When you hear the word analytics, what comes to mind? Most people associate it with marketing campaigns. And while marketers do use analytics to gauge their marketing success, other businesses should be implementing them as well. It is important to understand that you can borrow best practices from other industries when developing your own way of doing things. As a fleet owner, it’s your job to determine both the strengths and weaknesses of your fleet to keep operations running smoothly. You’d be surprised how even the tiniest issue can cause a domino effect for a business. This is especially true when it comes to managing a fleet. That’s where data analytics come into play. Here are some of the most important data metrics every fleet owner needs to know.
Types of Analytics
There are several types of business analytics you should be following. Some of the most important ones include:
- Predictive – Predictive analytics is where you’ll use any historical data and combine it with advanced methods such as statistical modeling to predict any potential outcomes.
- Descriptive – Descriptive analytics has you assess historical data such as month-to-month revenue to understand any changes that have occurred throughout your business.
- Prescriptive – Prescriptive analytics produces raw, unedited data to help you make better decisions for your business. It basically shows you what the better option is in certain scenarios.
With this knowledge in mind, we’ll be going a bit more in-depth with each analytic. Predictive analytics is all about having an idea of what can happen in the future. In terms of managing a fleet, an example of this would be predicting how your drivers operate your vehicles on the road. First impressions can be wrong, but they also leave the biggest impact. If one of your drivers first exhibits bad driving habits, it’s not uncommon to predict that they’re more likely to be involved in some sort of accident. Since the accident is a potential outcome, it falls to you to prevent that.
One recommendation is to invest in tractor trailer cams. Tractor trailer cams are used to increase the safety of your truck drivers. Because of the sheer size of the cargo, it can be difficult for them to see what’s behind them. These cams help increase visibility to the front and back of the truck, which can reduce the risk of accidents. It is also in your best interest to install a GPS system as well anti-lock brakes. Repairing a vehicle, especially something like a semi-truck, can cost money even with fleet insurance.
Descriptive analytics focuses more on what’s occurring or what has already occurred. An example of this would be what’s causing the costs of managing your fleet to rise. There’s always going to be a cause and effect, but determining the former can be a little difficult. You would use bars, graphs and charts to go over the statistical data and compare it to previous records. This should make it easier for you to pinpoint the occurring issue and fix it accordingly.
Prescriptive data is more along the lines of “what should be my next step?” Reviewing data such as sales, venture capital and banking are what you carefully look at to see what you can improve. For example, fleet telematics is how you gather data based on the driver’s behavior, how much fuel is used between trips and even how fast the vehicle was going. You can get this information through electronic logging devices and tachographs.
What Fleet Managers Need to Look Out For
New fleet managers might not know what to look out for when it comes to gathering the proper data. The first thing you need to do is collect the data from your drivers. Each vehicle within the fleet goes through their own routes with some being longer than others. This information can give you foresight into how much you’re paying for each truck. It also helps you prevent business errors, allows you to better monitor your drivers and protect you from fraud.
Another thing you need to keep an eye on is the overall costs. Managing a fleet is hard work and can very well have you spend more money than you have to. That’s why it’s important for you to assess each vehicle and have them maintained accordingly. However, despite the fact you must have your fleet looked at least every month or two, some vehicles may require more maintenance than others. The fees can accumulate quickly if you have the same vehicles experiencing a problem while on the road. It’s actually cheaper to replace it outright. You can even consider this a mix between descriptive and prescriptive analytics. Any money spent outside the budget is a business change and then assess the situation to come up with the most optimal solution.