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“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” That’s been the mantra for the best-in-class companies that have raised the bar in 2018, and these companies largely have data to thank for their ability to improve in four key areas: productivity, efficiency, profit and customer service.
The really great news? For companies that depend on fleets of vehicles and mobile workers, the critical data needed to improve is right at your fingertips. In our new Fleet Connections report, we explore how the right fleet management software provides reports that can help translate mountains of data into truly actionable insights to drive improvement in your organization. Furthermore, our research shows that the more a company measures, the more improvements they see.
As we look ahead to 2019, let’s examine some of the key reasons that becoming a data-driven fleet should be your company’s resolution in the new year.
Don’t wait: Reduce idling to help save money
No one likes to wait around, and idling drivers can be a real problem when it comes to productivity and fuel costs. Research shows that an idling vehicle can waste one-half of a gallon of fuel in 30 minutes.1 Compounded over your entire fleet for one year, even 30 minutes of idling could cost a business that operates five days a week more than $5,000.2 What’s more, idling can get you fined, as a number of municipalities across the United States have anti-idling regulations that can range from $50 into the thousands of dollars.3
For field service companies, idling is the enemy of efficiency and profitability — seemingly harmless in small doses but damaging when magnified across an entire fleet. If you are looking for a simple way to help improve cost efficiency, cutting down on time spent idling can achieve a serious impact. Enhanced visibility into how much time your drivers are spending not driving can get your business in line with the best-in-class brands (whose drivers spend significantly less time idling than those lagging behind).
Safety first: Keep your drivers in mind
Once your drivers hit the road, driving behavior – especially when it comes to speeding and harsh driving – is top of mind for managers and owners. In addition to both practices being dangerous, failure to improve in these areas can cost your company more than you might expect. To start, fines incurred for speeding and accident means money that could be spent improving other areas of your business is tied up unnecessarily. Harsh driving can lead to maintenance issues and take a vehicle out of commission, turning revenue-generating assets into profit-draining expenses, not to mention potentially leaving workers without the ability to work as well. Speeding and harsh driving can also lead to accidents, driving up insurance rates and increasing the risk of lawsuits.
Having the right, data-driven insights into how your drivers spend their time on the road is the most efficient way to determine driver behavior best practices and address any behavior that puts your business at risk. After the adoption of GPS fleet tracking, our data shows that companies saw a 12% increase in the miles driven between harsh driving alerts in the first month and 38% increase in the second month. Moreover, with this tech adoption, companies found a 71% increase in miles driven between speeding alerts in the first month and a whopping 153% increase in the second month.
Boost efficiency and reap the rewards
The reward for field service companies that improve efficiency is completing more jobs each day, which means, of course, more dollars toward their overall profit. The Fleet Connections report reveals that the majority of field service companies make, on average, 0.56 stops per hour. Compare that to the best-in-class companies who are making 0.89 stops per hour, and the bottom 20% who make just 0.38 stops per hour. Compounded over an 8-hour workday, that’s nearly three times as many stops for the top performers versus the laggards.
How can your company make up the difference? Knowledge is power, and automated dispatching and improved routing provided by GPS fleet tracking proves just that. Fleet Connections shows that enhanced insights can lead to a 23% increase in total jobs completed per day, as well as a 15% reduction in the average time per job and 10% increase in overtime pay, significantly improving revenue through these increased efficiencies.
The ultimate goal: Delight your customers
All of these data-driven improvements culminate in one big part of your business: customer service. Consumers can be finicky in today’s age of online search, comparison and reviews; and as a business owner or fleet manager, customer service must stand as one of your top priorities. By using data to improve your productivity and efficiency (and by extension, safety), you can delight your current customers and win more business overall.
Taking measures to exceed customer expectations, not only satisfies each customer you service, but also can attract new business through word of mouth. Promptly resolving customer concerns is one way to maintain their satisfaction. Data from GPS tracking allows you to:
- Provide quick and precise responses to customer questions.
- Gain a historical look at how much time jobs typically take, even down to a particular employee, which can help you provide better job and time estimates.
- Shape specific employee feedback and training so that services are consistent.
Efficient and consistent operations enable managers to take more time to focus on satisfying customers and attracting new ones. In a world where word-of-mouth marketing travels at the speed of WiFi and can make or break your company, doing everything you can to provide reliable service to customers should always be a priority.
Ready for more?
The secret to seeing concrete, noticeable operational improvements in productivity, efficiency and profit is data. And as the fleet technology landscape continues to evolve through developments such as 5G connectivity, smarter sensors, more intuitive software, full platform integration, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), the availability of near real-time and historical data is greater than ever before. Those businesses that have implemented the right technology will rise above the pack using data to glean critical insights to guide better operational decisions that drive ongoing success.