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How Using Data Can Create a More Efficient Fleet

By: Elodie Mescam

 

Fleet of Yellow Trucks in line as a convoy at a rural countryside highway under a beautiful blue sky

Businesses in all sectors rely heavily on data, more so now than at any point in history. Every company in the world is producing or collecting data every day of the year. As such, it is essential that businesses fully understand how to use that data to their benefit.

For each business, the kind of data they produce and how they can use it will differ. Retail businesses may focus their data analysis on buying trends to predict future sales patterns, while manufacturing companies could be analysing the time taken at different stages of their production line to find areas of improvement. Businesses that operate a commercial fleet of vehicles have several areas where they can use data to create a more efficient way of working. These improvements all come with their own benefits, and below, these will be highlighted and explained further.

Improved productivity 

Every company in the world is looking for ways to become more productive and operating more efficiently can help achieve this. With commercial fleets, one of the key ways to improve efficiency and productivity is the routes that vehicles take when out on the road. Data can help improve this through the use of business vehicle tracking.

By installing tracking systems in commercial vehicles, fleet managers can see the exact route each vehicle within a fleet has taken that day. The advantage to this is that it allows them to identify areas where vehicles may have been stopped due to traffic or other factors.

Over time this route data can be analysed to identify patterns, for example, a particular stretch of road where congestion is always present at a specific time of day. Once this has been identified, alternative routes can be planned to avoid this and allow vehicles to reach their destination quicker, therefore improving productivity.

Reduced costs 

Even before the incredibly difficult last 12 months, where businesses worldwide faced huge challenges with the Covid pandemic, reducing costs has always been a priority. With this being said, cost reduction must not result in a drop in standards or quality.

There are, however, areas where costs can be reduced, which do not result in a drop in quality. When running a commercial fleet, one of the most significant costs comes from fuel usage. Clearly, this is an area that businesses with commercial vehicles can’t avoid, so it’s crucial they can reduce the cost where possible.

Following on from the point above about improving commercial drivers’ routes, this can also benefit the vehicles fuel usage. By taking more efficient routes and avoiding sitting in traffic with their engines idling, commercial vehicles can significantly reduce the amount of fuel they use and, therefore, the businesses’ costs. This can make the business more financially efficient and allow the money which is saved to be invested into other areas to increase productivity and profitability further.

Reduced environmental impact

Every business’s environmental impact has come under more scrutiny in recent years as we all become more aware of how our actions are impacting the planet. Reducing a business’s environmental impact should be a key goal for a business in any sector, and with those running commercial fleets, there are straightforward ways to do this.

As mentioned above, reducing fuel usage can play a significant role in making a fleet more efficient. Another part of this is reducing the fleet’s overall environmental impact. Route planning is just one part of the equation to do this, and another is how the vehicles themselves are being driven.

Thanks to in-cab coaching systems, drivers can benefit from instant and direct feedback on their driving. This can highlight areas where they can improve, one of which is fuel usage. There are several elements which drivers control that contribute to high fuel usage and, therefore, more significant environmental impact. Engine idling, speeding, and harsh acceleration are all actions that drivers can control and reduce to improve their driving efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of their vehicle.

Using in-cab coaching systems that alert drivers to these actions allows them to self-correct their driving style and reduce the number of times these actions occur each day. Fleet managers can also analyse this data and see if any specific drivers could benefit from further training to help them drive in a more environmentally friendly way.

Overall, data can really benefit businesses operating a commercial fleet. By generating, collecting and analysing data, businesses gain a far greater understanding of how their fleet is operating while out on the road, and it can highlight various areas which can be improved.

Published: April 23, 2021
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Elodie Mescam

Elodie Mescam is Digital Strategy Manager at Masternaut. She has a passion for sustainable mobility and is always happy to share what she has learned with customers and team members. Masternaut is a leading provider for fleet management services and solutions. They work with businesses in a range of sectors to help them operate their commercial fleets more efficiently and answer their business challenges.

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