Fleets need to consider whole-life costs

Whether companies are responsible for long-haul or regional runs, or even direct store delivery, they must consider the costs associated with operating their fleet vehicles. Besides driver salaries, fuel expenses and regular tune-ups, managers need to recognize the additional costs associated with running a fleet that makes frequent pickups and deliveries. Whole-life expenses can add up, and this is something business owners need to consider before investing in fleet vehicles and the technology that can help streamline costs.

Many companies don't consider all expenses
While businesses may consider the most common expenses associated with fleets - such as fuel, fleet maintenance software and regular repairs - many neglect to consider the other costs that can skyrocket quickly. Companies that fail to think about whole-life costs when purchasing new vehicles to replace older models may experience higher costs over the period they utilize the car, truck or van in question.

Fleet World reported many organizations fail to determine whole-life costs when selecting cars for company use. Up to 80 percent of firms may ignore this factor and rely on other determinants as they seek to replace older vehicles.

Many factors need to be considered
With a relatively low number of companies currently factoring whole-life costs into their fleet decision-making, many businesses could be incurring additional expenses in the long run. By considering certain things before investing in new vehicles, a firm can better determine if purchasing a new model is worthwhile or will end up draining extra funds.

• Gas mileage. Most fleet managers are concerned with mileage, no matter if company vehicles are making short or long hauls. As automakers create cars, vans and trucks with better mileage, it has become easier than ever for companies to choose vehicles that get the job done without filling up too frequently.

• Reliability. While a vehicle a company is looking at may offer high-tech features or a spacious interior, managers should refrain from getting too caught up in these features. Determining the long-term reliability of a new vehicle is a must - if an automobile is known for frequent breakdowns or plenty of repairs, its whole-life costs may be too high to justify the expense. Managers must do their research to determine if repair expenses will be too pricey in the long run.

• Emissions. As some lawmakers push to limit pollution and tax businesses that release more emissions, some fleets may need to consider how potential changes in environmental legislation could change their businesses and the cost of operating their high-emissions vehicles. Companies that choose to invest in cars, trucks and vans that emit more pollution may eventually find themselves taxed for the decision.

• Route optimization software. More fleet managers are employing the use of routing software to reduce time spent planning runs, lower overall fuel expenses ensure drivers complete pickups and deliveries on schedule. By always taking the most direct route, companies can notice significant savings on fuel costs in the long term, lowering the whole-life costs of operating business vehicles.