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Businesses of all sizes are using data to optimize their fleet operations with the help of affordable, easy-to-use technology. Relying on drivers and vehicles to build a healthy bottom line means needing to know how certain fleet-related metrics and benchmarks can help you measure success. In the digital world we live in, data is everywhere, but what you do with that data is what matters most; and fleets today are graduating from a reactive to a proactive approach when it comes to managing technicians and vehicles.
As more and more technology becomes available, understanding how you can use actionable data to do more, make more and stress less becomes a must-have. Everything from vehicle location to driver behavior, customer service and productivity levels can help tell a story that can lead you down the road toward optimization and improvement. However, it can also get increasingly harder to determine what kind of data you need to collect to measure fleet performance.
We’ve narrowed it down to the top five data points that will help you get a grasp on what is going on with your fleet:
1. Stops made per day
Let’s talk productivity. Do you know the number of stops your technicians make each day? Having a good handle on where your drivers are, the routes they take to get to jobs and how long they spend on a jobsite will help you see if you have room to schedule another job per technician, per day — talk about a boost to the bottom line! To truly understand if there’s room for those additional jobs, make sure the right routes are being taken to and from job, lunch hours and breaks aren’t being over-extended past the allotted time and vehicles are stocked with the right inventory to cover the day’s work. Believe it or not, a lot of time and fuel is wasted traveling to and from a jobsite to keep restocking inventory.
2. Fuel usage and efficiency
Fuel represents 60 percent of a fleet’s total operating costs. That’s a significant amount of money, and there are a lot of factors that affect your fleet’s fuel consumption. Speeding, harsh driving habits, idling, vehicle maintenance and poor route planning are some of the biggest culprits for wasted fuel. Taking a look at how your fleet’s current practices and policies can help give you a peek behind the curtain of how much you are actually spending on fuel — pretty much everything your technicians and vehicles do can affect fuel usage and efficiency. Seemingly minor actions like cranking the AC while on a lunch break, unnecessarily idling the engine at a jobsite or stopping and starting the vehicle too often, can really take its toll on overall fuel efficiency and how much money you spend each month on your fuel bill (which could be more than you realize). Tracking fuel usage and efficiency levels on each of your vehicles helps you know the exact amount of money you are spending, and helps you identify ways to cut down on unnecessary fuel spending.
3. Harsh driving behavior
Quick accelerations, taking corners like a racecar driver, and slamming on the brakes — these are all indicators of dangerous driving behavior. Add in speeding, and your fleet increases its likelihood for accidents that have the potential to cost you quite a bit of money. The average cost of an accident for an employer is around $16,500 per incident,2 but the true cost of such an incident goes beyond the monetary impact, including damage to your reputation. Understanding how your vehicles are being treated and how your drivers are operating behind the wheel, will help you coach your technicians accordingly and curb dangerous driving habits before they have a negative impact on your business and bottom line.
4: Maintenance cost per vehicle
Keeping your vehicles on the road is a priority. When those vehicles head to the garage for any kind of lengthy service or repair, you run the risk of losing productivity and, in turn, revenue. Skipping vehicles’ scheduled service appointments (think regular oil changes and tire rotations) often translate to a higher rate of breakdowns. Beyond an unhealthy vehicle’s impact on the bottom line, it also has the ability to tarnish the exceptional level of service your customers have grown to expect from you. If it becomes commonplace for your technicians to call customers to let them know they’re running behind because their vehicle broke down, you face the risk that frustrated customers will take their business elsewhere. Setting up automatic service reminders can help you manage time (and money) when it comes to keeping your vehicles healthy, making it easy and stress-free to keep your vehicles and employees working for you.
Manually calculating payroll using paper timecards could be costing you more than you think. Every business wants to make sure their employees get paid, accurately and on time, meaning the payroll process can be stressful. If you’re relying on the paper-and-pencil method, it may mean you’re dealing with handwriting that’s tough to read, hours that may have been fudged or even missing timecards, all of which can drastically impact your ability to pay your employees the wages they work so hard for. Then there’s customer billing, which can add another level of stress. Knowing the exact amount of time a technician spent on the job is critical to making sure you don’t over- or undercharge your customers. Automating timecards using a GPS fleet tracking solution can help eliminate timesheet fraud and improve the accuracy of your payroll and overtime calculations so you’re paying for only the hours worked — nothing more, nothing less.
All these data points can easily be accessed using a GPS fleet tracking solution like Fleetmatics REVEAL. Armed with the knowledge of exactly what to look for, both managers and employees can be equipped with the insight and knowledge they need to make smart decisions, help increase revenue and protect their bottom lines.