How to optimise your fleet’s performance while protecting your bottom line.

By Fausto Lupone, automotive sector expert, PETRONAS Lubricants International

It’s challenging out there for those who spend their lives and livelihoods on the road. Journeys are longer, timescales are shorter, environmental restrictions are tougher and customer expectations are greater than ever.

Truckers and fleet managers can’t afford to be held up by any one of these challenges. As we’ve all seen throughout the last year, strong supply chains are integral to the health of our nations and the strength of our economies. Any disruption to them can have catastrophic repercussions for us all.

To avoid this, fleet managers must ensure each vehicle performs at peak ability for as long as possible – without breaking the bank. With the right expertise, training and tools, fleet managers can be confident they are making the right choices to achieve peak efficiency, long-term. After all, a healthy vehicle fleet pays dividends.

Vehicle health

It’s about what you know. Owner-operators, fleet managers and drivers who are attuned to the health of their vehicles will understand not only which aspects are holding them back, but also what is to be gained by optimising vehicle health. They have a vision for what the fleet looks like when it’s running perfectly. But how do they gain this understanding?

There could be a myriad of aspects to understand and issues to diagnose, so expert help is a great solution to grow your confidence in making assessments. With guidance, mangers can:

  • Conduct a fleet survey to understand business goals and assess how far your existing fleet can meet them
  • Discover which lubricants each part of the system requires to perform at its peak
  • Regularly test used oil from your vehicles to develop a deep understanding of the holistic health of the system to reduce maintenance costs and maximise uptime

Powerful analytical and technical tools are on fleet managers’ sides when it comes to boosting vehicle health. For instance, a value calculator can show how fleets can significantly reduce operating costs and improve efficiency, while tank-level telemetry systems can give full remote visibility of lubricant and fuel levels across the stock – and even top them up automatically.

Boost performance

One they’ve established what it will take to increase the health of the fleet, it’s time for managers to take action. Focusing on creating efficiencies while striving for targets will enable them to optimise performance without breaking the bank.

Take your vehicle’s performance to the next level by staying ‘stronger for longer’. This means mitigating much hotter sump and turbocharger temperatures, and higher air temperatures, which can lead to faster oxidation. By resisting oxidation and wear through high-quality lubrication that maintains its viscosity, these fluid technologies can inhibit the production of harmful deposits which can slow down performance.

Meet tightening regs

Emissions regulations are getting tougher by the year. For example, Euro 6 2013 demands a reduction in Nitrogen Oxide of 95 per cent since 1992. As emissions targets continually evolve, fleet managers must be able to rely upon technologies specifically designed for long-term sustainability and emissions reduction. To satisfy this requirement, oil with a strong, but thin fluid film can extend drain intervals – thus limiting the amount of stop/starting at garages – and limit emissions.

Target issues

The challenges of evolving standards can be overcome by targeting specific issues, including SAPS (sulphated ash, phosphorous and sulphur) and fuel consumption. Having technologies at their fingertips that maintain fuel efficiency, contribute to better overall engine strength, and sustain performance is what fleet managers need to meet this high bar for vehicle performance.

Ensure long-term health

One of the best investments any owner or fleet manager can make in the health of their vehicles is to invest in themselves – in education, training and skills. This can help develop the diagnostic mindset to foster a resilient fleet in the long term. Gaining this expertise for themselves pays dividends in the high quality of service they can then guarantee to valued customers, without reservation.

Many tools exist to help maximise understanding, online and in person. E-tools, technical data sheets, academy training and online hubs all exist to help enrich knowledge and improve day-to-day business acumen.

To really jump in feet first, take part in training academies designed to familiarise teams with the solutions available, examples of best practice, and a vision of what’s possible with a totally healthy, resilient and sustainable fleet.

Ultimately, the key to boosting vehicle performance without breaking the bank lies in confidence; the ability to anticipate issues, to know where to seek help, and to trust in the technologies that can protect the engines at the heart of the trusty vehicles keeping our supply chains moving.

It’s challenging out there, but the reassurance of a fleet with long-term resilience is what powers drivers and fleet managers to go the distance.

Link: PETRONAS Lubricants International