(Continued from page 1) Key2 can process fuel transactions from fuel card providers as well as bunkered sites and associate transactions to the allocated driver, vehicle and cost centre at the time of the transaction.
Its functions enable it to produce exception reports, check how much fuel has been used against distance travelled and ensure that the purchase of fuel quantities greater than the vehicle’s fuel tank can be identified easily.
“The data derived from in-vehicle telemetry units and tracking systems becomes extremely powerful when augmented with fleet management software enabling automated analysis and information processing,” says Evans.
“A good system will monitor, control and highlight erroneous expenditure and provide automated checks and balances to ensure fuel expenditure is policed within predefined parameters without the requirement of human intervention to complete manual checks.”
One of the prerequisites to obtaining accurate mpg monitoring is ensuring that spurious mileages do not compromise the data, and Evans explains that there are validation checks within Key2 at every stage a mileage is recorded to ensure the data is accurate.
“It is vital that van operators utilise fuel management systems that can access fuel transactions online,” he notes. “Relying on paper invoices or driver receipts is a recipe for cost-control disaster. Using today’s technology, van fleet operators can put in their own rule sets to highlight data by exception so any fuel management vagaries are instantly highlighted.”
Actual fuel savings from the introduction of Key2 Vehicle Management software are different for each customer, says Evans. However, the main area of savings is in being able to identify low-mpg against expected-mpg drivers, poor-performing vehicles and outright fuel theft.
“In our experience, a customer with more than 100 vehicles stands a good chance of being the victim of some fuel theft,” he explains. “Customers have reported fuel spend reductions of up to 8% after implementation from a combination of savings in these areas.”
BP Fuel Cards’ fuel cards manager Jo McDonnell notes that the most important thing to look out for when avoiding fuel card fraud is the illegal use of lost and stolen cards. BP Fuel Cards come with advanced security measures to help prevent fraud and misuse and every card is individually protected, with a PIN that can be set or changed at any time. The fuel cards can be reported lost or stolen 24/7. Once reported the usage is immediately blocked and BP assumes liability for subsequent transactions. Additionally, most BP sites have sophisticated CCTV surveillance, which deters fraud and helps identify perpetrators should a crime occur.
“It is also imperative to look out for drivers filling up their personal vehicles with their fuel cards,” says McDonnell. “There are special alerts which monitor card use and keep track of everything including location, site type, day and time, products bought, and litres of fuel purchased. This ensures fleet managers have complete transparency.”
Telematics is crucial in protecting against fuel card fraud as it allows complete control over usage – saving time, money and resource, notes McDonnell: “For example, telematics can provide a comparison of fuel levels and vehicle location with fuel transaction history, triggering alerts of any inconsistencies.”
BP offers two telematics solutions, depending on the size of the fleet and business. The FleetMove plug-in-and-go solution is best used by SMEs, and FleetMove Pro is more suitable for larger fleets. “The plug-in-and-go option is simple to use, with no professional installation required in the vehicle, helping SMEs keep costs down,” says McDonnell.
Paul Hollick, MD at The Miles Consultancy (TMC), says that to cut down these fraudulent costs, drivers should be questioned on any anomaly – if they know they are being audited, they are less likely to take the chance and abuse their fuel card. “Each fuel transactions should be checked against the vehicle’s tank capacity – where the amount of fuel purchased exceeds the tank capacity, questions need to be asked,” says Hollick.
He also notes some simple things fleet managers should be looking out for to detect fuel card fraud, including:
“Providing each driver with a card, as opposed to allocating a fuel card to each vehicle, also makes drivers more accountable and gives you more visibility and control over fuel spend,” says Hollick. “The important point is that someone reviews the data and does something with it – i.e. engages with employees to stop fuel card fraud.”
Ultimately, the most important point when adopting telematics to uncover this type of fraud is that someone is there to review the data and do something with it.
TMC provides a 360-degree insight into spend, taking account of the vehicle, fuel card spend, mileage and driver profile. The level and accuracy of data provides additional benefits to clients, particularly around the deployment and effectiveness of telematics. “This gives you visibility over your driver and fleet’s performance. With this information, you can optimise routes and fuel usage and improve driver behaviour and safety,” Hollick notes.
With the right information, technological innovations in telematics for fuel savings have the potential to change the way fleets work, transforming service delivery and bringing about a big shift in the mobile workforce, says Hollick.
Ultimately, Evans says fuel is one of the biggest expenses for all businesses and it is essential fleet bosses police purchasing and usage effectively to ensure tight financial control.
“Vehicles are the lifeblood of many businesses and the whole UK economy, particularly commercial vehicle fleets, but they come at a great cost. It is therefore essential that management cost controls are in place and rogue drivers and their vehicles are highlighted by exception,” he says.
Hollick agrees that combining telematics data with fuel card data enables firms to stop fuel card fraud, which reduces costs – but says using telematics data also enables businesses to make further savings and improve driver safety. “Through telematics data you can get a sense of driver behaviour – are drivers speeding, braking late, cornering hard? High-risk drivers can be identified and conversations can be had to highlight to them that they are not driving safely. Where necessary, training can also be given. Driving safely, and more efficiently, will also save costs and improve mpg overall, which are all incremental cost savers.”
The use of fuel card fraud-prevention telematics is becoming increasingly popular with SMEs as well as big fleets too, to enable them to save costs where possible. “SMEs can benefit in exactly the same way as fleet managers, particularly if management is outsourced,” says The Miles Consultancy’s Paul Hollick. “This is because SMEs may not have the resource in-house to keep an eye on what the data highlights.”