How to measure the performance of your fleet
Telematics in the fleet industry continues to grow and evolve how we analyze and improve operations. Telematics makes it easier than ever to collect data about your vehicles, drivers, and day-to-day operations and their associated costs and revenue. With this data, you can make more informed decisions and better manage your business.
But, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. And you can’t know if you’re meeting goals if you don’t set any.
Goal setting is an important part of improving productivity within your fleet, but let’s first identify your type of goal: ROI-based or COI-based. Do you want a Return on Investment (ROI) or do you want to go the route of eliminating the Cost of Ignoring (COI)?
Here’s a good way to look at ROI vs. COI:
- Goal: Increase profitability
- Strategy: Maximize incremental revenue
- Central question: How should we spend money?
- Goal: Increase profitability
- Strategy: Minimize operating costs
- Central question: Where can we save money?
No matter if you go the ROI or COI route, you’ll still be collecting the same data points, but interpreting them in a different manner.
How to collect the data
There are several sources to collect data from and many fleets use a combination of these three sources.
- Telematics solutions: GPS, speed, HOS, DTCs, fuel economy, driver data
- Fuel cards: transaction history, fuel spend, mileage
- Dash cams: video footage of the driver or from the driver’s point of view
All of these sources have pros and cons, like a pro of telematics is that you capture the data right from the vehicle itself, but a con is that it outputs a large volume of data to analyze and manage – and then put into driver training.
What metrics matter?
Every fleet, every vehicle, and every driver are different. You’ll have to pick the metrics that matter most to your business to accurately analyze your business.
But, some common metrics to measure your fleet’s performance include:
- Miles driven per month
- Fuel economy per vehicle
- Miles per gallon
- Unassigned mileage per vehicle
- Engine idle time
- Frequency of stops
- Time on site
- % optimized vehicles
- # harsh braking events per driver per month
- # harsh acceleration events
- Speeding events
- At fault accidents
- Cell phone use behind the wheel
- Capacity utilization
- Cost per mile – tires, fuel, repairs, taxes
- Average service time
- # of regularly scheduled services and costs per vehicle
- Unplanned maintenance/downtime
To compare apples to apples, you’ll need to set a timeframe for how these data points are collected. Most go with weekly, monthly, or quarterly to allow more time for data collection and to get a better bigger picture of performance.
Benchmark your data
Once you’ve set up your timeframes, schedule time for audits of your data to identify patterns or trends in your data set, and time to look at benchmark reports. Benchmark reports allow you to see how you compare to other fleets.
You can benchmark your data by geography, fleet size, utilization driving patterns, and other important segments.
You wouldn’t want to compare your fleet that operates out of Des Moines with one that operates out of New York City. So, benchmarking and context is important to make sure your performance is in line with your industry and to identify any opportunities you may not be taking advantage of.
How to use the findings in your operations
Now that you’re digging deeper into the data of your fleet’s performance, it’s time to put those insights into action!
First up is refining or even setting new goals. Perhaps you had a goal of reducing fuel spend by 15% but your data is showing you where your fleet is falling short of that goal or show you that you can do better than 15%. Setting realistic, data-backed goals keeps up your team’s motivation and sense of accomplishment, thus ensuring your fleet is meeting its goals each and every year.
You might also use this data to make changes in your fleet, like retiring underutilized vehicles, updating routes and schedules, or setting new safety policies.
Finally, you can use this data in your employees’ performance reviews or as metrics for your good driver incentive program. It won’t be a guessing game on who your best performers are anymore and you can reward those drivers appropriately.
Want to learn how to get the most out of your telematics system? Watch the recording of Derive’s webinar on pairing telematics with AVM for accelerated results.