Whether you work in HVAC, plumbing, landscaping, as an electrician or in another service-based field, a lack of visibility into equipment usage, health and associated costs can mean their impact on your business is going unchecked. When bundled with full telematics solutions, owners can gain access to millions of data points at their fingertips to track various business metrics over time. But even with all this data, many owners and managers are still uncertain how to evaluate performance and measure success, let alone translate that data into action to improve business outcomes year over year.
Declining revenue or client retention, for example, are red flags for business owners that must be addressed effectively and quickly before irreversible harm is done to your business. Telematics solutions provide functionalities designed to help you optimize operations for increased productivity and efficiency, helping you make the most out of your investment.
As you look back on 2018, here are a few areas to evaluate your mobile workforce’s performance and identify areas for improvement in the new year. Take these metrics a step further by analyzing them within the context of your year’s budget and your key performance indicators (KPIs) to identify areas for adjustment.
Managing the paychecks, and thereby the livelihood of your employees, can feel like a burden weighing on your shoulders, and it’s often a top priority on an owner’s list of expenses because business stops if there isn’t a workforce to manage. Even minor inaccuracies in time worked, such as time spent idling in vehicles versus the time they are actually in the process of completing a job, can add up and have an impact on your bottom line. Just as you only bill your customers for hours worked, you should only be paying your technicians for the hours they work. Telematics solutions allow you to set alerts for any unnecessary time idling beyond a specific threshold you define as appropriate.
Get ahead of issues like idling by being transparent as you set your KPIs, which will be different for every unique business. It’s critical to gaining buy-in from employees and establishing trust as well as effectively implementing action plans to level-set with your workers. Frame the conversation as a partnership with the success of their careers and the success of your business as a common goal.
Fuel can represent as much as 60% of a fleet’s total operating costs. Tracking fuel costs by mandating technicians log fuel costs for their dedicated vehicles on a daily basis helps encourage employees to be honest and helps minimize your fuel expenses. Fuel can be a significant yet ever-fluctuating cost and properly tracking its use can help you ensure your expense numbers are accurate, which means you can effectively make adjustments that can help you improve your efficiencies all around, potentially saving your business money and time.
Without proper telematics solutions in place allowing you to track how fuel might be wasted or, in more extreme cases, how fuel card fraud might occur as a result of unreliable fuel transaction data, inaccuracies can lead your business to suffer unnecessary expenses that quickly add up. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, gas mileage generally decreases above 50 miles per hour. Every five miles per hour a worker clocks over 50 adds up to an additional $0.17 per gallon of gas that directly takes money away from your business.
Staying ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to operational expenses, is challenging for managers in every industry. Some of the best business lessons come from seeing how companies like yours handle the same challenges you face every day.
Safe driving and risk mitigation
Without specific safety benchmarks set for each of your workers, improving the overall safety and reducing associated costs is an impossible task. Tracking, monitoring and noting accidents, harsh braking or speeding events, incidents involving mobile devices, or any repeated unsafe driving behaviors allows you as a manager to coach more effectively and therefore mitigate negative effects your bottom line. Defining a benchmark (how many speeding incidents a worker tallies each month) and then setting a specific, reasonable and measurable goal(reduce speeding incidents by 10% per worker per month) and then tracking the results is one way you can use data to encourage better driving behavior among your employees.
Compliance can often fall by the wayside until urgent and directly consequential issues, like fees and drivers being put out of service, arise. Activity related to this area tends to be reactive, following infractions or violations, instead of proactive. But prioritizing the compliance of your fleet ahead of pending changes in the laws affecting your business can help you save money and pain down the line that could cost your business profit. Implementing a telematics solution could show returns on investment by tracking the infractions of workers and improving safety, making it an easily justifiable expense to avoid penalties for your business.
Are customers giving positive feedback about their experience with your technicians? Though slightly more abstract than other metrics gathered by telematics solutions, the answers to these questions could reveal inefficiencies in their own work, as well as opportunities for increased customer satisfaction through visibility of your technicians while they are in between trips. Minor changes can equal large dividends for your operation. If you truly want your business to thrive and not just survive, it’s important to take an objective and data-based look at where you may be falling short in customer service.
You can only improve what you measure
Businesses dependent on a mobile workforce should carefully consider the immediate as well as long-term effects on not only on the business as well as individual employees. Evaluating the metrics around a specific area of concern as you create an action plan is the best way to make your fleet management work for you.