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Driving Towards Environmental Sustainability in Fleet Management

As most industries move towards the adoption of more sustainable practices, the convergence of technology, innovation, and environmental responsibility takes center stage in fleet management. Many fleet operators have understood that in order to keep their fleets running smoothly, they need to comply with sustainable regulations and assume a role in shaping a greener future.

As transportation is one of the biggest contributing causes to climate challenges, it’s essential for fleet operators to take sustainability seriously. Emerging technologies like electric vehicles, AI, and more are helping them do just that.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at what makes sustainability particularly important to fleet management, different initiatives in the industry, the challenges of adoption, and why platforms like aiOla are driving change in fleet operations. 

The Importance of Environmental Sustainability in Fleet Operations

The transportation sector, fleet operators included, makes a significant contribution to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, creating an impact on global climate change. Incorporating sustainable practices into fleet operations is essential for organizations to create a positive environmental impact. Here’s a look at why sustainability is important in fleet operations:

  • Of all the different industries in the US, the transportation sector is responsible for the highest emissions of greenhouse gasses at 28%.
  • The fleet industry, particularly road vehicles that rely on gasoline like trucks, cars, and vans, is a significant contributor to air pollution. Studies show that a shift towards electric vehicles would reduce pollution exposure of nitrogen dioxide by 30%.
  • Adopting sustainable practices isn’t only important for the environment, but fleet operators can reduce idle time, optimize routes, and maintain vehicle efficiency to cut down on fuel costs and conserve more resources.
  • In some places, sustainability practices aren’t only recommended, they’re becoming law. For example, in Europe, there are standards for CO2 emissions for heavy-duty vehicles, making sustainability a compliance issue.

Sustainability Initiatives in Fleet Operations

Fleet operators are adopting sustainability initiatives to be more environmentally friendly, cut down on costs, and remain compliant with local regulations. There are a number of different sustainability initiatives in the fleet industry, let’s look at some of the most common ones:

Fuel efficiency and alternative fuels 

There are a few different strategies fleet operators can adopt to ensure a higher level of fuel efficiency, such as:

  • Ensure vehicles are regularly maintained for peak performance
  • Implement more efficient driving regulations
  • Use hybrid, electric, or more fuel-efficient vehicles

Additionally, companies are turning to alternative fuels like biodiesel fuel or electricity, to power their fleets. Any of these strategies or a mix of them will help reduce fuel consumption and related fuel costs while ensuring a fleet is more sustainable. 

Right-sizing fleet

Fleet managers should regularly assess their current vehicles and weigh them against a company’s current needs to ensure the fleet is as efficient as possible. This includes downsizing vehicles, replacing or retiring vehicles that aren’t in top working order, or switching to more fuel-efficient vehicles. It’s good practice to analyze your operation or mission’s needs on an ongoing basis and examine if there are nonessential components of your fleet inventory.

Minimize miles

Another way to become a more sustainable fleet operator is to cut down on miles traveled. Of course, in the transportation industry, this is easier said than done, but with the right advanced planning, it’s not out of the question. Some ways to cut down on your fleet’s mileage include:

  • Use phone or video conferencing for meetings with employees in different areas
  • Ensure your routing and mapping are optimized to find the shortest possible route
  • Consolidate your trips in the same area whenever possible

Leverage new technologies

Emerging technological advancements can be beneficial across many industries, and fleet operations are no exception. New technology can make your fleet more sustainable by optimizing your existing workflows and operations. There are a few different technologies making a difference in fleet management, such as:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI): With the power of AI, fleet operators are able to automate many tasks such as scheduling, mapping, and even maintenance processes to ensure they’re safer, quicker, and more consistent.
  • 3D mapping: Flets can easily enable autonomous driving, gain real-time mapping data, and optimize electric vehicle range with 3D mapping technology.
  • Electric vehicle: Fleets that are adopting electric vehicles see a drastic improvement in their sustainability practices. Ikea, for example, has promised that by 2025, its entire fleet for home deliveries will be either electric vehicles or use other zero-emissions solutions.

Overcoming Challenges in the Adoption of Sustainable Fleet Operations Practices

While the benefits of implementing sustainable practices in fleet operations are undeniable, some companies might be put off by the perceived challenges. Regardless of which sustainability strategy you adopt, there are some common challenges to be aware of while preparing your business for new technological implementation:

Upfront costs

The initial cost of implementing new strategies, especially those that involve new technologies, vehicles, or significant updates, can be daunting. Not only that, but you also need to invest in training your workforce to use the new technologies as efficiently as possible, which can be both costly and time-consuming.

Upskilling employees to use new technology

Training employees to adapt to new initiatives can be tricky. While drivers or dispatch centers might be used to a certain way of working, getting them to use new technologies like AI or 3D mapping will require ongoing education in order to make the most of your investment. Upskilling your team is essential to implementing new sustainability practices and technologies.

Employee resistance

It’s natural that with change comes some resistance. Drivers might feel like they’re expected to do more with less, but once they understand how these new strategies can benefit them too, they’re likely to be less resistant. It’s essential for C-level managers to remain transparent and communicative throughout the entire implementation process to keep employees engaged and even involved in certain decision-making processes.

aiOla: The Road to the Future of Sustainable Fleet Management

aiOla’s AI-powered platform uses voice to extract meaningful data from your work processes, helping you make more informed decisions and easing your implementation of sustainable practices. With aiOla, fleet teams can automate otherwise manual tasks, like vehicle inspection and maintenance processes. Drivers and inspectors can utilize aiOla’s technology simply by speaking, leaving their hands free to focus on the road ahead.

aiOla is also able to understand over 100 languages and all kinds of industry jargon, making it suitable for global teams or fleet management companies operating in multiple regions. With aiOla, companies can gather data through speech that would otherwise be lost to make critical business decisions, such as implementing efficient driving regulations, predicting vehicle or driver risks, and ensuring vehicles are optimized for peak performance.

aiOla reduces paper forms and manual processes, turning valuable information into captured paperless data. By prioritizing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards, aiOla helps businesses reduce paper consumption, deforestation, and energy usage. Simultaneously, workflows are streamlined, while contributing to decreased greenhouse gas emissions.

Best of all, as the platform is entirely powered by everyday speech, there’s virtually no learning curve for your employees, making implementation quick and easy. With no new platform to get used to, aiOla works with you to optimize your processes rather than disrupt them.

Want to learn more? Schedule a demo with one of our experts to see how aiOla can help your company implement sustainability initiatives.