of the equation – communicating those findings to your staff is another. The right Fuel Management System will make it easy to capture and organize the data you need to present new policies clearly.
Track Your Inventory
Fuel management systems can help you track both your total fuel inventory and the fuel that individual employees are using. Both of these data points can help you avoid running out of fuel at key moments – if you know what fuel you have and how much fuel you’re using on a regular basis, you can ensure that the right tanks have the fuel they need to keep your fleet moving. Making proactive decisions about fuel use starts with an understanding of where your fuel is going.
Consider fuel at a remote tank, either at a job site or a maintenance yard. Having fuel available in that tank can be crucial to the efficient operations of your business, but that tank is also a prime target for theft. In addition, fuel in a remote tank could be functionally wasted if it could be more effectively used somewhere else. If you’re reliant on pen and paper records, you have very little control over fuel access and even less opportunity to respond to fuel misuse until it’s too late.
Depending on the fuel management system you use, you may have much greater flexibility of when and where you can monitor and control fuel use. Companies like FuelCloud focus on cloud-based software to power their fuel management systems, giving managers more options for where and how they manage their fuel.
How do I choose the right Fuel Management System?
Choosing the right Fuel Management System for your organization depends on lots of factors - what works great for one company may not work for another. When you’re evaluating a fuel management system, consider the following factors:
Upfront versus lifetime costs: Rather than looking just at the upfront cost of a fuel management system, consider the value you get over the lifetime of the system for that cost. Some FMS providers have a recurring subscription that covers extended service or updates that, while “buy once” options may not offer the same long-term support.
Your current tools and systems: Many Fuel Management Systems offer integrations with fleet management systems, tank monitors, and industry-specific software. Finding a fuel management system that fits with your existing tools can take your business efficiency to the next level.
Ease of adoption: A fuel management system only works as well as the employees who use it. Consider how complicated it will be to rollout a new FMS for both drivers and office staff before you commit to a system. Many FMS providers will offer training and on-boarding support if you ask for it!
The right fuel management system solves problems related to costs, driving habits, and theft. A great fuel management system makes accessing this information simple. At FuelCloud, we offer mobile fuel management technology so you can easily track how much your workers use from anywhere and manage how your fleet fuels in real time The power of a flexible system is easier control, and the peace of mind of always knowing how much fuel you have in your tank.