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Telematics Takes Fleet Utilization to the Next Level

Wheels Donlen Subject Matter Experts: Bob Clark & Shannon Keck

As a fleet professional, you’re always looking to find ways to make your fleet as efficient as possible. You’re in luck because telematics specializes in utilizing your fleet to its most productive potential. By assessing the data, you can manage a rightsized fleet and minimize waste.

There are no one-size-fits-all best practices that blanket every fleet. So, here are a few telematics questions to consider as a fleet manager if they apply to your specific fleet:

  1. Does our fleet policy support rightsizing? For example, prohibiting personal use of official vehicles. Consider adding telematics data benchmarks into your policy to avoid underutilization of a vehicle.
  2. Why do we need this vehicle? It may seem like an unnecessary question, but it never hurts to have a refresher on a vehicle’s purpose. To understand part of the fleet is to ensure you’re optimizing the fleet as a whole. If you’re not sure why you need the vehicle, maybe it’s time to reassess if you need it at all. Given the current climate of manufacturing delays, there is a high demand for vehicles. Selling a highly valued vehicle these days will likely be your most profitable option.
  3. What is the cost of having a backup? When was the last time a spare vehicle was utilized? If it happens frequently, it should be worth having. However, having a vehicle sit idle with no trips for a long enough period of time should call for reassessment.
  4. When and by whom is this unit going to be used? Is it assigned to a driver or is it a pool vehicle? Telematics is really helpful in making the use habits known to the fleet like trips per day and number of drivers per vehicle in a day.
  5. What are the decision criteria in place for pool vehicles and those that have assigned drivers? A vehicle’s use (trips) often translates into revenue. If a vehicle assigned to a single driver isn’t being used enough, maybe you should consider making it a pool vehicle.
  6. Where is the vehicle needed? For fleets with multiple branches, plan accordingly when locating your assets. Telematics can help with trip-route optimization by highlighting which vehicles make the most trips in the least amount of time. It also indicates which vehicles are not demonstrating efficiency, which is just as helpful to fleet managers.

With telematics, it’s all about visibility. We understand it’s hard to navigate a complex dashboard, but at Wheels Donlen, we can help you understand important metrics. So, here are key metrics to keep an eye on:

  1. Distance by timeframe: Long or short? Distant or local? This metric will help you gauge what vehicles are going what distance and at what rate. From there, you can judge if that vehicle is the best option for, say, long-distance or if another one fits the bill better.
  2. Number of trips: Especially useful if number of trips is how you measure profit for your business. A vehicle can be overutilized just as easily as it can be underutilized. Number of trips can help you balance that.
  3. Date range: If you manage a seasonal fleet, the data can be skewed if you’re widening the scope to all 12 months of the year when the fleet is only being used, say, 4 months of the year.

Telematics truly unlocks the door to the next level of fleet utilization. Just another reason why telematics #telematters. If you’re interested in learning more about the capability of telematics, contact us today!