By Martin Evans, managing director, Jaama
Fleet is the second biggest expenditure item (after people) for most companies so it makes absolute sense that robust data analysis is critical to make informed strategic decisions.
Fleet managers are faced with many perennial decisions regarding the make/model composition of their fleet and they include:
- Changing fuel type and switching to what is becoming a more common ‘balanced’ approach to powertrain choice rather than an all-diesel policy.
- Buying or leasing more vehicles to cut reliance on vehicle hire.
- Reducing the size of the fleet because of vehicle underutilisation.
- Changing vehicles models because of either good or bad maintenance experiences.
Absolute visibility of data is essential when making such ‘big’ decisions, as it is in respect of compliance – whether relating to vehicles or drivers.
For example, policing pre-journey vehicle defect checks is imperative particularly in respect of commercial vehicles. Equally, companies should also consider the monitoring of driver behaviour behind the wheel as best practice.
The raft of technology available –telematics and apps, for example –with ‘real-time’ data feeds from vehicles into fleet management systems that can immediately be accessed by fleet decision-makers means that there is no excuse for a lack of information, or compliance.
Yet, it remains the case that too many companies are gambling with their fleet operations.
Decision-makers’ ability to make informed choices means robust systems are a prerequisite to efficiently collect and analyse data.
Additionally, the explosion in the amount of fleet-related data is increasing as we witness the adoption of the ‘connected car’.
The arrival of so-called ‘big data’ – a term that describes the large volume of data, both structured and unstructured, that can potentially inundate a fleet chief on a day-to-day basis – means businesses must have good systems in place that will digest vehicle, driver and journey information and make it meaningful.
In turn, that will enable fleet managers to make informed decisions as they will have a holistic picture resulting in operational efficiencies that will maximise compliance and deliver cost savings.
Making choices without data, good systems and processes in place to aid the decision-maker is like playing roulette with an organisation’s money and legislative compliance.