Although beverage distributor fleets can be very diverse, there are some constants, one of which is their trucks usually return to base every 24 hours. Returning home each night offers even more choices in what is a very complicated decision matrix when you are deciding what vehicles to dispose of and what to replace them with. Fueling at your base makes alternative fuels a part of your ROI calculations and perhaps the only CO2 you will be distributing is in a keg or bottle and not via a tailpipe.
CNG (compressed natural gas), LNG (Liquid Natural gas), PHEV, LPG (liquid propane gas) are typical options, but it isn’t just about fuel futures and carbon footprints, because now your ROI must include the capital costs of adding alternative fuel gizmos to the fleet and the investment in fueling stations. Those are all new variables apart from the old familiar ones of capital cost, resale value, driver attitudes (yes they do have them), maintenance costs, repair costs, service tech attitudes (yes they do have attitudes too). Beverage distributors have consumer attitudes and reputations within their communities to uphold and those too should to be included.
Once you consider the details behind the broad brush categories described above there are numerous options and decisions each with its own ROI, e.g. steel or carbon fiber tanks? The generic models already available may meet your needs, or simplify the ‘what if’ scenarios as you converge on TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and the CTA (cost to attain) fuel savings. This is when a decision management system can be jolly helpful.
You could capture the decision process in Excel, but then try explaining it to someone who wasn’t involved. Far better to use a decision management system where your thoughts can be articulated with English-like sentences, or described in decision trees, or truth tables that all connect with each other. Not only can those thought processes be captured and tested for a one-time fuel strategy, they can be recycled for every subsequent vehicle replacement decision. Linked to your fleet-accounting and route planning system, your decision management system can constantly look out for the tipping point and suggest a replacement vehicle.
And once you have made the move you can track the new versus the old to ensure route performance is not impaired and those savings you were promised are actually being delivered.