The Sokolis Group performs a lot of audits of fleet fuel invoices, reviewing hundreds of thousands of fuel transactions a month. Hopefully, your company has some good processes in place for your fuel transactions. If you don't, here are some solid tips and examples of the errors that we see companies make that you can prevent.
Avoid Mistakes in Bulk Fuel Buying
- A common problem is too many fuel suppliers' price quotes come in each day. Solution: cut down on your suppliers.
- Another problem: The fuel price quotes go to someone who is too busy and may not even look at the quotes. Solution: Make sure your key person has time to review; fewer fuel vendors should help.
- The person who gets the fuel price quote and places the fuel order should be the same person that gets the fuel invoice. Make sure the dots connect. If not, the person approving the fuel invoice is doing it in the dark.
- Have two people review the fuel invoices for accuracy. We have seen many invoices that were signed off for payment that had the wrong gallons by more than 1,000 gallons and the wrong fuel price by more than $3 a gallon. There are a lot of numbers with fuel which can make it confusing.
- Benchmark your fuel price to some industry index. If you don't, how will you know what you're paying for?
Make the Most of Truckstop Fuel Purchases
- Use a fleet fuel card that is widely accepted at truckstops. We see many companies use a fleet fuel card for truck stop purchases that is usually issued for local use such as WEX (Wright Express), Voyager or American Express.
- If you're using fleet fuel cards such as those mentioned above, you're paying a premium over the cash price. This credit fuel price is typically 7-12 cents a gallon more expensive than the cash fuel price. This is an expense that most companies don't even know that they are paying. (Try one of these fuel card companies: Comdata, FleetOne, 360FuelCard.com, T-Chek or EFS)
- Quantity brings better prices. There are many companies that buy tens of thousands of gallons a month from many different fuel suppliers. This might not tie directly to fuel auditing but it will improve your fuel program. (Try to consolidate your fuel purchases to a limited number of fuel suppliers directing more volume to fewer suppliers. This will enable you to talk to your fuel suppliers and possibly negotiate better fuel prices)
Take these fuel management tips and improve your fuel program. Your bottom line will love you; your company will love you.
Glen Sokolis is president of Sokolis Group, a nationwide fuel management and fuel consulting company, www.FuelManagementSokolisGroup.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (267) 482-6160.