As a fleet manager, you are expected to keep the costs down, maximize productivity, and preferably to maximize profit in a highly competitive market. You need to measure fleet asset utilization, know all the answers about when, where and who are working, sitting idle, or taking not-so-allowed detours and coffee breaks. The utilization rate has a great impact on costs, which can be tricky, because these amounts are usually not as flashy as a maintenance bill or so. It is about all the little things. Static routing, idling, improper maintenance scheduling, lack of measuring, speeding, and so on.
The fleet asset utilization rate is an estimated fifty percent in the industry. So the good news is, if you start measuring and planning properly, and if you are getting closer to the hundred percent than to the fifty, your company performs better than its competitors on average.
Let us see some aspects what you should measure in the first place. Probably, the results will be slightly different at each point. The performance for travelling with less than maximum capacity might be better, the schedule accuracy might be worse, and so on. But you can always prioritize which performance indicator was more important in the given month.
You need to measure. Great, but what exactly? The list could go long, so we are going to talk – well, write – about what we find the most important, or relevant indicators. How well can you keep the timetable? Does your vehicles leave, or arrive on time? Is the travelling time accurate compared to the expected time? If not, why? Was there an accident, bad – or good – traffic, or detour? What is the actual use of the vehicles with engine on? Idle time ratio?
Are there vehicles which are underused or overused? You might need to reassign some. Are there unnecessary gaps after maintenance events? You need to ensure vehicles are available.
You can use GPS fleet tracking software to keep everything in hand. Our fleet tracking system, EverTrack supports driver safety and productivity, crisis management, proceeding accordingly to the route plan, etc. It provides a flexible solution for workforce tracking, vehicle tracking and fleet telematics purposes.
It is also wise to monitor your assets in order to keep routing dynamic. Of course, there should be a planned route, but static routing is not always the best option. Circumstances, like traffic or weather change. Occasionally, the predetermined road can take longer or be more expensive.
What is worse, than receiving a call in the morning where the driver, or the dispatcher tells you that the engine just will not start? Or one of the tires are gone? There is an important delivery, the truck is still far away and now there is no chance that he is going to make it in time. Neither the client, nor the company’s budget will be happy. You could possibly prevent delicate and costly situations like these with optimized maintenance. It is a little bit like the dentist. You might be in trouble if you do not schedule regular checks. Not to mention, that an unplanned maintenance comes with endless phone calls and a lot of paperwork. Filling out forms, searching for information, waiting on parts, I bet you would rather pass.
Preventive maintenance is the good answer to reduce downtime and delays. A Service Relation Management – or SRM – system will help you out in improving asset utilization rates. You can manage the whole process. It reports on service and repair event interactions, and lets you know when the vehicle is ready to be put back into service.
Methods to track utilization
There are some different ways how you can track fleet asset utilization and you may choose which one is working for you the best. Naturally, there are advantages and disadvantages for each method. Route based usage, mass meter updates and logs, automatic fuel systems, and so on. The good old manual data processing might be the best for small fleets with small budgets. You look at the readings, or reports – EverTrack provides reports, you do not need to worry about that – and fill your spreadsheet manually. It is cost effective, but you will spend more time on data entry instead of working on something else.
Nevertheless the way you do it, the first step is always collecting data to measure and learn how your fleet is performing. Something might look great on the surface, but you have to be in-depth with your charts, tables and graphs.
We think, that the biggest step toward optimal fleet asset utilization is to use a GPS tracking system on a daily basis. CorvusGPS offers easy and cost effective fleet tracking service for companies of any size.
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