ELDs generally provide data from GPS tracking devices connected to the fleet vehicles' engines. These devices track metrics such as idling time, speed and speeding, fuel usage, location, driver behavior, and more. The data is transferred to the fleet management software, and fleet managers can access it through smartphones, tablets, or laptops. In some cases, this data is transmitted in real-time, helping you make quick decisions.
The data collected and transferred through ELDs can be used to create and track key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can use to monitor and improve your fleet's performance in specific areas and overall. Although KPIs are not the same for every fleet – size and vertical may make a difference – here are some of the most common KPIs fleets should be tracking around the areas of safety, efficiency, and compliance.
The biggest category in safety is driver behavior. Fleets that monitor their drivers' behavior as a KPI for fleet management by using the data collected from their ELDs often see significant improvements in their overall safety profile.
The top fleet management KPIs are related to driver behaviors, such as:
This information can be conveyed to you in real-time, especially in the case of crashes, as well as collected and exported in reports for later analysis.
Once you've collected all this data, you can publish weekly driver scorecards that let each driver see how their performance stacks up against other drivers and identify areas where they can improve. By posting these results where drivers can see them, you can gamify driver training by setting up a competition among drivers and rewarding those who show improvement. Drivers can see how they rank against the other drivers and work to improve their performance.
You can also share more detailed scorecards with individual drivers to coach in areas that need improvement. This is an essential tool for driver coaching and improvement of driver behavior.
If you have an in-cab video with your ELD solution, you can configure your system to attach a video of unsafe driving events so you can see what is happening outside and inside the cab when events such as crashes occur.
Efficiency KPIs to track, per vehicle and across your fleet, include:
You can choose how often you want to review reports on maintenance history, fuel economy, empty miles, and fleet asset utilization to improve your fleet's operations.
Monitoring maintenance data and fuel economy help you identify fuel-wasting behaviors like excessive idling and speeding so that you can train your drivers to avoid them. Reducing these behaviors will help reduce wear and tear on your fleet's vehicles and decrease maintenance issues. More importantly, curbing these fuel-wasting behaviors will also result in safer driving overall and fewer crashes.
Getting insight into empty miles and how your assets are used on a daily basis can help you optimize overall asset utilization, and you may even be able to reduce the number of vehicles in your fleet and reduce costs, including maintenance, fuel, and insurance.
Compliance KPIs to track include the main objective of the ELD mandate:
HOS is the most important fleet management KPI and also the main reason for the ELD Mandate. Fleet managers and their dispatchers should be reviewing HOS at least once a day. Best practice is to review this data in real-time as fleet vehicles are dispatched since HOS changes throughout the day.
A weekly review of violations, since they are bound to happen, will help keep your fleet on track. There are minor violations that you don't have to report but do need to track in case you are subject to a DOT audit.
Keeping track of unassigned mileage by vehicle is also a part of the ELD mandate. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all driving time to be captured. If your fleet has exceptions, you need to know about them and assign that mileage to a driver.
While the KPIs above are the most important ones for safety, efficiency, and compliance, there are many more KPIs to monitor that can improve your fleet's overall performance. The KPIs for fleet management listed below not only ladder up into safety, efficiency, and compliance, they are worth tracking on their own to improve fleet operations.
In addition to keeping your fleet compliant and alerting you about vehicle issues, Daily Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) give you insight into the health of your fleet's assets. Reviewing DVIR data by vehicle lets you see common defects throughout your fleet. You can view failure summaries that identify patterns in your fleet and help you develop better preventive maintenance strategies that decrease downtime.
Scheduling preventative maintenance helps improve the lifespan of your fleet vehicles and other assets and saves on unexpected repairs. Fleet management software lets you automate the scheduling of preventive maintenance and ensure that it is completed on time. You can then track the KPIs in terms of improved fleet uptime.
Knowing about maintenance issues in your fleet lets you tackle them immediately before they become bigger problems. Fleet management software paired with a telematics device lets you get alerts about diagnostic issues in real-time. You can handle the maintenance quickly and keep track of these issues for analysis at a later date. Tracking these faults helps you better plan your maintenance and keep track of vehicles with the most issues. You can use this information to decide whether to get the same vehicle or a different one when you need to replace it.
