She’s popular, always in demand and her price is generally unpredictable. The lady’s name is Crude Oil.
Looking back to January 2010, Crude Oil cost approximately $80 a barrel. Just a year later it cost around $115 a barrel and as this article was being written, it dropped to just under $100 a barrel. Who knows what the good lady is going to be priced at this time next year.
The variations in the oil price requires serious attention and it’s clear now, more than ever, that transporters need to keep abreast of this ever growing cost when on the hunt for fleet efficiency.
While operators are trying to trim back on the fat, lower the fleet’s running costs and run a tidy operation, it’s imperative that you control what goes in so as to manage and afford what goes out.
Without doubt, fuel management is one of those areas in fleet management that require a full time focus. Managing this variable cost requires time, skill and knowledge – of the market and the industry. The days of accepting fuel consumptions that sort of “look right’ or “are more or less what is expected’ are over.
Relying solely on human intervention to manage fuel spend can be risky and that is why operators should install technology that manages the process for them. By electronically capturing all relevant detail at the time of refueling, not only does this help in eliminating human error but it also provides operators with credible and reliable information. A company which has been helping in this regard for many years is the AFS Group with its fuel management technologies.
FleetWatch editor Patrick O’Leary recalls way back at the Cape Town TruckEx show when David Froman, founder of the AFS Group, mentioned he was going to introduce a technology , sourced from Israel , which would enable an ‘˜electronic handshake’ to take place between a vehicle’s fuel tank and the fuel station’s pump. In this way, unauthorised refueling would be stopped. In addition, the information captured on the fill would be transmitted to a computer for accurate record keeping.
I asked him what he was smoking. You know those Cape Town guys. They gaze up at the mountain and with a peaceful look of total harmony, sigh: “Hey like wow! Like there’s a mountain like.’ But he hadn’t been smoking anything. He actually did it and I ended up giving him a public apology through FleetWatch for doubting him.
From the initial ‘˜electronic handshake’ technology, AFS has come a long way and has developed a broad range of products and services to cater for the varying needs of the industry. Some applications make use of all products and services while others only require a few but no requirement goes unnoticed and each solution fulfills a need.
To be honest, I’m a little annoyed at them for keeping their progress and further technological developments of the past few years out of the public eye. They should have been more bold in their marketing efforts.
That said, with the AFS Group’s Fuel Management technologies, transporters are able to accurately manage when their vehicles refuel and – through site selection – where they refuel. This brings great benefits as optimal routes can now be calculated. And this applies to whether you’re looking to manage fuel levels in bulk storage tanks, deliveries, on-road refueling or a home-base refueling depot.
Management reporting through the use of the technology is now also more accurate as vehicles in the fleet that are operating outside of acceptable parameters , such as increased and abnormal consumption – are flagged and can be dealt with almost immediately. This should bring some peace of mind and a difference to the bottom line where it matters most.
The AFS Group has a saying that anything is measurable and everything is possible! That’s kewl. But now they must stop hiding their candle!