When future historians look back on the early 21st century they will have ready access to more reference materials than they can handle, but will still shake their heads and ask questions.
These organisations, the historians will say, had the benefit of an endless variety of time-saving inventions. Any business task existing in 1995 could, by 2015, be completed infinitely more quickly. So, with all of this extra time available, how did people spend it?
They waited in call centre queues.
No, that is not supposed to raise laughs. It might pass for dry and dark irony, but is too close to the truth to be amusing. Meanwhile, most folks will recognise the truth of Parkinson’s Law, that work expands to fill the time available.
Nobody with vehicles to manage knows what it is like to sit waiting for something to do. The task list seems to grow exponentially and time is a scarce resource. Anything that reduces the workload has to be a good idea, even if it saves only a couple of hours on a single occasion.
In a function that includes managing fuel procurement and its attendant administration, most fleet managers know that countless administrative and management hours can be saved, on an ongoing basis, with the right fuel card. The challenge, naturally, is to find the ‘right’ one and maximise time savings, without diminishing the day-to-day cost reductions that should be the whole point of the exercise.
Picking a fuel card used to be straightforward, when there were few products and they were essentially all the same. Today, selection has to involve proper research into a wide market, followed by an application process that has never taken less than days.
At least, that was true until very recently. Now, the entire selection and application process can be completed within a couple of minutes of a single web site visit.