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Cost Saving - Gaining Increasing Focus for SMEs
By Thore Vestergaard, SVP and MD of Commercial Cards, FLEETCOR
Cost saving is at the heart of all successful enterprises, regardless of their sector, and is a strategic pillar that is gaining increasing focus for SMEs in particular.
An economic report details some of the pressures that UK small and medium-sized businesses face, with rising costs and slowing revenues being the two main drivers. What’s more, these economic pressures are heightened for businesses that rely on a fleet of vehicles to carry out fundamental operations.
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Unsurprisingly, the first half of last year alone saw the total vehicle operating costs for fleet vehicles, from cars to 44-tone articulated lorries, increase by 2.5 percent. By far the largest contributor to these costs was fuel, ranging from 17.6 percent for 7.5-tonne vans to 31.7 percent for the largest vehicles.
With this in mind, how can organisations lower fleet operating costs while boosting convenience for both employers and workers, as well as improving the control they have over expenses?
Using technology to optimise fleet efficiencies
As with most sectors, technology is paving the way when it comes to driving greater business efficiencies. Public and private organisations have been taking advantage of the benefits that advanced technologies offer for fleets across the UK, from collision avoidance systems to virtual car keys. And as car keys have evolved from metal and plastic to being activated by a smartphone, so too have fuel cards become smarter.
Harnessing the power of an intelligent fuel card, and analysing the data gathered, is one of the main ways to monitor fuel use and gain control over total fuel spend.
While on the surface these savings may seem negligible, the reality is that implications can be substantial, particularly with maintenance costs on an upward trajectory.
Opting for a comprehensive fuel card solution
Fuel cards don’t just provide comprehensive management information, they also offer tangible cost savings, such as simplified administration and discounts at the pump when purchasing fuel. In fact, the Allstar Plus VISA card, developed by Allstar Business Solutions, offers a rebate scheme at over 1,600 UK garages on all service, maintenance and repair work when using the card.
Keeping costs down and increasing efficiency isn’t just about saving on fuel or maintenance costs, but streamlining processes to ensure fleet operators are able to save time.
The current economic climate demands that SMEs have the strategies, tools and insights they need to better manage costs, particularly when it comes to fleet operations
What’s more, intelligent cards often offer the ability to set limits on additional travel expenditure enabling managers to have control over expenses and in turn enact savings right across their organisation.
This also means that employees who spend time on the road for work have the independence to pay for anything they need while travelling, without having to dip into their own pockets - while still leaving the employer in ultimate control. This is a widespread problem for employees, as our recent research found that 57 percent of workers have suffered financial difficulties as a result of poor on-the-road expense policies.
Opting for a combined fuel and expenses card mitigates this issue and provides businesses with a complete solution to fleet-wide expenses as a result. This gives them the opportunity to take a more strategic approach and operate more efficiently, ultimately allowing a business to focus on growing the business.
As a result of onboarding a comprehensive fuel card solution, SMEs can improve efficiencies while driving down costs for their organisation.