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Editor Stephen Briers Tel 01733 468024 email News, Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA. Published by Bauer AutomotiveSubscribe to FNe Click hereDownload FNe Click hereTell us what you think of FNe Click herefleet July 2011AA's fuel tactics to cut costs by 8%Telematics improves its mpg. Next step is to cut idling timesSector insight: business servicesCreative ways to cut costLeasing vs purchaseWhich is best for your business?Click here to find out moreClick here for the full story

Business services Cost cuttingCreative thinking pays off for cost-conscious fleetsThe need to reduce expenditure has seen organisations adopt a wide range of measuresBy Louise ColeFleets have had to contend with substantial chal­lenges in the past two years. The cost of diesel has risen drastically. The Freight Transport Association's Manager's Guide to Distribu­tion Costs 2011 puts the increase in diesel costs over 12 months at 15.6%. Insurance, component prices and maintenance costs have also climbed at a time when most fleets are facing reduced corporate turnover and tighter budgets.Speedy Asset Services caters for the industrial and construction industries and so took a hit in the recession alongside its major clients. As a result, transport and logistics director Ian Leonard said it downsized its fleet by 29% over the past year to match the group's reduced turnover.Speedy Asset Services now runs 743 company cars, 1,155 LCVs and 138 HGVs. The remaining vehicles also have to be cheaper to run - and the company could no longer justify paying for private car usage in the way it had."Eighteen months ago we removed all fuel cards from company drivers and put them on to a 'pay and reclaim' system," he said. "Fuel cards gave us cheaper prices than forecourts, but it couldn't offset the amount of private fuel usage we had been paying for. We use 10 to 11 million litres of fuel a year and we estimate this saved us £1.2 million. It was a quick win."Withdrawing support for private mileage has also changed the company culture. "It has dramatically reduced people's use of company cars - our train expenditure has gone up, but at least this contrib­utes to employee's quality of life and is environmen­tally friendly. We lease all our vehicles so reducing our contract mileage means we can either offset the credit against debits from the commercial vehi­cles, or we can lower the terms and therefore price of the leases."Speedy Asset Services is currently talking to its insurer and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents about the benefits of driver training. "We are looking at online assessments where those who score poorly or receive a red light get physical training. We are thinking of rolling this out across the fleet," said Leonard. Speedy has also put speed limiters on its vehicles reducing them initially to 70mph and now to 62mph. 'Eighteen months ago we removed all fuel cards from company drivers and put them on a 'pay and reclaim' system. That saved us £1.2 million'Ian Leonard, Speedy Asset Services