“Success in fleet management,” observes Key Hire Managing Director, Tony da Silva, “rests on above average operational competency.” da Silva continues – “It all starts with fleet policies that are both efficient and effective. From that position one can proceed to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that imbue a culture of discipline and a way of correctly operating, regardless of who is conducting the task.”

“SOPs must be under continuous review,” says da Silva. “There is no point in having a SOP that no one observes through lack of training, cumbersome bureaucracy or operating conditions that make a SOP ineffective,” comments da Silva.

Fuel and fuel consumption are the single biggest operating cost, regardless of fleet size, and a good starting point for installing SOPs. For example, here are a few touch points that must be included in daily, or regular long-term SOP disciplines regarding fuel and oil:

  • Any fuel or oil leaks must be reported – leaks are costly, a fire hazard and pernicious.
  • Fuel tank caps must seal and, to avoid contamination, never be placed on top of a dirty area during refills that will introduce contaminants.
  • Vehicle fuel tank breathers must be subject to regular inspection – avoid fuel tank vacuum occurring.
  • Bulk fuel storage tank breathers must also be kept clear and filtered.
  • Fuel pump areas must be spotless – only use clean rags for dipstick tests.
  • Water and condensation of any type must be kept away from fuel and oil – exposed fuel pumps are a hazard during a rainstorm.
  • Engine oil level checks must be conducted on a cold engine – engines that have run prior to a check leaves oil in the top of the motor to give an incorrect reading on the dipstick.
  • Do not over-fill either fuel or oil – over-filling oil is wasteful and causes long-term damage.
  • Refilling must not be taken to the lip of the filler neck – fuel expands, and ullage occurs, especially if the vehicle is filled and then parked in the sun.

  • The percent increase in volume for petroleum products is: 0,063% temperature change in 0C. This means that a change of only 100C in temperature from underground storage to on-board a truck produces an effect of 0,63%. The knock-on result is 1,26 litres ullage inside a 200-litre medium truck fuel tank.

    The above examples for fuel and oil SOP are easily extended into other major cost centres such as tyres. It is time to tighten up SOPs.

    If you wish to discuss this or for more information, please contact Hennie Botha at hennie.botha@keygroup.co.za or at 031 713 3111.