Headlines everywhere screaming gloom and doom; uncertainty in the Middle East, shaky stock market, oil prices up again week after week after week. And to pour salt on our wounds, the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) reported the second largest one-week increase in gasoline prices in past 20 years! This hurts the general public, but is especially painful to those of us in the fleet fuel management industry. People feel stuck, helpless. In the midst of all the bad news wouldn’t you like a glimpse good ol’ perseverance?
Julian Hutton’s article The Power of Perseverance caught my eye as I was flipping through the February issue of Smart Business Philadelphia. Hutton referenced the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” And I thought, how true. But, a lot of people just don’t know how to get stronger and lack the tools to weather this economic storm.
Fleet fuel businesses that have solid foundations, are prepared and have strong leadership will survive. Hutton wrote, “Leadership is the single most important factor in any organization. It is the deciding factor between mediocrity and excellence, between success or failure.” How true. Now take a moment and look internally at your own company dynamics. If the corporate leaders and fuel managers at all levels do not have the necessary experience, know-how, or even the time, then the economic punches will always hurt. No need to raise the white flag and surrender just yet. You can survive. You can be stronger. And I can help you.
Consider this. Even if your business leaders are strong and smart, or perhaps you are even one of those excellent leaders; it may still be time to look at outsourcing your fleet fuel management. Outsourcing can maximize employee productivity and increase profitability. Maybe I’m saying something you already recognize; an outside fleet management company may have more time and resources than you and your company. Or, perhaps a light bulb just went on. Please keep reading, especially if you’re still unsure.
Reaching out for expert advice is not a sign of weakness. It is actually a sign of smart leadership. Outsourcing will give you access to a team of fleet fuel professionals who are focused on saving you money. They will be able to establish a custom fleet fuel delivery program that reduces scheduling hassles and lowers your fuel costs by strategically positioning fuel where you need it, when you need it. Their personalized programs can cut on-site and over-the-road fueling expenses through mobile fueling, Card Lock and Truck Stop programs.
A good fleet fuel management company should have a large vendor network and strong negotiating power in order to secure lower fuel prices than you could independently; giving you the huge benefit of even bigger fuel savings. From an administration perspective, the company can also implement custom back-office processes and technology improvements that will produce more significant savings. They can establish and perform fleet fuel audits that identify any pricing discrepancies and possible fuel theft. They actually put your own money back in your own pocket. Money you may not even realize you’ve been missing all along.
Once you acknowledge that it’s time to outsource your fleet fuel management, make sure the company has a tried and true track record of good client relationships; a team of focused, dedicated fuel experts; and fuel buying muscle. It is essential that you established good relationships with trusted experts in all aspects of your business.
Okay, I’ve offered you a lifeline. It’s time to strengthen the foundation of your business. No more just dodging punches. Time to be proactive and put external fleet fuel management systems in place that will immediately start helping your company’s performance. Be prepared and you will persevere.