Managing downtime is an important issue for fleet managers since if your vehicles are not on the road when they should be, you could be losing money. No matter if your maintenance is done in-house or outsourced, tracking how much time your fleet vehicles spend in the shop helps make sure repairs are being done on time.
The odometer reading of your fleet vehicles gives you a ton of information and insight. You can use them to plan preventative maintenance and determine when to replace vehicles. Tracking odometer readings helps you keep your vehicles in good condition as well as lower fuel costs and manage your drivers better.
Fuel is a huge but necessary expense for fleets, so tracking use and spend are crucial elements of fleet management. Although it may seem like this is something you have no control over, monitoring fuel consumption can help you reduce your overall fuel costs. By knowing the fuel-wasting behaviors of your drivers, you can reduce their occurrence and reduce your spend on fuel.
Tracking your fleet's total cost of ownership (TCO) helps you make data-driven decisions about your fleet. Fleet management software helps you calculate your vehicle expenses and return on investment (ROI). It also helps you develop strategies around vehicle replacement.
Maximizing asset utilization is key to keeping your fleet profitable. Keeping track of hours of use gives you insight into which vehicles are underutilized and which may be over-utilized. You'll be able to make better decisions about when to liquidate some assets or purchase more to keep up with demand.
When a vehicle stays in operation too long, its performance declines as operating costs rise. At some point, you have to weigh the expense of keeping an older vehicle against the cost of replacing it. Tracking metrics such as service history, odometer readings, and TCO can help you strategically replace vehicles at the right time.
Tracking the depreciation of your vehicles is key to optimizing the efficiency of your fleet. Your vehicles are where a lot of your money is, so establishing a benchmark and tracking performance against it will help you track trends and make strategic decisions.
If your maintenance and repairs are done in-house, you need to make sure you have the parts you need to minimize your fleet's downtime. Controlling inventory levels ensures that you have the parts you need when you need them and helps avoid unnecessary inventory costs.
Tracking accidents and implementing safety procedures help decrease unnecessary expenses for your fleet. Fleet metrics such as driver behavior and DVIR results will give you insight into ways to lower liability and avoid fines and accidents. Closely monitoring these metrics can help you quickly take action to reduce your expenses.
Fleet management software lets you track drivers and their behavior, so you get a clear view of your fleet's productivity. You'll know the duration of their assignments and the distance they have driven. You can pull reports on task or trip duration, mileage, and utilization to improve driver assignments.
Compare your planned routes against actuals to find route inefficiencies to reduce delays throughout your fleet. Pinpointing where route delays occur makes it easier to keep them from happening and improve route efficiency.
Technician productivity is key to keeping your vehicles on the road and expenses under control. With fleet management software, you can track work orders, so you'll know how long your vehicles are in the shop and that the work is being done.
Monitoring internal and external customer service will increase your fleet's efficiency and help grow the business. Internal customers include other drivers, superiors, and others throughout your company. Setting internal standards will help with department efficiency as well as improve customer service for external customers who depend on your team.
Accidents can be costly for your fleet, so while you have safety measures to reduce the number of accidents, you need to be able to reduce the total cost per accident should an unfortunate event occur. While some of these costs will be out of your control, safe driver training can help reduce the severity and liability of accidents, and in turn, lower the total cost of accidents for your fleet.
Related to accident severity is accident frequency. The fewer overall accidents, the less expense your fleet incurs. Tracking accident frequency, along with cost per accident, gives you a big picture view of the effectiveness of your fleet safety program.
While the granular metrics discussed above are key, it's also important to use these fleet management KPIs to gain insight into overall fleet performance. When analyzing reports from your fleet management software, review real-time and historical data to identify trends in all areas of fleet efficiency.
Telematics data gives you deeper insight and fleet visibility, enabling you to take a deep dive into every area of your fleet's operation. The data offered by GPS tracking and telematics software lets you analyze and track data from different angles to see patterns of improvement and areas that still need work.