Fleet Asset Management: Maximize Vehicle Performance and ROI

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You’re trying to turn your fleet organization into a data-driven enterprise. We’re here to help. We’ve written recently about how fleet analytics help you become a data-driven enterprise. We’ve also discussed how important it is to be able to see driver performance on a single pane of glass.

Today, we focus on a crucial third consideration: fleet asset management.

Your company should collect and analyze asset performance data as part of your overall efforts to let data drive your decisions. Focus your efforts on fuel usage, miles driven, general maintenance, compliance, and fleet utilization.

Assessing Fuel Usage

You’ve no doubt noticed the recent surge in fuel prices. Transportation companies have always recognized fuel costs as a major expense on the ledger. Today, with prices near all-time highs, it’s essential for companies to understand and analyze their fuel usage as part of their fleet asset management performance.

We touched on this topic in our driver performance blog, but there’s more to consider here than simply identifying which of your drivers are wasting fuel by speeding. Which trucks burn too much fuel while idling? And which trucks get the worst fuel mileage? The OEM stats you have on file from when you purchased the vehicle may vary from the real world. Fleet telematics can help you measure on-the-road performance for a clear picture of your actual fuel costs.

Monitoring Miles Driven

When you analyze the number of miles your trucks are covering, there are driver performance considerations. You want to be sure your drivers are staying on route—and you need to be able to find the causes of why they stray off course. But fleet telematics can also help you determine total miles by truck including comparisons to previous periods. Comparing mileage over different time periods can help you understand if assets are being utilized properly.

Analyzing General Maintenance

General maintenance is one of the biggest line items for companies seeking to optimize fleet asset management. Preventive maintenance is the bread and butter for keeping your trucks on the road.

Many larger fleets manage preventive maintenance by pushing data to a third-party fleet management system. This data typically includes the many diagnostic trouble codes that can come off an engine with varying levels of urgency. The data includes metrics such as engine temperatures and battery voltage, which can help you prevent costly roadside callouts. But the data also includes many less-critical metrics that are still important to keep an eye on in your overall picture of asset health.

Determining the Cost of Compliance

One of your most visible compliance tasks is to ensure your drivers are completing driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) each day. Regulatory agencies require your company to keep written or electronic DVIRs on file so that you can verify the safety and roadworthiness of your vehicles. Of course, any defects your drivers find must be reported to your back-office staff, who will be involved in arranging for repairs. And you must keep your DVIR process consistent to make sure every vehicle in your fleet will be able to pass roadside inspections.

The DVIR process can be complicated and costly. Fleet telematics can help you determine the true cost of keeping your vehicles in compliance with government safety standards.

Optimizing Fleet Utilization

Another major cost area for fleet companies is underused assets. You’re paying procurement or rental costs, insurance and maintenance fees for every vehicle in your fleet. Which ones are paying you back by being on the road as much as possible and generating revenue? When you use fleet analytics to get a clear picture of fleet utilization, you can start to forecast your future needs and make smarter decisions around asset acquisition. For example, you may determine that you can meet your commitments by maintaining a smaller permanent fleet and augmenting it with rental vehicles during periods of high demand.

Ask Gridline About Fleet Asset Management

So, how can you get this comprehensive view that enables better fleet asset management? Many analytics vendors can serve up the type of raw data we’ve discussed in this article. But few can help you turn that data into actionable insights.

Gridline Analytics recently helped a leading transportation company make better decisions about asset performance. This company had assets spread across the U.S. and wanted to make sure it was maximizing performance on its fleet investment. Rather than simply retiring its oldest trucks and buying more new vehicles, the company compared the performance of its fleet across three different models. Much to everyone’s surprise, older truck models were outperforming newer ones in terms of miles per gallon, defects, and critical engine events. This led the company to offload some of its newer vehicles.

What fleet asset management insights are hidden in your data? Ask Gridline. We’ll be happy to help you become a data-driven enterprise. Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.