4 Ways Data is Driving Down Fleet Management Costs

Fleet management is among the most significant IoT opportunities across industries. And for good reason: IoT solutions help fleet owners and operators reduce equipment breakdowns by 70%, overall maintenance costs by 30% and scheduled repair costs by more than 10%. Incredible value is hidden in your data, and advanced analytics is the key to unlocking it. Used the right way, your raw data can be turned into actionable insights that make your fleet more productive, reliable and safe.

Here are four ways data can drive down fleet management costs:

#1: Improve driver safety and keep your trucks on the road.

Do you know how safe your drivers are?

Unsafe drivers create significant risk – both monetary and reputational. Insurance premiums for trucking fleets have skyrocketed as high as 44% in recent years. Worse, accidents can impede deliveries, lead to exorbitant legal fees and set your business back.

A system of safety checks and balances can drastically reduce your risk. Advanced analytics provides transparency into:

  • Weather, traffic and construction data

  • Speeding or hard braking events

  • Unexpected or excessive acceleration

  • Gear shifting and idle time

  • Historical record of driving performance

Fleet management solutions provide a holistic view into all of this data, empowering you to make more informed decisions, increase driver safety and provide ongoing coaching opportunities.

Data science, combined with contextual information, gives the most accurate insight into driver behavior. Not only can you now monitor the speed of trucks, you can use contextual data such as weather and traffic speed to determine if a driver was driving too fast for conditions.

Comparing the driver’s speed to other cars on the road allows you to understand if the driver was speeding or simply following the flow of traffic. Additionally, by factoring weather into operator scorecards, you can better understand driver rationale, and know when certain driving behaviors were in reaction to weather conditions – or just unsafe.

#2: Know where your fleet is at all times.

Fleet management is grounded in knowing the location and status of your trucks at all times. How many stops are your drivers making? Are they all necessary? Are drivers arriving at their destinations on time?

These types of questions no longer have to be difficult to answer – or worse, a mystery. Leading-edge fleet management technology makes it possible to gain a single view of your entire trucking fleet in an easy-to-manage dashboard.

#3: Predict and prevent fleet-wide breakdowns before they occur.

Repairs and maintenance account for 10% of overall trucking expenses. Fixing parts before they break enables trucking fleets to maximize uptime, reduce costs, eliminate downstream consequences and uphold the customer experience. How? By capturing sensor data from trucks, analyzing that data using machine learning models and offering valuable insights.

The key being valuable insights. “At 100,000 miles, your carburetor will need to be replaced” is not a valuable insight. What is? The ability to associate a certain engine vibration with a pending alternator failure. With this knowledge, a truck can be sent to the shop before it breaks down, and maintenance staff are armed with specific knowledge of the right problems to address.

The next frontier of fleet management solutions will incorporate these insights to “beat the check engine light.” Advanced analytics allows you to beat the check engine light by using raw sensor data from truck components to predict failures before they happen. As connectivity and data accessibility become cheaper and more widespread in the industry, predictive maintenance powered by analytics will increasingly become table stakes for trucking fleets.

#4: Increase driver productivity, reduce fuel consumption and minimize cost per mile.

Fuel costs continue to represent a fleet’s largest operating expense. Improving fleet productivity is grounded in minimizing cost per mile (CPM) while delivering on freight commitments. While you can’t control things like oil prices or weather conditions, you can get a step ahead by leveraging data to help improve fuel efficiency and CPM. Advanced analytics can help by:

  • Improving engine performance: Help control fuel usage by continuously monitoring truck subsystems and components such as tire pressure and wheel alignment.

  • Promoting route efficiency: Monitor contextual data like weather and traffic patterns to make sure drivers are taking the best routes, making the most of their fuel and not idling or sitting in traffic jams.

  • Tracking operator-related behavior: Monitor operator behaviors that affect CPM, like discretionary idle time and hard braking.

  • Recommending when to retire a truck: Instead of making unnecessary repairs, you can better decide when to retire a truck by understanding overall dollar-per-mile performance of different truck makes and models.

Meanwhile, advanced analytics can help you make critical capital-expenditure decisions such as choosing to retire a truck or asset, as opposed to investing in unnecessary repairs. Data aggregation allows you to better understand overall dollar-per-mile performance of different truck makes and models, allowing for more efficient deployment of capital.

Advanced analytics is revolutionizing fleet operations. As the industry becomes even more competitive, companies quick to capture these new efficiencies will be crowned winners.