As a new year quickly approaches, it's an ideal time to review current policies that your company has in place.
I can't think of a policy that can help your fuel management program better than reviewing what you are doing now for fleet fueling. And if you don't really have a policy, now is the time to start your fleet fueling program.

Establishing a fleet fueling policy makes sense. After all, fuel is usually the single largest variable expense for a fleet of any size. A fleet fueling policy-carefully planned, implemented and enforced can be a company's most effective tool in the battle to reduce unnecessary overspending. In this day and age, saving money and cutting costs are a great way to survive and to add to your company's bottom line.

We have talked about fleet fuel cards before, and the electronic capturing of fueling data at the pump through the use of electronic fleet fuel cards. By doing this, fleet managers now have timely, accurate data they can use to battle waste, abuse, theft and fraud. It is a very important tool in helping to control your fleet fuel spend. People are always surprised to learn that, on average, over 1.5 percent of a company's fuel budget is lost to fuel theft. We are talking about the kind of fuel theft that happens when employees at your company steal fuel from you. Employee theft accounts for 81 percent of the fuel that's stolen. The other 19 percent of the time, an outsider is stealing from you through siphoning or using your fleet fuel card without proper authorization.

If a driver makes a purchase outside parameters set by the fleet manager, such as when a driver buys premium rather than regular gasoline, this information is recorded instantly and appears on a regular billing statement along with the individual driver and vehicle number. Through the use of tools like exception reporting and purchase alerts, fuel managers can enforce cost-saving policies quickly, not weeks after the fact. Hours make differences, and as a fleet manager, you want to be able to quickly enforce your fleet fueling decisions.

We have all heard of management by exception, and when you're dealing with hundreds to tens of thousands of fleet fuel transactions, it is really the best way to go. For many, highlighting problem areas is a very cost-effective, accurate and efficient way to implement, manage and enforce a successful fleet fueling policy. With exception reporting, fleet fueling information is funneled through the company's policy parameters and is sorted to show where, when and by whom fleet fueling policies are being disregarded.

In next week's Friday Fuel, we will provide you with seven tips for an effective fleet fueling policy for your company in Part II of this series.

Glen Sokolis is president of Sokolis Group, a nationwide fuel management and fuel consulting company, You can reach him at [email protected] or (267) 482-6160.

Previous installments of "Friday Fuel:"
* "Successful Fuel Management Program Equals Discipline", 9-11-09
* "Who's Watching Your Fuel Program," 9-18-09
* "Fleet Fuel Margins: Are You Paying Too Much?" 9-25-09
* "How Do You Audit Your Fleet Fuel Invoices?" 10-2-09
* "Fleet Fuel Price Negotiating: Details, Details", 10-9-09
* "Mobile On-Site Fueling", 10-16-09
* "The Bees Are Still Buzzing: Handling Fuel on a Daily Basis", 10-23-09
* "Fleet Fuel Card Shopping", 10-30-09
* "Is Your Fuel Management Ready for Winter?", 11-6-09
* "Don't Let the Weather Freeze Your Deliveries", 11-13-09
* "Fuel Management or Fuel Inventory? That is the Question", 11-20-09