Accurate fleet data in areas where costs are rising is critical to adopting effective management strategies, says FleetCheck.
Pressure on fleet costs is being felt across a wide range of areas, including fuel, vehicle acquisition, insurance and service, maintenance and repair (SMR).
“Rising costs are being seen right across the economy and this is certainly affecting fleets, with our customers asking us for advice on what they can do to minimise the impact,” said Peter Golding, managing director of FleetCheck.
“Our response is always that job one is to establish that you are using accurate data, which potentially means everything from information on routing and driver behaviour drawn from telematics to where fuel is being bought and how much is being paid taken from fuel cards.”
Golding suggests that there has perhaps been a “degree of slippage” by some fleets during the pandemic, when it comes to ensuring the veracity of data.
“There have simply been more demanding tasks such as ensuring driver safety or delivering frontline services, but it remains essential,” he said.
“If you have the appropriate information, you can format it effectively using fleet software and identify areas where new strategies can be adopted that minimise cost increases - but that process is a wasted effort without the right data.”
Golding believes it is important to try and identify areas where it was most important that costs were controlled and target data collection accordingly.
“There is a temptation to try and gather as much data as possible to take action across the board but that generally leads to confusion,” he explained.
“Instead, we advise looking at a handful of areas where costs are rising, accurate information can be obtained, and new strategies are possible.
“Of course, in each area, it is crucial to ensure that you are gathering not just accurate but relevant data, and this is where expert advice can be especially useful.
“It is often that case that a few points of measurement are sufficient as long as they are the right ones.”
Tracking these metrics over time will tell you whether the measures you have adopted are having the desired impact, he says.
“We are living through a period when cost reduction is probably not possible but cost control certainly is – and fleets should target minimising increases.”
FleetCheck is also being asked about rethinking core fleet strategy in light of rising costs, electrification and issues such as poor new vehicle supply.
“Replacement cycles are an area that is coming under scrutiny, for example, with fleets looking at whether they should be permanently extended,” said Golding.
“Again, this is very much an exercise that should be driven by data that can be drawn from a variety of sources and formatted appropriately using fleet software to simply the decision-making process.”