In a recent survey by eyefortransport, 48% of companies found that improved fuel and route management was the most important result of adopting fleet tracking technologies. How do these technologies pull off these impressive improvements? By collecting, analyzing, and utilizing the “big data” tracked in their systems – everything from route speeds, mileage, delivery times, fuel usage, and more.

Once your business has identified the most important metric for tracking your fleet, you can make effective improvements to the areas of your choice, including but not limited to: delivery times, operation costs, and safety.

Routing Data

When you have one driver, one truck, and one delivery location, you may be able to work out the most efficient route from point A to point B, on average. You may even be able to determine which route is most efficient during the morning rush hour as opposed to the mid-afternoon. However, once you start adding in more trucks, more drivers, and more routes, the work necessary to analyze all of your incoming data can take up the entirety of your time. These multiple streams of information coalescing within a single system have come to be known by the term “big data.”

Your GPS fleet tracking system automatically tracks the routes your drivers take to get from point A to point B and collects several different types of data: delivery time, speed, distance fuel usage, and idle time, to name a few. When analyzing these analytics, you can find the A to B route that is the fastest, the shortest, or the one that uses the least amount of fuel.

  • This knowledge can help you plan your routes according to the needs of the day – making the most number of deliveries possible, saving the most fuel, or a mix of both depending on the time of day and multiple other factors.
  • You can also plan and test new routes for your deliveries and see how they stack up against the ones you’re already using.

Driver Records

GPS fleet tracking software isn’t limited to tracking the movements and routes of your vehicles – it also helps you schedule, monitor, and assess your drivers more effectively.

  • Time and attendance: The system tracks when your drivers begin and end their delivery routes, and how long they are asleep, pulled over, or sitting idle. Upon comparing this data to your drivers’ time sheets, you can determine who is over- or under-reporting their hours. You can then make changes to your processes to ensure everyone is being paid accurately – and that your business isn’t losing money to time fraud.
  • Driver efficiency: The analytics can determine which drivers are the most productive. This can be a hard assessment to make without the big data provided by your tracking software, because driver efficiency can become confused with the efficiency of the routes they are assigned. Your software can pull apart the data and give you an accurate assessment of your driver’s performance – independent of the routes that they are assigned to.

 Fuel Usage

As indicated above, your fleet’s fuel usage is another important factor to monitor, especially when gas prices rise. Your fuel economy is determined by several different elements: the physical efficiency of your individual vehicles, the driving practices of your employees, and the quality of your driving routes. Each one will have an effect on your overall fuel usage and costs.

  • Therefore, making improvements in your route planning and driver behavior will result in comparable improvements in your fuel economy. When your fuel economy does not increase despite the above changes, this is indicative of a need to assess your vehicles for maintenance and repairs.  In this way, you fleet tracking software can augment or even replace your CMMS software.

The data used by your fleet tracking software is extensive, and attempting to perform the same analyses with manual spreadsheets is simply not possible in a fleet greater than one. Make sure your software is tracking the right route, driver, and fuel metrics to help you make improvements to your business’s operations and processes. More on fleet management on SmartVan.

Megan Webb-Morgan is a business blogger for Resource Nation, an online B2B lead generation company. You can follow Resource Nation on Twitter and Facebook.

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