With the unpredictable spikes and lulls in demand throughout 2020, many companies found it difficult to measure fleet efficiency and productivity. 2021 is likely to bring similar challenges, but carriers may not struggle quite as much to keep their trucks on the road. It is important for fleet owners to measure productivity throughout their fleet so that they can see what changes need to be made for the future.
In order to do so, data is essential. Any carriers who are not making full use of their available data are missing myriad opportunities to improve performance across the board. Data can show general information, such as total number of loads delivered, but when used correctly, fleet owners can harness far more powerful information.
Today, technology allows carriers to collect data about almost every aspect of their operations. They can see the average number of miles traveled on a particular brand of commercial tire, overall cost of maintenance, and amount of downtime for each driver. While some of these may not sound that exciting as individual stats, they are incredibly powerful when they are brought together to assess the overall performance of a fleet.
Here are some benefits that data technology can bring to fleet owners.
Datasets can show what routes drivers have taken on particular lanes and analyze which ones have been faster. By putting all of this information together, carriers can create optimal routes for regular lanes in which they operate, allowing drivers to deliver more shipments on time and to be ready for their next load ahead of schedule. While certain routes may only be a few minutes shorter than others, this adds up to several days of time saved over the course of a year.
Despite all the advances in materials and machinery, trucks still need constant maintenance. Collections of data can show a fleet manager which parts are more likely to breakdown, and when they are likely to need maintenance. This allows him or her to schedule this maintenance ahead of time in order to minimize service interruptions due to mechanical failures. The upfront cost of predictive maintenance is almost always less than reactive measures to fix something that is already broken.
Fleet managers can pull data that shows a wide range of driver metrics, which lets them evaluate their fleet and come up with plans to make it more efficient. They can see, for example, how long a particular driver spends idling or driving, as well as their overall fuel efficiency numbers. All of this data makes performance assessments much easier, giving the fleet manager more time to focus on their core tasks.
The trucking industry hasn’t always been one to embrace technology, but the tides have turned in recent year. It has become clear that staying on top of data collection and utilizing the power of technology can go a long way in improving the performance of a fleet. With reduced costs, better maintenance schedules, and stronger fuel efficiency, it is easy to see why so many companies are placing a new focus on data collection.