In certain high volume accounts that need daily service, Elliott staggers the drivers so there is someone at the account each day, although it’s not the same driver.
Reducing truck Weight Makes a Difference
Elliott has also reduced the size of his maintenance and supervisor vehicles from eight to four cylinders. He is experimenting with different vehicles, such as vans versus small pickup trucks.
He has also reduced parts carried on the maintenance vehicles. “It was burning up a lot of fuel,” said Elliott. It was a 6- to 8-month process to reorganize the maintenance vehicles. Elliott took his time doing it, but feels confident maintenance now carries only items needed 80 percent of the time.
Remote machine Monitoring offers a solution
Knowing when and how much to service routes is a key strategy to saving route costs. Remote machine monitoring software is a technology that can support this strategy.
Elliott, who is presently using handhelds, likes the idea of being able to see what and when machines are out of product. Remote machine monitoring will be a different way of servicing accounts, said Elliott. What’s holding him back is the ongoing monthly fee per machine. “It’s an added expense,” he said. He’s working with Cantaloupe to come up with a return on investment study and plans to talk with operators already using it.
Ralph Sanese, president of Sanese Services Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, has done a number of things to cut fuel costs.
Sanese introduced remote machine monitoring technology with Michelina’s frozen food machines for home meal replacement several years ago. He now uses remote monitoring via his credit card system; USA Technologies. He’s also testing Quickstore24, a glassfront machine with remote machine monitoring and various payment options. Automatic Merchandiser reported on Quickstore24 in its January 2008 issue.
“Remote monitoring will absolutely save fuel,” Sanese said. “You can really route trucks where you need them to go.”
Investing in vehicles
A new step in Sanese’s efforts to save fuel is a move toward more economical vehicles. “Anytime we purchase a new truck,” said Sanese, “it must get 40 percent more fuel economy than the vehicle we’re replacing.”
Getting more fuel economy might mean a less powerful engine or purchasing a vehicle with newer diesel and gas systems that increase miles per gallon. This, used in conjunction with other techniques, can produce significant results. Sanese said he’s already cut his fuel usage by 2,000 gallons a month.
Truck maintenance improves mileage
Sanese also introduced vehicle maintenance practices, such as maintaining tire pressure weekly. “We’re reaping a saving of 6 percent for fuel usage,” said Sanese. He’s also focusing on driving style. “We already train for safety, so now we’re incorporating techniques for fuel economy.” The training will address sensible driving techniques, such as no “hot rodding” or rapid acceleration.
Controlling speed is another way to save on fuel. Sanese installed governors — devices used to measure and regulate the speed of a vehicle — on his largest trucks, so the drivers can only go as fast as 57 miles per hour. “The fuel you consume increasing speed from 57 to 65 miles per hour is enormous,” he said. He’s also purchasing a program for “dyno tuning” his service vehicles.
“Dyno tuning” involves measuring and adjusting the combustion system to maximize vehicle performance, including fuel economy. This can be down via the vehicle’s computer.
Sanese has also reaped savings with global positioning systems (GPS) since the technology allows him to efficiently map out routes.
GPS systems save fuel by showing the operator unauthorized stops and how fast drivers are driving, as well as making it easier to determine the most efficient routes.
However, Sanese believes GPS systems are more beneficial in loss prevention. “I think there’s more low hanging fruit for fuel savings than GPS systems,” said Sanese. He suggested focusing on equipment that burns less fuel. “You can’t change all your equipment overnight, but every replacement should be an improvement,” he said.