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Fleet Performance Metrics: What You Should Track

05/26/2021

Data is a necessity if you want to optimize your fleet performance, but you may be wondering what types of information are worth paying attention to. We're going to look at six metrics that are essential for tracking fleet performance. These metrics can help you improve performance and efficiency across your operations.

1. Driving Practices

Safety should be a priority for any fleet manager, and using fleet management metrics can help you achieve that. Safe driving habits can help drivers prevent accidents, helping your company avoid financial damages. Good driving practices can also help keep your vehicles in great shape. Wear and tear from poor driving behaviors can add up over time and cause your vehicles to require more maintenance and fail you sooner than necessary. 

Drivers may feel like they're being safe, but hard data is more reliable than general impressions and can help keep drivers accountable. Fleet tracking software can alert you to poor or unsafe driving practices like:

  • Speeding: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, speeding is the most common driver-related factor that contributes to large truck crashes. Speeding also wastes fuel. Fleet tracking technology can monitor speed and notify you if a driver exceeds certain speeds.
  • Hard turns: Also called hard or harsh cornering, hard turns occur when a driver fails to ease into a turn. Taking a turn too quickly can be dangerous — especially when road conditions are slick — and can put strain on tires, brakes and other parts of the vehicle. 
  • Heavy braking: Heavy braking can cause some of the same issues and cause brakes to overheat, reducing their lifespan. Drivers should begin decelerating and braking early to gently bring the vehicle to a stop rather than waiting until the last second to pump the brakes. 
  • Fast acceleration: Fast acceleration is also a bad driving habit to watch out for. It doesn't tend to cause as many problems as harsh turning or braking, but it can add a bit to your vehicle's wear and tear and burn unnecessary fuel. It can also cause cargo to shift.

Monitoring these metrics can help you encourage and reward safe driving habits across your organization and address problems where they may exist.

2. Fuel Efficiency

Your fleet's fuel economy is another critical area to monitor. Fuel efficiency is a win-win for the environment and for your company's bottom line, so it's always a good idea to look for ways to cut fuel consumption. Monitoring the miles your fleet travels and the cost of fuel can help you accurately track and predict operating costs.

You can also look for any inefficiencies in your route or in your fuel optimization to make improvements. Tracking and cutting down on idling time, for instance, can be a significant step in the right direction. Every year, more than 6 billion gallons of fuel, including diesel and gasoline, is wasted on idling engines. You can reduce emissions and save money by cutting down on your vehicles' idling time. If idling is due to delays at stops, you can also save time by identifying and addressing these instances.

3. Miles Traveled

Keeping track of your vehicles' odometers is essential. Fortunately, you don't have to do this manually if you're using fleet tracking technology. Your software will keep track of how many miles each vehicle has traveled over the last shift, week, year or its entire lifespan. 

Odometer readings can help you monitor the distance each driver has traveled. Keeping track of mileage can also help tremendously with scheduling preventive maintenance. The timing of many preventive maintenance tasks, like oil changes and tire replacements, is based on miles traveled. So tracking this metric is key to making sure you take care of maintenance tasks as soon as it's time to do so. Proper preventive maintenance can help you extend the life of your vehicles and avoid downtime.

4. Inspection Results

If you operate vehicles covered by FMCSA Ruling 396.11, Daily vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) are a must to stay legally compliant, but that's not all. These reports can help you identify problems before they snowball to become more serious and more expensive to fix or before they create a hazardous situation on the road. You should already be looking at these individual DVIRs, but you may also want to take a macro look at your inspection reports overall to gain insights into your fleet.

Look for patterns to see if there are any common issues affecting your fleet. You can focus on taking more proactive steps to prevent these issues. For example, you may want to look for potential driving concerns if you're seeing frequent needs for tire replacements or rotations. Or you may simply want to upgrade to higher quality tires that will last longer. Patterns in maintenance issues may also signal that you need to schedule more frequent tune-ups. 

5. Vehicle Utilization

A crucial piece of fleet optimization is ensuring you have exactly the vehicles you need to get the job done — no more, no less. Having too many vehicles increases your overhead costs without increasing your profits, and having too few vehicles can leave you scrambling. To help you pinpoint the right size for your fleet, track your vehicles' usage hours.

Consider tracking each vehicle's average miles or hours in operation per day. Tracking this metric over time can help you spot under-utilized vehicles you can eliminate from your fleet or make better use of. It could also show you that your current fleet is maxed out and you need to purchase some new assets to better meet demand or to scale.

6. Repair Times

In some cases, vehicles may be out of use even if they're needed because of maintenance problems. Even with a preventive maintenance plan, some unplanned repairs are typically inevitable. A vehicle's time spent in the garage — whether with your in-house mechanic or outsourced to an auto service business — can make a difference in how much those repairs affect your schedule.

Tracking the length of time vehicles spend out of commission due to repairs can help you look for ways to prevent those instances if possible or to speed up the repair process. You may find it makes more financial sense to handle repairs in-house if third-party mechanics are busy completing other repairs before handling yours. Or, if you already have in-house mechanics, you can use repair time data to encourage efficient, productive work. 

Track Key Fleet Performance Metrics With Track Your Truck

Track Your Truck is a trusted source in the industry for location tracking and analytics to help you better monitor your fleet. You can use our hardware and software to keep track of various critical metrics to improve your operations. We make information easy to access and understand on our user-friendly program. Learn more about the system's features to see if this solution is right for you. If you're interested in improving your fleet tracking capabilities, request a free quote online to get started.

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