Big data shouldn’t be seen as a big problem.
Company owners or managers might occasionally feel like they’re on the receiving end of a fire hose of data, such is the volume and range of statistics provided by some modern business systems.
But this scenario can easily be avoided, particularly when it comes to managing a vehicle fleet. Fleet management technology can provide incredible insight into numerous aspects of a business so, to make sense of all this information, it helps to have specific applications for each set of data.
Below, we have outlined five key areas for change in a business and the data which can help smarter decision-making in each case.
The biggest costs involved in running a vehicle fleet are fuel and people. So, given redundancies are a cost-cutting measure any employer will be keen to avoid, the best way to reduce cost is by reducing fuel consumption.
In turn, the best way to reduce fuel consumption is by improving driver behaviour and MPG acts as the bottom line in this area.
The other crucial areas for measurement are idling time, speeding and driving events (incidences of poor driving style). Fleet management technology will draw on this information to create a performance profile for each driver, quickly highlighting areas for concern or improvement.
Further to this, drivers can even get feedback on their driving style in real-time via their satellite navigation device. This is a perfect example of data being packaged to enable smarter decision-making, allowing drivers to act immediately to help cut costs and improve efficiency.
Duty of Care
Driver behaviour also features heavily here, particularly in terms of speeding and driving events.
Fleet management technology makes it possible to see how many of these infringements have been committed by a driver within a day, week or month. Delving deeper, it is possible to gain an overview of when and where these incidents have occurred or even track them in real-time to find out the reasons behind them.
Another crucial area for measurement is driver hours. Monitoring the time employees spend behind the wheel means they can be provided with automatic reminders when they are due a break and prevented from working longer than permitted by law.
Any improvements in this area are important not only for legal compliance but also an improved risk profile. Data showing a reduction in speeding or driving events will be looked on favourably by insurers when premiums are calculated.
Customers hate being kept waiting. Yet research conducted on behalf of TomTom found 92% of British consumers have suffered tradesmen and delivery firms turning up late for appointments.
Therefore, it is crucial to monitor work schedules and especially how the time allocated to a particular job matches up to the actual ETA.
Traffic is one of the biggest variables affecting a driver’s ability to arrive at a job on time but fleet management technology takes account of this to provide real-time information on arrival times.
Consequently, the most appropriate employee can be dispatched to each job, allowing schedules to be amended on the fly, and customers can be immediately notified if there is going to be a delay.
Service and productivity are interlinked so the use of ETA and traffic data to improve service will have a knock-on effect on productivity too, allowing employees to spend less time on the road and more time doing their job.
The integration of a fleet management system with routing and scheduling or workflow software will also allow schedules to be optimised by taking account anticipated journey times and the traffic picture at specific times of the day or week.
On a basic level, the number of jobs completed in a day will also provide an insight into productivity, including the time employees arrived and departed each job.
Disparities can be discussed with staff to address any issues preventing them from completing jobs in a timely, efficient manner, allowing scheduled to be tailored accordingly.
CO2 emissions are one of the most significant environmental impacts for any company operating a sizeable vehicle fleet.
Schemes designed to improve driver behaviour will bring improvements in this area too and the impact is easy to track through trends in the total CO2 output for an entire fleet or particular vehicles.
Demonstrating a reduction in emissions will help to avoid claims of ‘greenwash’ – where companies have been accused of failing to back up a supposed commitment to the environment with genuine action – and to win contracts where suppliers are required to meet certain green standards.