We live in a world of data. According to estimates reported by explodingtopics.com, 328.77 million terabytes of data are created each day.
Fleet managers can leverage the rise in available data through data analytics, which involves analyzing raw data to draw conclusions that inform business decisions. With data analytics, fleet managers can identify new opportunities, detect potential issues, and track metrics that matter most.
In this article, we’ll go over what fleet management is and ten ways fleet managers can extract business value from data analytics.
Let’s get started!
What is fleet management?
Fleet management refers to managing and maintaining a fleet of commercial vehicles to ensure they are used efficiently, safely, and cost-effectively.
In the past, fleet management required keeping track of vehicles and drivers manually, which could be costly and time-consuming.
Today, fleet managers can use data analytics and technology like GPS tracking and telematics to gain better business insights and improve the overall operational efficiency of their fleet.
Here are ten ways that fleet managers can start leveraging data analytics today:
1. Optimize driving routes
Data analytics allows you to analyze historical traffic patterns, weather conditions, and other factors to plan better driving routes.
For example, you can optimize routes for better fuel efficiency and ensure you meet delivery deadlines. This helps reduce fuel consumption and unnecessary wear and tear on the vehicles, which ultimately leads to saved time and money.
2. Manage fuel costs
Managing fuel costs can be challenging, especially when you manage a large fleet and fuel prices are always changing.
However, with the help of data analytics and internet of things (IoT) tracking devices, you can track fuel usage and fuel economy and see if some vehicles use more gas than others.
You can also get a clearer picture of how fuel is being used. For example, you can detect excessive idling, aggressive driving, and unauthorized use of company fuel cards, which then allows you to pursue corrective action with relevant drivers.
3. Perform predictive vehicle maintenance
With the help of GPS tracking and IoT vehicle sensors, you can also use data analytics to determine when vehicles need maintenance.
Track the mileage of a vehicle and when it last received an oil change or inspection to know when it’s due for another one. That way, you can address maintenance issues before they turn into bigger and more costly repairs.
In some cases, you may need to replace a vehicle entirely to prevent future issues and accidents. Data analytics can tell you when this is necessary.
4. Assess driver performance
Data analytics also allows you to measure driver performance. For example, you can track drivers’ speed, braking, and acceleration. That way, you can see who needs additional training and design training programs around what drivers most need to work on, whether that’s not speeding or obeying other traffic laws.
In addition, data analytics can help improve driver safety in real time. For example, you can alert drivers to recent changes in road conditions or an upcoming road obstacle.
5. Manage vehicle leases
If you lease some of your vehicles, data analytics can help you manage your leases.
For example, it can help ensure vehicle use stays within distances agreed upon in the lease contract. It can also inform you if vehicles aren’t using their allotted distance, in which case, you may want to increase its workload or renegotiate lease terms. Either way, data analytics can help you maximize the value you get from each leased vehicle.
6. Comply with driver regulations
Commercial vehicle drivers must adhere to strict driving regulations. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires drivers to follow Hours of Service Regulations that limit how long they can drive in one stretch.
Data analytics can help ensure drivers don’t exceed their driving hour limits as well as make it easier to record, process, and report driving hours to regulators.
7. Track assets
Data analytics fleet management software can help you monitor vehicle and cargo assets like containers. Keep track of their location and usage in real time to help optimize usage and reduce the risk of theft or misuse.
8. Monitor shipment quality
Many shipments must be handled with care to prevent them from suffering damage. Data analytics can help reveal when situations arise that might jeopardize shipments, such as delayed pickup or unfavorable weather conditions.
For example, a lot of food and pharmaceutical products must be transported at specific temperatures. Data analytics can help ensure shipping temperatures remain what they should be, which can save inventory and limit waste.
9. Predict inventory and demand shifts
Supply chains are prone to disruption. You can use data analytics to predict disruptions before they arise. That way, you can adjust driving routes and schedules to minimize shipment delays and other issues.
The same goes for shifts in market demand. For example, a shortage of butter might cause a rise in the demand for butter substitutes. Data analytics can make you privy to such shifts so you can adapt your logistical operations accordingly.
10. Improve customer service
Lastly, all of the data-enabled improvements to your fleet management listed above can improve your relationships with customers and clients.
How? Optimized fleet management can lead to lower wait times for customers and you can pass some of the savings from better fleet management on to them. This can lead to a more satisfied client base.
The bottom line
Fleet managers who don’t embrace data analytics are bound to get left behind the competition. So if you want to stay ahead of the pack, you need to start investing in data analytics solutions.
Shop around for a data analytics fleet management software that suits your needs. It will pay for itself many times over in the long run by reducing operational costs and enabling your fleet operations to run more efficiently overall.