HOUSTON – ARI released its findings from a benchmarking survey that it conducted at its annual Energy Fleet Forum on May 15, 2012, in Houston. The company's survey found that many energy fleets haven’t established fuel or safety policies. Data use was also an issue. Of respondents that do use telematics and fuel management technologies, many experience challenges in integrating available data into their main fleet management systems.

The survey found that 47% of all respondents either don’t have a driver safety policy or don’t require their drivers to acknowledge that they have received it if a policy does exist. The survey also found that 23% of energy fleet respondents don’t offer basic driver safety programs.

Fuel management was another issue that ARI’s survey discovered. For example, 62% of energy fleet respondents don’t have a fuel use policy, and 46% use a payment plan that doesn’t provide fuel management data available with a fleet fuel card.

One key finding is that 38% of energy fleets use telematics. This figure is 18% greater than the results from the previous year, but only 15% of respondents said they integrate that data into a primary fleet management system. ARI said it found that fleets that integrate the data experience a more significant return on their investment.

Upfitting was another area, outside the control of energy fleets, where ARI uncovered issues. The company's Senior Vice President of Client Relations, Frank Cardile, presented trends specific to the energy sector among truck manufacturers and upfitters.

His presentation said 60% of truck manufacturers and 87% of upfitters experienced “very significant” material/component supply problems during the past 18 months and that they expect these issues to continue for the next 18 months. The same percentage of respondents said accurate 12 – 24-month order forecasting would help them control production scheduling and costs.

The Energy Forum agenda used the benchmarking survey’s findings as talking points during the event. Breakout sessions focused on cost reduction, best practices associated with vehicle standardization, and upfitting and maintenance management. ARI said its Energy Fleet Forum attendees were pleased with the cross section of representatives from companies in the energy business, and they enjoyed this chance to meet their peers, share information and learn from everyone present.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet