1. Decision-making: For the best results, follow the basic steps shown in Figure 3 and talk to others who have fitted and monitored aerodynamic equipment.
- Identifying the Need for Aerodynamics (Auditing current features, identifying future needs, etc).
- Specifying the Right Features (Selecting aerodynamic equipment, suppliers, estimating costs and benefits, etc).
- Implementing Aerodynamics (Setting objectives, developing a plan, piloting and implementation).
- Monitoring and Measuring Performance (Monitoring and assessing the benefits of aerodynamics)
2. Specifying the Right Features: Use the downloadable spreadsheet-based aerodynamic assessment tool from Freight Best Practice. Do not take manufacturers’ claims of fuel saving benefits at face value. Check whether they have used systematic and verifiable test procedures rather than anecdotal evidence. Talk to other fleet operators who have fitted similar styling kit and find out what savings they have achieved.
3. SMART Implementation: The implementation process should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed (see Figure 4).
- Specific: If the process and objectives are kept specific, they can be communicated and delivered more easily.
- Measurable: To ensure the suitability of an aerodynamic feature you can conduct ‘before and after’ tests.
- Achievable: Targets for piloting, implementation or fuel saving need to be achievable, this will help to maintain staff motivation.
- Realistic: For long-term success, data collection methods for benchmarking performance need to be realistic and consistent.
- Timed: The frequency and intervals of monitoring are important considerations and will depend on the needs of your business.
4. Monitoring and Measuring Performance: The more you understand about the factors that affect fuel efficiency, the more control you will have over them. The performance of aerodynamic equipment can be measured as a component part of a fuel management programme. The ‘Fleet Performance Management Tool (FPMT)’, which is a FREE software tool developed by Freight Best Practice, can help you. It produces weekly, monthly and annual reports and charts showing clearly how the main aspects of your operation are performing. The results will indicate whether improvements could be made that will reduce your costs and improve efficiency.
5. Maintaining and Adjusting Aerodynamic Features: Maintaining and ensuring that aerodynamic features are correctly adjusted will positively affect the amount of fuel used. Drivers should inspect aerodynamic equipment as part of their daily vehicle checks. Training drivers and helping them to understand the function of the aerodynamic features used on your vehicles will help you get the most out of this process.