If you are looking for a way to reduce fuel costs for your transportation company, introducing fuel cards is likely the best solution. These savings are achieved primarily by reducing fraud and getting discounts and sometimes reach 15-20%. The principle of work of such cards is that they can be used like ordinary bank cards and, thus, can be considered a more convenient alternative to cash when paying for fuel. Let's learn about fuel card benefits in more detail and also take a look at a special case of their implementation in a custom transport management system Gamma TMS we created.
How Fuel Cards Work
So, how do fuel cards work? As you may have already understood, their work is based on the principle of traditional credit cards. However, this type of card is used only for one purpose – to pay for gasoline and diesel fuel. In particular, after refueling the vehicle, the driver either hands it over to a gas station employee to carry out the transaction or does it themselves by putting the card into a specialized machine. When such cards are introduced into the work processes of transport companies, fuel costs are automatically transferred to the accounts of these companies, thus simplifying the accounting of expenses.
The most well-known fuel card providers operating in the United States today include WEX, Fuelman, Comdata, ExxonMobil, Sunoco, Shell, and BP.
Please note that to obtain a petrol card for a specific truck, you will need to provide its registration number and also indicate the mileage. In the future, this data will be checked on-site for each transaction so that you can be sure that the cards are used by the driver for their intended purpose and not for personal needs.
Benefits of Fuel Card
Now, let's find out more about the benefits of using a fuel card for fleets.
Lower fuel prices and discounts
Fuel cards save money. Specifically, using fuel cards allows you to save money on each transaction when refueling your truck. In particular, upon receipt of such a card, the company sets a fixed national price per liter of fuel, which is always a few cents lower than the retail price, which can vary from one gas station to another. In addition, having a card belonging to a specific provider can eliminate the situation of purchasing more expensive types of fuel in situations where this can be avoided.
Another source of savings can be the discounts that fuel suppliers provide from time to time. Finally, don’t forget about the opportunities for long-term savings that can be achieved by obtaining a holistic picture of fuel costs and subsequently adjusting routes.
Using fuel cards for trucking company eliminates the need to store receipts because all data on completed transactions (in particular, the cost of each gallon of fuel purchased) is automatically sent to the accounting department of the transport company.
This significantly simplifies the reporting of drivers since they no longer need to store stacks of receipts accumulated during the trip.
Companies that supply fuel cards sometimes provide corporate clients with a number of additional services that can significantly optimize their business processes. Often, they relate to the optimization of reporting, the provision of personal managers, an expanded range of goods that can be purchased using fuel cards, car wash, and service station services, and much more.
Thus, transport companies benefit further by not having to purchase these services from third-party providers.
Reduced fraud-associated risks
The fuel card integration also eliminates situations where truck drivers use company funds allocated to purchase fuel for their needs. In this way, the risks of fraud are minimized, and companies no longer have problems planning a budget for refilling their trucks.
At the same time, fuel cards for truck drivers help protect them – due to the fact that they do not have to carry large amounts of cash with them, they are less likely to be exposed to the risk of attacks for the purpose of theft.
Simplified workflows in your accounting department
Finally, using a company fuel card implies only one expense item – the purchase of fuel for the truck to which it is tied. This approach greatly simplifies the calculation of expenses for the accounting department without allowing them to lose track of a single cent spent. This is useful for transportation companies of any size but is of particular benefit to those whose fleet includes three or more dozen trucks.
In particular, fuel card management is much simpler than working with receipts, as such processes as transaction recording and invoicing are automatically registered by the selected card provider and updated in real time. This, in turn, eliminates the need to regularly review tons of documentation to balance debits with credits.
How We Integrate Fuel Cards in Our Custom TMS
Let's look at a specific TMS integration case when we had to tie fuel cards to a multi-user custom Gamma TMS that we created from scratch for a transport company from the USA.
In general, the client had quite complex internal business processes, and therefore, it was not possible to find a ready-made solution that would cover and automate them to the proper extent. That's why the client decided to contact us to create a comprehensive platform for logistics business management that offers unique features for specialists according to the department: accounting, safety, dispatching, supply chain management, etc.
We would like to pay special attention to the functionality of the accounting department – one of the main features that should have been present in it was the integration of the company gas card from the Compass Fuel provider, which the client’s company actively used.
The difficulty of this integration was that this service was quite outdated, and it was impossible to connect it through the API due to the lack of such an API. In connection with this, transactions can be uploaded via a CSV file only. To do this, we have developed the appropriate functionality in Gamma TMS so that users can independently download such files, and, at the same time, the data they contain would be saved in the correct format in the place where it is needed.
Currently, the client’s company actively uses this TMS, and we are gradually refining and optimizing it.
Now you know how using fuel cards can simplify work processes within transport companies and optimize costs associated with the purchase of fuel for trucks. If you are looking for a developer company that would carry out seamless integration for your digital system, feel free to contact us.