While fleets are often seen as a necessary expense for businesses, proactive fleet management based on data-driven insights helps increase productivity, reduce unnecessary spend, and turns fleets from cost centers to valuable resources. Collecting fleet data is critical to proactive fleet management; the more data you have, the easier it is to nail down the root causes of inflated expenses and productivity-hampering issues.
Many fleets are turning to fleet management software (FMS) and other fleet solutions to track fleet data and access easy-to-read reports around key productivity metrics, from overall fleet utilization to individual asset performance.
Tracking Threats to Productivity
A productive fleet is a profitable fleet, and the greatest threat to a fleet’s productivity is unexpected asset downtime. While it’s impossible to remove unexpected downtime completely, it is possible to reduce downtime fleet-wide. Tracking the following metrics can help you reduce fleet expenses and improve fleet-wide productivity.
Maximizing the useful life of fleet assets is a large part of reducing both overhead and service-related costs. Measuring asset utilization allows you to see what assets are being overused so you can make adjustments, including placing those assets on lower mileage routes, increasing preventive maintenance (PM) schedules to balance the workload, or cycling those assets with ones that are underused.
Although you can tweak maintenance schedules to be more in line with overused assets, balanced asset usage creates more predictable vehicle lifecycles and consistent maintenance schedules for increased cost control and reduced downtime. You can track utilization data from several sources, including odometer readings, fuel consumption, and asset assignments.
Maintenance Compliance Rate
On-time PM compliance factors greatly into asset life, as well as reduced repair spend and unscheduled downtime. Measuring your maintenance compliance rate helps ensure PM is performed on time across all fleet assets. You can track maintenance compliance through PM schedules, service histories, and driver inspections.
Strict PM compliance reduces the risk of repair instances and allows you to plan around asset downtime in advance. Fleet solutions like FMS allow you to set service reminders based on PM schedules which can be sent to all parties who need to be aware of the upcoming service event, including drivers, technicians, and parts managers. Automatically track maintenance compliance and easily spot which assets are missing the mark so you can address the issue quickly.
Time to Repair
A good portion of downtime occurs while an asset is actually in the shop, whether for scheduled or unscheduled service. The time it takes to complete service can be influenced by things like parts and labor availability and workload volume. Unfortunately, some downtime can be attributed to unnecessarily lengthy wait times for both start of service and pickup once service is complete.
By measuring time to repair, you can reduce the impact of vehicle downtime and pinpoint inefficiencies in the shop to improve productivity. Additionally, you can identify bottlenecks and determine which services to perform in-house and which to outsource to get your assets back on the road quickly. You can track time to service through work orders, completed jobs, and repeated service histories.
Cost Per Mile
Maximizing an asset’s useful life isn’t the same as running it until it no longer runs. After a certain point, assets can become serious money pits if not taken out of service. Measuring your cost per mile helps you identify the best time to replace an asset. Using cost per mile data allows you to pinpoint the exact moment that an asset is no longer financially beneficial so you can reduce maintenance, repair spend, and downtime and improve ROI. You can track cost per mile by comparing similar assets to each other, as well as through fuel consumption data and service histories.
Tracking Key Metrics with Technology
There are numerous fleet software and solutions available to help fleets track, collect, store, and aggregate data. Fleet technologies such as FMS, telematics, and fuel cards offer fleets real-time insights into operational status. If you’re using multiple fleet technologies, an integrated fleet management system allows you to bring all of your fleet data sources onto a single platform. FMS automates maintenance processes and reduces communication bottlenecks for improved service times. Drivers can report issues in real time for quick scheduling and repair. FMS also automatically calculates asset utilization, maintenance compliance rates, time to repair, and cost per mile.
While there is no shortage of fleet solutions available, you can still gain valuable data through manual tracking. Regardless how you choose to track fleet data, honing in on the above key metrics will help ensure you’re getting the most out of your assets while improving productivity through decreased downtime.