Driver Performance: How to See It All on a Single Pane of Glass
Driver performance is one of the toughest puzzles to solve in fleet management. Why? It’s not that driver data is hard to understand. As we said in our last article, there are several obvious ways a driver can impact your company’s bottom line:
- They can hurt your risk and safety performance by rolling through stop signs or making unsafe lane changes.
- They can hinder your compliance by failing to meet all DOT requirements.
- They can burn fuel unnecessarily by idling too long or speeding.
- They can reduce your productivity by deviating from route plans and driving extra miles.
These data points are intuitive enough—if you can find them. And that’s the challenge. It’s only when you have an integrated view of performance that you can start coaching drivers to boost your bottom line. That integrated view has traditionally been difficult to establish.
Two Ways Technology Can Help You Monitor and Motivate Drivers
Here’s why it’s essential for transportation companies to see driver performance in one place. Suppose a distributor has 50 drivers managed by four supervisors. As these four supervisors assess drivers, they must sift through performance data that’s coming from several different systems. But like everyone nowadays, these supervisors don’t have the time to navigate several different interfaces, export all the data into one tidy spreadsheet, and generate beautiful reports on driver performance. They want those answers delivered to them automatically. There should be a single pane of glass that gives supervisors a clear view of which drivers need to improve and which specific improvements they need to make.
Another key to improving driver performance is to provide drivers with self-service tools. Many transportation companies already publish driver performance data in a central location such as a bulletin board. If you’re having good results with this approach, consider moving to a mobile app to keep the data even more top-of-mind for your drivers. Just as you’re striving to provide a single, comprehensive view of data for your supervisors to manage driver performance, you can use a mobile app to provide the same for your drivers.
Not every organization is ready to make this leap, but it’s a good way to take responsibilities off the desks of your managers and put them directly on your drivers. With self-service apps, there’s always the slight risk that some drivers simply won’t check their stats or care how they’re doing. But it’s part of human nature that most of us want to avoid embarrassment and make our best showing when others are watching. With a self-service app for driver performance rankings, your underperforming drivers will get constant motivation to seek coaching and step up their game. And your best drivers will get the peer recognition they deserve.
The great thing about the single pane of glass is that it allows people at all levels of your organization to drill down to the level of detail they need. You may have someone in your corporate office who simply wants to gauge how performance differs across regions. You may also have regional directors who want to make sure each individual location is performing well. Your supervisors, of course, will be hands-on with your drivers. When you’ve established a single view of driver performance, you can enable each of these managers in the hierarchy to get the view he or she needs.
Improving Driver Safety, Driver Productivity, and Regulatory Compliance
Monitoring driver performance in the way we’ve described will do much more than instill a healthy sense of competition in your drivers. It could also save your company thousands or even millions of dollars.
It’s easy to understand this in terms of risk and safety. Nowadays, a single accident (and the ensuing lawsuit) can severely damage a transportation company. But you also want to get your drivers home safely at night—and keeping a close eye on their performance will help you do that.
From a driver productivity perspective, your biggest savings will come from analyzing data on driver miles per gallon. You’ve surely noticed the recent rise in fuel costs. Gathering data on speeding and idling enables you to take swift corrective action to keep your fuel costs down. But don’t neglect driver delivery times. If Driver A takes 30 minutes to make a delivery to Chuck’s Grocery Store and Driver B can do it in 20, it’s time to coach Driver A on efficiency. And keep an eye on mileage. Drivers who complete deliveries out of sequence or make stops in out-of-the-way locations waste miles—and miles are money.
All the data we’ve described here typically comes from different systems, such as telematics, dash cams, CSA, routing, or last mile. Until you’ve brought it together in one view, you won’t be able to spot your best opportunities for improving profitability.
Centralizing your driver performance data can also help you keep up with increasingly stringent regulatory requirements. Sustainability isn’t a buzzword yet in transportation, but it probably will be soon. Someday when you’re required to measure and report on your idle time, fuel consumption, and emissions, you’ll want to have this information on a single pane of glass.
Make It All Worthwhile for Your Drivers
As you work to enhance driver performance across your fleet, don’t forget to provide incentives for your drivers. Their efforts will have a huge effect on your company’s bottom line, but make sure your program improves each top-performing driver’s bottom line too. Deploying a reward based system based on integrated driver performance data will go a long way in creating the results you are looking to achieve in your organization.
We know of no better way to bring driver performance data together than to implement Gridline Analytics. With Gridline Analytics, you can easily compare data on driver safety, miles per gallon, productivity, and much more in one place—and then make decisions that lead to greater profitability. Ask us how.