David Howe, commercial sales manager at Goodyear, offers his take on how a little investment in tyres can go a long way
The commercial fleet arena is becoming increasingly complex. With the promise of self-driving and electric vehicles quickly becoming viable options, the industry is looking to the future for greater efficiency, cleaner operations and reduced expenditure.
There is one consideration though, that if fleet managers paid a little more attention to, has the potential to help achieve all of these goals right now. I’m talking, of course, about tyres.
Research by the Road Haulage Association has found that tyres are the second lowest area of fleet spend, accounting for just three per cent of running costs. This puts investment in tyres a considerable distance behind fuel consumption, which eats up 27 per cent of fleet budgets and expenses, such as vehicle depreciation and repairs, as well as maintenance, which weigh in at 27 per cent and seven per cent respectively.
The reality though, is that with the proper care and attention, tyres can actually influence more than two fifths (40 per cent) of operating spend.
Tyre pressure monitoring
With fuel consumption proving the most significant cost for fleets, improving fuel efficiency is clearly incredibly important for owners looking for reduced spend. Cutting costs when it comes to fuel might seem impossible, but simple solutions, like maintaining the correct tyre pressure, can have an impressive impact.
Goodyear’s Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) uses an in-tyre sensor to flag pressure issues as soon as they arise, prolonging the tyre’s lifespan and increasing vehicle safety. Therefore, it can help fleet owners reduce expenditure, as underinflated tyres not only wear down more quickly but also require more fuel.
Monitoring tyre conditions also has a huge effect on maintenance and repairs. TPMS can help to prevent blowouts, leading to 97 per cent fewer tyre-related breakdowns and therefore having a massive impact on the maintenance and repair costs that consume seven per cent of fleet budgets.
Numerous fleets are already feeling the benefit of this technology. We have equipped logistics operator ECM (Vehicle Delivery Service) Ltd, for example, with TPMS for two years.
With a fleet of 530 trailers using TPMS, manager Paul Rymer has reported a “considerable” reduction in tyre failures, reducing the need for reactive tyre management, cutting downtime and helping to ensure that all deliveries are completed on time.
The system has even helped ECM to keep on top of maintenance in other areas, with one alert in particular pointing to a mechanical failure in the vehicle’s braking system.
Another way to both reduce costs and prolong the life of tyres is to retread them – a process which involves replacing the tread band, multiplying the lifespan of a tyre by up to three times.
Retreading is also beneficial for the environment, as tyre carcasses are reused rather than discarded after first use. So, this option will not only benefit fleets by reducing costs spent on brand new tyres, but it will benefit the planet too.
Make tyres an area of investment
With tyres influencing up to 40 per cent of a fleet’s expenditure, fleet owners who invest just a little more in a premium set of tyres are most likely to see a reduction in running costs as a result.
Take the Goodyear KMax Gen-2, for example, which has been specifically designed to provide fleets with high mileage and fuel-saving low rolling resistance in all conditions. Tyres which ensure regular tread wear, like the KMax range, are a vital asset for fleet managers who want to keep their tyres in good condition and their drivers safe, while the increased mileage reduces the cost of regularly fitting new tyres.
There’s no denying that fleet managers have a lot of shifting variables to consider, and tyres might not always make it to the top of busy operator’s list of priorities. With just a little extra care and attention, though, your tyres can go a long way towards helping to maintain a healthy bottom line.