Chevin’s new VP of Global Consulting & Client Services, Bill Griffiths, provides insight on his past experience within the Fleet industry…
I’m often asked “What are the most critical skillsets for a fleet manager?”
If you had asked me 15 years ago, I would have quickly told you it was technical knowledge, mechanical aptitude and the ability to run a shop. Then in 2004, as a relatively ’green’ fleet manager, I was challenged with steep budget cuts, new Federal mandates to ’right-size’ the fleet and a very limited pool of replacement funds.
I knew I needed to get my hands wrapped around these things, but I didn’t know where to start.
As a kid I loved baseball. Not just the game, I loved the statistics behind everything, pitching, hitting, wins and losses.
In 2004 I read a book called Moneyball by Michael Lewis. The book tells the real-life story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics and their analytical, evidence based, data focused approach to assembling a competitive team, despite their disadvantaged revenue situation. This book really changed my thought process and made me rethink my approach as a fleet manager – could data really change the discussion?
And could the data I’m collecting on my fleet help influence the thoughts of key decision makers? Moreover, could it give me the edge I needed to help achieve my goals?
Inspired, I quickly jumped right in and I realized I first needed to understand what was really important to decision makers.
They have never been to the shop, so they don’t see the full picture. They have perception of what they think fleet is and does, but I needed to turn that perception into reality.
I asked myself, what matters to them? What are the key questions they need answered?
Below are just a few of questions posed to me:
How many vehicles do we have?
Are they the right types?
Do we have too many?
How much do they cost?
How much does PM maintenance cost?
Are our In-house shops competitive with local shops?
What is the total cost of operations?
I quickly learned that I didn’t have the all the answers to these questions, and this informational wasn’t readily available. Moreover, it was clear that I needed a process to gather key data points in order to build the necessary reports, create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help define what was important, educate decision makers and set goals.
To do this I created a framework which would serve as the foundation for my team’s success:
Core Data – items like standardized Class Codes, Preventive Maintenance (PM) schedules, Standard Repair Times (SRT) and Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VRMS) establish the ’core’ for your fleet data.
Transactional Data – these are the points that provide data as a result of transactions or events. These can be financial, logistical or maintenance based, such as odometers, work orders, fuel transactions, vehicle charging and accidents. Each of these create data point(s) that when linked to ’core data’ can be used to develop KPIs and reports.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – these are the quantitative and qualitative measures that demonstrate how effectively your fleet is achieving its objectives relative to goals, and can be used for benchmarking internally or against industry standards.
Once I knew my audience and defined what was important, I was able to create meaningful metrics and reports that had a logical structure and flow.
Just like the Oakland Athletics, I was able to leverage data to build a solid foundation and make fact-based decisions. This also made it possible for me to create a consistent format to deliver critical information, communicate progress and highlight exceptions that, once fully assembled, a told fact-based story about my fleet that those in a leadership position could understand.
So, what are the Metrics or data points that matter? Below are just a few that I feel are essential and you should have at your fingertips.
Cost Per Mile (CPM)
Miles per Gallon (MPG)
Direct Labor Rates
Now when I’m asked ”What are the most critical skills that a Fleet Manager must possess”, I have an entirely different answer.
Beyond technical skills, individuals must be data-fluent, strategically focused, fiscally minded and expert communicators. I believe that good data can change the conversation, help inspire progress and galvanize change.
As FleetWave users, you have the industry leading fleet management solution at your fingertips. Let Chevin help you to maximize the use of your data and evaluate your business processes, identifying strengths and weaknesses, recommend best practices and optimize FleetWave.
Let’s partner together to help you connect with leadership, tell your fleet’s story and improve your operations.