UK Fleet Companies Missing Out on Potential Savings, Says Shell Lubricants

Companies are missing an opportunity to significantly reduce the cost per kilometre of their fleet, due to a lack of understanding on vehicle lubrication, according to a new study by Shell Lubricants. The findings show that many companies do not realise how their lubrication procedures could influence critical operational factors. The transportation industry in North America alone could miss out on potential savings in excess of $6.5 million, while for the UK’s fleet companies the figure could exceed $11.4 million. 

Deficiencies in vehicle lubrication are having a financial impact on fleet operations, at a time when cost competiveness and vehicle reliability is a priority. Fleet operators admit that 54 per cent of their vehicle breakdowns or unplanned downtime in the last three years was likely due to their incorrect selection and/or management of lubricants. The resulting costs are significant – 32 per cent estimate that this unplanned downtime cost their business $100,000 or more and 19 per cent believe the sum could exceed $250,000. 

The international study of fleet and transport companies across Asia, Europe and the Americas commissioned by Shell Lubricants reveals that 63 per cent of fleet operators do not understand how effective vehicle lubrication could influence unplanned downtime and 53 per cent do not understand how lubricants could help lower costs through improved fuel efficiency. 

John Walters, Shell Global Sector Manager for Fleet, said: “Fleet operators are under pressure to achieve high standards of reliability, whilst at the same time minimising operating costs to stay competitive. Vehicle availability, maintenance costs and fuel expenditure all influence the ‘cost per kilometre’ of the fleet, but the impact of lubrication on these critical factors is too often underestimated. Shell Lubricants has delivered above $21 million in savings to fleet customers globally over the last five years. We work closely with fleet customers of all sizes, all around the world, to help deliver significant business value by properly looking after the lubrication needs of their vehicles.” 

The study uncovered a number of barriers that mean businesses were not well equipped to take action. Sixty-seven per cent of companies think they didn’t conduct staff training on lubricants as regularly as they should and only 33 per cent had all the recommended procedures in place to manage lubricants effectively. Additionally, only 52 per cent of those surveyed regarded product performance as an important consideration when purchasing lubricants. 

Walters added: “When under pressure to lower maintenance costs fleet operators often look to reduce spend on lubricants, but the detrimental effect of cheaper oils and greases on equipment can prove more expensive over time. Fifty-two per cent of companies surveyed wouldn’t expect a higher quality lubricant to help reduce maintenance costs. However, a lubricant that offers improved wear protection, longer oil drain intervals and enhanced fuel efficiency has the potential to deliver significant cost savings. Beyond helping customers choose the right lubricant, Shell Lubricants also has in-field experts and a range of services to advise on correct application and management.” 

Shell Lubricants has released a whitepaper to address some of these issues and show the tangible business benefits that could be achieved through correct selection and management of lubricants. 

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About the author

Richard Wilson is a correspondent for Truck & Bus News. Since 2015, Richard has worked as a correspondent for all of the titles across the Valebridge Publications Ltd Group namely: Retreading Business, Tyre & Rubber Recycling, The Tyreman and Commercial Tyre Business. Richard has worked on/off from the age of 16 for the company and whilst gaining a Bachelor's Degree in Spanish and Business Studies at Coventry University, he developed his writing skills at the University paper and more recently writing his own independent blog.


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