4 ways reporting can improve your fleet operations
Analyzing data from reports can improve the efficiency and safety of your fleet.
There is no doubt about it. Purchasing fuel for your fleet is costly. It represents approximately 60% of a fleet’s total operating costs1.
Using telematics technology, you can automatically track fuel consumption. It can show how much fuel is being used within a certain time period, which vehicles are using the most fuel, what days or times the most fuel is used and so on.
This can also be cross-referenced with reports on driving behavior. It has been proven that certain behaviors, such as excessive idling and speeding, increase fuel consumption. So if, for example, you spot a driver using a lot more fuel than other drivers doing essentially the same, you can look at their idling and speeding reports to see whether this might be the cause. If so, they can be given appropriate training to minimize these behaviors. Should these behaviors turn out to not be the cause, you can investigate other reasons on why so much fuel is wasted.
Reporting can also inform you of unauthorized vehicle usage, another possible cause of excessive fuel usage. Since telematics track vehicles on a daily basis, you can see exactly where drivers have been travelling. By looking at these locations, you can determine whether a driver is making unscheduled stops or using their vehicle for personal use when it should only be used for completing jobs or making deliveries.
It’s a fact that poor driver behavior is the number one cause of crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) examined 2,046,000 crashes and determined that 94% of those were caused exclusively due to driver error. So it’s vital to control these behaviors.
Poor driving behaviors include speeding, harsh acceleration, late braking, non-usage of a seatbelt, using a phone while driving and more. Depending on which telematics solution you choose, you can get detailed reports on which behaviors all drivers engage in the most, which behaviors a specific driver is guilty of and how severe a specific issue is (for example, see how far over the speed limit are drivers going and how frequently). All of this can inform your driver training decisions in an effort to extinguish these behaviors and ultimately improve the safety of your fleet.
What’s more is after training has been implemented, you can use reporting to track how well (or not) a specific driver is progressing. It can also be used a motivational tool for drivers.
Fleet utilization refers to whether vehicles are being used to their fullest potential to optimize return on investment. Vehicles need to be in near-constant motion to increase uptime and profits.
Some of the metrics you need to look at when wanting to determine your fleet’s utilization rate:
- Vehicle arrival and departure times
- Travel times between different jobs
- Times of the day when vehicles are idle or not in use
- Duration of stops while completing jobs
Telematics reporting provides you information like the above and more in an organized format. Using this information, you can determine whether vehicles are taking the most efficient routes to jobs (avoiding traffic or construction) and make sure only the closest vehicles to a job are sent to avoid wasting fuel and time.
You can see trends with reporting which may help you see a shift in traffic during certain periods of the year. This will aid you in deciding which routes vehicles should take depending on these trends. Reports can also tell you whether a vehicle is in frequent use. If not, the vehicle either needs to be reassigned to a different area or sold if a gap is not found for it at all, thus saving you the cost of upkeep and fuel.
In addition to all of the above, keeping a record of driver hours also helps you to keep your fleet compliant if you need to fulfill certain legal requirements to avoid driver fatigue.
Unscheduled vehicle downtime can reduce your efficiency and incur unnecessary costs. Telematics technology and reporting can tell you a lot about the health of your vehicle and give you the tools to properly maintain them.
Engine diagnostic measuring can notify you that, for example, a vehicle part is on the brink of failure, engine overheating or oil pressure changes. Once you have that information, you can then schedule the vehicle in question to go in for repair and properly plan to fill the gap that the vehicle’s absence will inevitably leave. Maintenance and repair is thus on your terms, and not forced on you when it’s not convenient.
When that information is placed in a reporting format, you can more accurately predict, for example, when certain vehicles need maintenance or oil changes. This helps you budget more appropriately and reduce the effect that downtime can have on overall efficiency. You can also spot trends in certain vehicles failing more easily or from certain activities, which may inform future purchases.
Telematics technology can also measure engine hours and this will inform you when you need to send a vehicle in for maintenance so you can keep a regular schedule. Then you can compare vehicle or engine part failure with the engine hours through reporting. This can help you decide whether the maintenance schedule should be adjusted or whether failure is occurring at a more rapid pace than is expected, which may indicate an underlying problem such as wear and tear from poor driver behavior. Should a certain vehicle fail more rapidly than other similar vehicles, you can look at driver behavior reports to see whether that is a related issue or if it’s a manufacturing problem.
1. Antich, M. & Lundin, A. (2016, November 18). Operating costs flat for fourth consecutive year. Retrieved from https://www.automotive-fleet.com/157057/operating-costs-flat-for-fourth-consecutive-year.
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