This article is contributed by Mathew Clan.
Thanks to the rising and highly fluctuating gas prices, fleet managers find themselves in an unenviable situation. One of their major roles is to closely monitor the fuel expenses to control them. They may not succeed in controlling the fuel costs of their fleet unless they have the right information at the right time.
If fleet managers have either credit cards or fleet cards for their drivers, they can control and manage the fuel expenses incurred by their fleet. But, if these managers can access more detailed information such as the transaction data, total quantity of fuel bought, etc., they may have more ability to implement tighter and more effective controls so that they can contain the fuel costs within the budgeted amounts. Generic credit cards may not help them to have such minute details. Even some of the fleet card program information may fall short of the levels required for effective reporting as well as for controlling fuel expenses within the allocated amounts.
However fleet cards can often help fleet managers surmount the challenges they face with relative ease. Here are some of the reasons.
Fleet cards are backed by proprietary networks
Unlike generic credit cards, fleet cards are backed by web-based tools. So, fleet managers get direct access to complete details using which they can make suitable adjustments in the spending parameters. They can have fleet as well as invoice reports and with the help of these tools, they can monitor the expenditure and implement effective measures.
Fleet cards help in having tighter controls for minimizing spending abuses and frauds
Fleet cards help fleet managers in providing the driver IDs and also odometer readings. They can also limit the per-day transactions and the total number of transactions in any given week or month. These steps will help managers exercise more control to avoid spending abuses and even frauds that may happen in fuel consumption.
Fleet cards have a wider acceptance rate
These cards are accepted in almost all the fueling locations in the US. So, there will not be any acceptance issues as in the case of other generic credit card programs. Since Level III data is available with fleet cards, there may not be any loss on that score. (Electronic level 3 data capture includes pin & odometer prompting and also line item detail.)
With fleet cards, substantial saving is possible
If properly used, fleet cards can get a saving of as much as 15% on fuel expenses. Another great advantage is that flexible monthly billing options are available. Payments can be made online. These cards are accepted in almost all major maintenance locations also. Fleet managers can choose the nearest locations to get their vehicles maintained well. Further, fleet cards can be used for all types of fleet. They provide appropriate solutions for tax exempt fleets also.
Fleet Cards can be customized
Unlike generic credit cards, fleet cards can be customized to suit any type of fleet. Managers can choose the desired level of reporting. This flexibility provides the greatest advantage to fleet managers. Managers can opt either for fuel-only cards or fuel-and-maintenance cards. There is a lot of flexibility in card controls as well as reporting options. Since managers can access their accounts online, they will find reporting easy.
For effective control of fuel expenses, they can choose exception monitoring. They can get alerts when purchases are made. They can have details like cost of every transaction, number of daily transactions, type or grade of fuel bought, price per gallon of fuel, total number of transactions and gallons bought per month and so on and so forth. All these minute details will help the managers bring the fuel expenses under control. For the purposes of monitoring, they can have vehicle reports, driver reports, and miles-per-gallon reports and so on. ACH (Automated Clearing House) transmission can be used for having reports and making payments. With the help of all these options, fleet managers are well on the road in their efforts to bring the fuel expenses well within the budgeted amount.
Author Bio: Mathew Clan is the author of this post and provides business fuel cards through his website. He understands the needs of managing the fuel expenses for a huge fleet of employees and suggests some such tips through his posts.
Image credits: courtesy of morgueFile.