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Three Steps to Fleet Sustainability

By Elisa Durand, ARI

For fleet managers, the challenge of managing profitability with sustainability can be a high-wire act. The demand to go green and cut costs is more intense than ever.

Fleet managers across the country are feeling the pressure to increase their fleet’s sustainability, but most don’t know where to begin without shortchanging their complex needs.

The following are three steps to help fleet managers not only begin, but ultimately achieve sustainable success.

1. Set the right goals.

The first step toward any effective initiative is outlining realistic goals. Being a green fleet is no different. Properly defined goals can make the difference between success and failure in green fleet initiatives.

For instance, if the primary goal is to decrease your fleet’s fuel consumption and corresponding carbon footprint, vehicle rightsizing could be a simple answer. However, goals need to consider the size, age and complexity of any fleet, especially since rightsizing and other similar solutions are impractical for many heavy fleets. This balancing act is essential to success. Without the proper consideration of a fleet’s specific needs, goals will be doomed to fail.

2. Secure the right buy-in

Drivers are what move fleets forward. Too often, fleet managers enact new green policies in an organizational vacuum, and the drivers are on the outside looking in. By helping drivers understand and play a role in the company’s green vision, through education and communication, managers can secure buy-in and ensure long-term success.

3. Solidify the right measures

Launching a green fleet initiative is exciting, but without the results to support your efforts, the meaning is merely symbolic. The real results come from evaluation and measurement. The key is to align green metrics to the company’s outlined goals, put the results in context and adjust based on performance. Too often companies abandon goals that are not met in the first year.

While an organization may not meet or exceed the established goals in the first year, the smallest improvement can save money and lay the groundwork for long-term savings.

Green fleet management doesn’t have to be a guessing game. It is a complex balancing act, but by following these easy steps fleet managers can successfully lead their companies into the era of green.

Elisa Durand serves as the assistant manager of Green Fuel Strategy Consulting at ARI, a fleet management services provider.

Read more about fleets “going green” in the October issue of HDT.

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