Learning Zone

Overcoming Fleet Management Problems Through Better Data Management

By Lily Hartley
22 January 2021

Want to know how improving the management of your fleet and assets can boost efficiency and create cost savings?

Gathering information and analysing it is good practice to help you solve fleet management challenges. It can also identify inefficiencies and support better operational decisions in areas such as:

  • Better vehicle utilisation – real-time knowledge of the vehicles within your fleet, including how they are being allocated, used and disposed of, can help ensure on-going utilisation improvements.
  • Improved driver oversight and profiling – information about your drivers can help create risk profiles and identify training needs. This can, in some instances, help reduce accidents and insurance premiums
  • Enhanced parts management – knowledge of parts and stock availability can help eliminate overstock situations, increase staff/workshop productivity, minimise downtime and ultimately reduce inventory costs.
  • Reduced fuel consumption and emissions – details of fuel costs, purchases and consumption and emissions can be useful when analysing performances and ensuring fleet compliance with legislative and other requirements.
  • Maintenance and repair activities – data concerning repair times and workshop productivity can help you assess how well your maintenance and repair operations are being run – and where improvements can be made. A well-run maintenance department can provide many benefits including reduced costs and downtime.

Did you know… with fuel expenditure accounting for around a third of the average fleet’s spending, reducing consumption can lead to significant cost savings.

What data do I need?

There is a huge range of fleet-related information that can prove useful for fleet management. Such data is generated both internally (e.g via job cards and work rotas) and externally (e.g from GPS or telematics software).

Overloaded and overwhelmed: a common problem

Ultimately, if you don’t understand and control your data, you’ll find that it’s a harder challenge to manage your fleet. The potential consequences of this can include stressed staff, costly mistakes and wasteful spending.

Which is why we think it’s important that you only analyse the data you really need – there’s no point spending hours of time shifting through the data or spending your weekend catching up on work. Research shows that 88% of fleet decision-makers have carried out tasks outside of working hours in order to catch up on their workload.

The best tactic for ensuring efficiency is to have an effective process in place for gathering the data that’s useful for your unique fleet operation.

Gathering useful fleet data

We follow three simple steps when it comes to gathering useful data:

1. Assess what data you have available. Whether it’s from spreadsheets or existing fleet management systems, GPS or telematics devices, fuel reports, accounting finance software or service, parts or account providers, and even vehicle specification databases and driving licence checkers.

2. Determine how your fleet data can help improve your operation. We recommend you start with your core needs – the actual areas where effective data management can be crucial for your business. Ask yourself questions such as “What are my fleet’s highest cost categories?” and “Which vehicles, systems or components are utilised most?”. Then, consider what data could be beneficial when used for benchmarking and improvement.

For example, if your fuel costs are causing you concern, the ability to gather and analyse telematics data could help you identify drivers with a tendency for hard braking, acceleration or speeding which use more fuel. The ability to act on and monitor such behaviour can help you significantly reduce costs.

3. Access your data: Time is money! It’s important to have immediate access to your data and be able to interpret it quickly. Instead of using a system that requires you to look around for the data you need – through dated fleet management practices such as spreadsheets or paper-based filing systems – we suggest you opt for a system that enables you to easily access all your data from a single location.

Following this process will provide you with a solid start in understanding what data you have, what data you need and how it could be used to support positive changes.

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