Tips to Improve Fleet Productivity

This article was published on: 01/17/22 by the Track Your Truck Team

01 Title

Your vehicles and equipment are one of your company’s most valuable assets, so you should adequately track and care for your fleets. Effective fleet management is a vital part of increasing fleet productivity so your company can cut costs, protect its drivers and provide optimal service. By evaluating your needs, you’ll be able to optimize fleet performance with the right tracking system

Discover fleet management best practices to increase customer and employee satisfaction and maximize your profits. 

Analyze Data

Fleet management software collects data that helps you manage your fleet to boost productivity. Proper data collection and analysis allow for fleet utilization for maximum efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Maintaining your current fleet by tracking data expands the capacity of your existing resources so you can accept new business. 

You can use telematics to optimize fleet performance. Telematics deals with monitoring fleet logistics by gathering data about driver and vehicle performance. Telematics helps you understand the bigger picture of how a vehicle operates and how it may be costing you money. 

Telematics tracks multiple metrics, including: 

  • Driver behavior, including reckless or non-efficient driving practices 
  • Vehicle location, route and distance traveled
  • Vehicle usage hours 
  • Idle time
  • Fuel level and efficiency 
  • Vehicle status and maintenance

Track Your Truck’s fleet management software records and keeps historical data about a fleet for up to one year, graphing information so you can see patterns to predict future trends. Examining historical data with telematics can help you target and address specific problem areas and establish clear fleet management policies to share with drivers. 

Explain to drivers why you’re implementing the new policies, and ensure your team understands the consequences of violations. Making sure drivers clearly understand policies derived from telematics data can help them more efficiently complete tasks and drive fewer miles. For example, if you and your drivers know the locations of vehicles, you can more effectively route drivers to customers. 

02 Analyze Data

Consider Fuel Costs 

Fuel is the leading expense of managing your fleets. Inefficient routing or poor driving behaviors can lead to fuel waste. Drivers who quickly accelerate, brake hard, excessively idle or speed lower their gas mileage by 30% on the highway. Other drivers lack knowledge about best practices to minimize fuel usage.

For example, some drivers may think that turning off and restarting their engines will waste more fuel. However, idle commercial trucks waste 0.44 gallons of diesel per hour or 0.84 gallons of gasoline. Full delivery trucks waste even more fuel at 1.1 gallons per hour. Overall, idling engines waste more than 6 billion gallons of fuel annually

Educating drivers about practices that lead to excessive fuel use and having a fuel conservation plan and spending program can help ensure you’re maximizing fuel efficiency to cut costs. Assign each driver a company credit card to pay when filling up their tanks so you can track how much each driver is spending and how often they’re stopping to fill up. Company cards will also help you track how much your company spends on fuel each month to prevent overspending. 

Improve fleet management and minimize fuel costs further by monitoring vehicles with GPS tracking software. You’ll be able to route drivers to their destinations for maximum fuel efficiency. Shorter trips tend to waste more fuel. However, tracking software can help ensure you’re planning long enough routes. Further, you’ll be able to identify and correct bad driving habits, which use more fuel than necessary. 

Tracking software can also monitor when vehicles require maintenance or when a fleet is at the end of its lifespan and needs replaced. When replacing older vehicles, consider choosing fleets with better mileage or one that would better serve your company’s specific needs and particular geographies. If you’re not ready to make replacements, maintaining your current fleets will help extend their lifespans and save more fuel. 

When packing vehicles, ensure you include as little weight as possible, as excess weight leads to inefficient fuel use. A general rule of thumb is that for every 100 pounds you remove from a vehicle, you’ll increase fuel efficiency by 1-2%. 

03 Consider Fuel Costs

Go Green 

Striving to make your fleets more eco-friendly and use less fuel will save your company money while limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Fleet tracking systems allow you to find the most efficient routes, encourage positive driving habits, monitor maintenance to expand a vehicle’s lifespan and identify which vehicles are least fuel-efficient. 

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  1. Plan: During the planning stage, your company should evaluate its goals to establish a strong fuel usage reduction plan. Your company’s multi-year sustainability strategy should include overall fleet management goals, quantifiable targets and a plan to acquire vehicles that emit lower levels of greenhouse gases. 
  2. Collect: To implement your plan, first gather data about your fleet with enterprise vehicle tracking. Telematic data should inform your decisions and help you better understand your fleets by making a fleet profile. 
  3. Strategize: Analyzing fleet data will let you identify both fleet management best practices and areas for improvement. Consider whether a vehicle is the proper size for a particular task, how to reduce the number of miles a vehicle travels and how to increase fuel efficiency. You may even want to consider using alternative forms of fuel, like biodiesel or electric. 
  4. Implement: The implementation stage is where you put your plans into action. Teach drivers sustainable habits and create a strong company culture that supports a sustainable fuel infrastructure. As you implement your strategy, be sure to refine your methods as needed. 
04 Go Green

Perform Regular Maintenance 

Regular fleet inspections help give you peace of mind that your vehicles are performing at their full capacities, preventing malfunctions and mitigating costly extensive repairs. Everyday wear and tear and corrosion decrease a truck’s productivity. Regular maintenance inspections will identify corrosion, a major cause of engine problems. Rather than waiting for issues to arise, preventative maintenance and performing vehicle diagnostic tests are key in saving your company time and money. 

