Digital platforms can transform how fleet managers and operators do business.  -  Photo: Shell

Digital platforms can transform how fleet managers and operators do business.

Photo: Shell

The days of using pen and paper to manage fleets are slowly disappearing — if you’re a fleet manager still manually tracking fuel, there is a better way.

As technology advances, fleet management services produce increasingly informative digital platforms, transforming how fleet managers and operators do business.

These platforms help track fuel consumption, analyze budgets, and can provide a clearer picture of driver and vehicle efficiency. And something any fleet leader likes to hear is that perhaps the greatest benefit is utilizing these tools can help save time and money.

Improving Fleet Efficiency With Mobile Fueling

Running an efficient fleet can be a constant challenge. Inflation, supply chain shortages, and higher labor costs still pose obstacles for fleets trying to accomplish strategic business goals. Often, reaching those goals depends on keeping the total cost of ownership down.

One segment of the fleet industry incorporating digital platforms is mobile fueling, a natural starting point for improving fleet efficiency.

This service delivers a variety of fuels including — gas, diesel, and renewable alternatives — and fills fleet vehicles during downtime at the customer’s location. There are other benefits to the service, including removing the inconvenience of reconciling receipts and reimbursements, while also saving time spent refueling and miles driven to refuel.

According to estimates based on telematics data analyzed by Geotab, a fleet of 100 vehicles could save up to 3,080 hours of fueling and 20,300 miles in fueling trips annually by switching to mobile refueling .

“The drivers can focus on their main task and not be worried about taking detours and spending 15 to 20 minutes fueling their vehicles every day,” said Subra Balakrishnan, Project Manager for Shell TapUp. “They just bring their vehicle to their lot, and we make sure their vehicles have a full tank before the next shift.”

With a digital platform, fleet managers can now access data that serves as another major benefit to mobile fueling services, arming them with information that can help boost fleet efficiency. Digital platforms help fleets shift away from pen and paper reporting to an online portal with an overview of their fleet’s fueling needs, accurate reporting, real-time updates, and user-friendly data analysis.

“The customer can log in to see any of their past fueling and avoid reconciling receipts that a typical manager regularly deals with from gas station fill ups,” said Josh Stollberg, Chief Technology Officer, Shell TapUp. “Digital platforms can handle much of that information for fleet customer.”

Data Insights for Fleet Managers

A closer look at the Fleet Services Tracker, the new digital platform being onboarded by mobile fueling services such as, Shell TapUp and Instafuel, includes many key features, including the fuel usage per vehicle, which is uploaded to the platform when mobile fueling drivers fill up fleet vehicles, equipment, and bulk tanks.

The system will also generate invoices that can be paid through the platform utilizing credit card, ACH, EFT, or fuel cards.

Some of the most useful data insights fleet managers and operators can view on Fleet Service Tracker include:

  • Total Fuel Spend – Budget forecast by tracking how much fuel is being purchased.
  • Total Fills – Monitor how many vehicles are being filled to build an efficient fueling schedule.
  • Fuel Usage – How much fuel is used by each vehicle in the fleet.
  • Invoices – Keep track of invoices in one easy-to-find location.
  • Vehicle Efficiency – Keep track of vehicle performance to maintain high fleet optimization and address driver behavior or maintenance issues.
  • ROI Calculator – Calculate how much a fleet saves in fuel and time.
  • Segmented Fleet View – Separate departments can track fuel spend for each part of the fleet.

With this information, fleets can use data to elevate their overall performance and save time that can be used for other value-added activities.

Going the Extra Mile

Additionally, many mobile fueling services will go the extra mile and provide fleet onboarding and ongoing customer service to ensure the mobile fueling process goes smoothly and answer any questions.

“Fuel tracking with the pen and paper method is less than accurate,” Stollberg said. “They are measuring the gallons they use manually, which can be error prone. Digital platforms in mobile fueling automate the process and reduce billing issues or errors.”

A mobile fueling service with a digital platform that simplifies sometimes overwhelming amounts of information, can give fleet owners and managers a way to improve their fleet operations by benefiting from the cost and time savings that comes from having fuel delivered and vehicles filled by a mobile fuel provider.

“The premise is that it’s a one-stop solution that’s automated from the customer’s perspective,” Stollberg said.

About the Author: Prabhu Murugan serves as the General Manager for Mobile Fueling US at Shell. This article was authored and edited according to WT editorial standards and style. Opinions expressed may not reflect that of WT.