The days of GPS navigation and pins-on-a map functionality have log passed. Today, telematics solutions are able to provide fleet managers with big data that they can use to optimize business processes that far exceed getting a vehicle from point A to Point B.
These days, fleet data can be used to:
- Reduce fuel consumption, plan routes, and reduce speeding and idle time, which in turn, reduce operating costs.
- Correct speeding, hard breaking, unsafe lane changes and other unsafe driving behavior, thus reducing liability claims and on-the-job injuries.
- Automate IFTA tax tracking, driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs), and Hours of Service (HOS) reporting.
- Improve decision making processes through the examination and blending of fleet tracking and telematics data to provide new types of business intelligence.
While fleet data is a powerful tool to have, managing vast amounts of data can quickly become overwhelming for the unprepared fleet manager. Luckily, we have a few tips from fleet data experts that will help you get the most out of your fleet data.
Set Measurable Targets
Big data is central to improving operation efficiency and productivity, which ultimately boosts your bottom line. However, this data is insignificant if you don’t have measurable targets to strive for. Sid Nair, Senior Director of Marketing and Product Management at Teletrac, recommends that you first understand your business objectives and then attribute them to various aspects of your business. Through this process, you will be able to identify areas for improvement and refine operations.
Manage By Exception
In order to condense the data, set up alerts based on occurrences that you will take action on. This is called management by exception. Managing data by exception cuts down on the data that you are receiving on a daily basis, and helps you avoid becoming unresponsive to fleet data.
It is important to establish key performance indicators and tie them to fleet data for management by exception to work. For example, one of your business objectives might be to promote driver safety through a reduction in excessive speeding, so you might configure your fleet management software to send an alert when a driver reaches a speed of 15 miles over the speed limit for at least 1 minute.
Keep It Simple
Focusing on too many challenges creates a situation where data becomes overwhelming. Ryan Driscoll, Marketing Director at GPS Insight, recommends focusing on one challenge or metric at a time. He also recommends that you identify the most important metrics to target for improvement, and then expand the number of metrics as you become more familiar with your fleet management solution.
Fleet operators can filter data as it comes in to make the data simpler to read and interpret. In addition, organize the data in a way that allows for short-term response, such as addressing a speeding driver, and long-term planning, such as evaluation of routes and vehicle utilization.
Clearly Define Data Management Resposnibilites
To stay on top of the sometimes-complex array of information gathered by your telematics solution, clearly define who is responsible for monitoring and reacting to various data feeds and alerts. One way to do this, is to make sure that different members of your fleet are responsible for different data. For example, dispatchers keep track of vehicle movement and logistical data involved with getting drivers from point A to point B most efficiently, and fleet managers keep track of driver behavior and fuel cost data.
Leverage Data to Better Manage and Coach Driver Behavior
Fleet data provides an array of information about the habits of drivers, from unsafe driving behavior that can lead to an accident to driving behavior that puts a strain on organization resources. One way that you can leverage this information to minimize poor driving behavior, is to utilize driver performance rankings. By utilizing driver performance rankings, you will be able to identify top and low performing drivers based on their fuel consumption, safe driving habits, and compliance performance. You might also consider using this information to introduce an incentive program.
A Data-Driven Approach to Fleet Management
Fully leveraging your fleet data is no easy task. A comprehensive telematics strategy does offer fleet managers the best opportunity to capture real-time data about all aspects related to the cost of managing and owning assets. However, it is important to remember that in order to continuously benefit from your fleet management solution; you will have to work for it.
We would like to hear how you are getting the most out of your data. Share your story in the comments below.