Driver training key to cost-cutting, says Shell chief

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - 11:00
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KEY: Do you invest in driver training?

HGV fleets looking to make cutbacks should be focusing on changing driver behaviour, the Head of Commercial Fleet at Shell has claimed.

Phil Williams recently unveiled the results of a Shell study focused on the haulage industry, which found 67% of managers nationwide singled out improving their drivers’ motoring skills as the most effective way to cut fuel consumption, related costs and CO2 emissions.

Mr Williams said Shell are looking to heavily expand their driver training offering over the next 18months, aiming to find a solution which can benefit fleets across Europe.

He added that the findings of the study, which also discovered 54% of fleet operators believe tackling the issue could cut fuel bills by 5% or more, were ‘hugely surprising’.

The savings of more than 10% that 12% of respondents believed they could make with driver training are, according to Mr Williams, ‘extremely achievable’.

“When it comes to behavioural changes there’s a challenge – you’ve got to get people on board, you’ve got to do it in a way that people buy into, where they can see the results,” he said.

“Having a telematics system is one thing; but having one that truly helps you deliver is the challenge.

“It’s about taking information from telematics and being able to work with the drivers.”

Mr Williams added that once a fleet sees savings of 2-3% in one area, the driver training element will be something bought into.

“It’s quite an old business,” he said.

“The industry has done things certain ways for a long time and they rely heavily on technology.

“It’s easier to rely on technological improvement, but this area, although a challenge, it is untapped.”

The Fuel Matters 2014 study revealed 46% feel powerless to capitalise on the opportunity of driver training fuel savings due to a lack of resources.

Half revealed they feel the key to improving fuel efficient driving behaviour lies in the effective use of fuel management telematics systems and subsequently identifying areas for operational improvements.

Despite this, 87% admitted they currently are only able to use and action less than 60% of insights generated, with 45% able to use less than 30%.

More than one in three road haulage managers are also concerned about convincing drivers to adopt more fuel-efficient behaviour in the first place.

Mr Williams added: “In a world of tighter margins, stricter environmental legislation and a growing need to prove green credentials during customer tenders, fuel efficient driving can make a real difference to the profitability of a haulage business.

“This is why many operators feel frustrated that they don’t have the resources to capitalise upon the opportunities available.”

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