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Enhancing Fleet Management And Performance: Turning Historical Data Into Actionable Intelligence

Field Technologies

May 20, 2015

By Henry Popplewell
Fleet management has come a long way from the days of just sending out drivers and logging their miles. To stay competitive and keep costs down companies are now, more than ever, focused on providing better customer service through improved asset utilization, enhanced business processes, and increased safety and security. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. To do so you need to sift through vast amounts of information and turn that historical data into actionable intelligence. Without the proper tools, however, that data can be ineffective in enabling companies to reduce capital expenditures, optimize asset utilization, eliminate "lost" assets, improve detention management, track stolen assets and improve customer service.
So let’s talk about the real-world competitive benefits that properly analyzed historical data provides fleet managers. The ability to analyze fleet performance trends lets you maximize utilization and profits by exposing opportunities for increasing revenue and cost reduction. The reality is operations and maintenance managers get inundated with loads of data. They’re spending hours downloading data and manipulating it into a useable format. With the technology solutions available today, you can quickly analyze large data sets and view them in a more effective and intuitive way.
For example, if organized correctly you can run reports that provide more visual context and provide historical views in order to determine any trends and perform additional analysis. Having this visualization into how your fleet is actually operating and performing enables you to make the necessary adjustments needed to be more efficient and provide you with a competitive edge. One way to do this is to funnel all your data sources into a visual dashboard that easily translates your historical data into trends and benchmarks, resulting in actionable information.
Examples of using a historical data approach to make more informed operational and business strategy-driven decisions range from analyzing idle reports and mileage logs to distribution of assets and cargo status:

  •  Idle reports give you much more information than just if a trailer is sitting; it allows you to determine where a trailer is located in relation to custom landmarks; what type of trailer it is; why it is sitting; how it can be better utilized; how does it fits into the bigger picture of the entire fleet management program, and more.
  • Mileage logs allow you to get a complete and comprehensive picture of your fleet utilization over a specific period of time to help make preventative maintenance planning more efficient.
  • Distribution of assets analysis provides the necessary details for planning assignments and for tracking the efficiency of your fleet.
  • Cargo sensors give accurate data points regarding security and safety of the trailers and the cargo, as well as trailer availability after a lead has been delivered.

 Being able to identify this information and customize it by the time periods and landmarks that are most relevant to you, is what will separate the companies that remain profitable and efficient from the ones that will be surpassed by the competition. The supply chain and return on investment (ROI) play a much larger role as challenges like driver shortages, compliance issues, and asset costs continue to rise. As a result, the importance of having a solution that can minimize your upfront capital expenses while keeping you ahead of your competition is more critical than ever. Companies can no longer afford to simply ignore effective trailer management.
Effective fleet management and performance comes down to cultivating your historical data and being able to not only analyze it, but review and organize it in a quick and easily executable fashion. There are many different systems out there that allow you to analyze all the different facets of your fleet operations. The challenge is getting all those systems to work in harmony so that you can view that actionable information quickly and easily. If you can’t take all your data points and convert them into a comprehensive view of trailer information that matches the needs of your business, it doesn’t matter how many separate systems you have to track your trailers, mileage, etc., the result will be the same – inability to meet demand in a cost effective and customer friendly manner. So when looking to assess your fleet management and performance, make sure you work with a solutions partner that can take all your data points and provide you with the necessary historical visibility to ensure your trending information is keeping you on the cutting edge of fleet management and innovation.

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