05 Saving Time And Money

Keeping up with maintenance comes with multiple benefits, including: 

  • Increased safety: Regular preventative maintenance and repairs prevent malfunctions and mechanical failure, increasing driver safety. You could lower insurance costs and the risk of liability while improving employee health. Improving safety also saves your company money, as you can avoid the costs associated with accidents. 
  • Reduced costs: Regular maintenance can help predict and minimize repair costs. Maintenance efforts like providing clean fuel filters, changing old tires and adding fresh oil help expand your mileage. 
  • Higher team member morale: Your drivers will know you care about them when you provide them with safe, clean and properly maintained vehicles. Reliable trucks will also help drivers feel less frustrated by breaking down less often. 
  • Positive company reputation: Reliable vehicles lead to more satisfied employees and customers, as vehicles are more likely to arrive at a location at the scheduled time. Happier drivers are also more likely to engage with customers pleasantly, reflecting positively on your company. Your company will earn a reputation of reliability. 

Schedule monthly checkups for your vehicles. Conducting regularly scheduled maintenance will ensure driver safety and repair minor malfunctions before they evolve into significant damages. Technological advances like GPS tracking software automate maintenance scheduling and reports to help maximize productivity and ultimately profit. 

Ways tracking software enhances maintenance scheduling to optimize fleet performance include: 

  • Alerts: Fleet tracking systems can alert you when it’s time for preventative maintenance by notifying you of factors like the total number of miles driven in a specific period or how many hours a truck has been on the road. Systems also send reminders before inspection time to keep you on track with your maintenance schedule. 
  • Record keeping: Keeping maintenance reports to analyze will help you monitor historical data and identify any inconsistencies. Records will also provide proof for warranty claims for uncommon damages and help determine whether repair services were actually rendered.
  • Driver habits: Poor driver behavior can take a significant toll on vehicles, leading to inefficient performance. By tracking which drivers have the most aggressive practices, you can better predict repairs and identify which drivers need further training. 
  • Regular schedules: Optimize your maintenance schedules by identifying patterns in the data. Establishing a maintenance schedule will also allow you to perform services outside of a vehicle’s regularly set maintenance time. 
  • Automation: Tracking systems automate repair notifications, record keeping and scheduling, so you can focus your attention where it’s needed most while still keeping up with maintenance schedules. 
Read Next:   How GPS Fleet Tracking Improves Your Bottom Line

In addition to performing regular preventative maintenance, you should also establish a vehicle replacement program. When vehicles require frequent repairs, you should replace them. Keeping fleets past their lifespan can lead to increased maintenance costs and even mechanical failures, costing your company more time and money. You should maintain a fleet portfolio and analyze historical data to establish replacement schedules and determine which vehicle models frequently fail.

06 Lifespan

Increase Driver Safety 

Safe driving is a crucial fleet management best practice. Helping drivers develop safe habits will save on fuel costs and wear and tear, ensuring your vehicles can last as long as possible. Having safe drivers and properly maintained fleets will help your company build and sustain a positive reputation. 

You can take the following steps to increase driver safety

  • Establish a strong safety culture: Safety should be at the forefront of all fleet operations. You should present drivers with clear safety policies. Create a strong company culture of safety by performing proper driver background checks, limiting driver hours to prevent fatigue and encouraging team members to report risky behavior. Tracking safety data also allows you to incentivize and reward employees who are practicing safe driving habits. 
  • Monitor driver behavior: You can use fleet tracking systems to monitor drivers for reckless behavior. Driver tracking systems identify where each driver is and their actions. Unsafe driving practices like sharp turns, sudden braking, speeding, distracted driving, jackrabbit starts or fatigue from not taking the required breaks could cause accidents and harm drivers and others. Using driver tracking technology also supplements timesheets and identifies which drivers could benefit from driver safety training programs. 
  • Implement driver training programs: After identifying which drivers need special attention, you can implement driver safety education programs. Programs should focus on preventing reckless driving and the importance of preventative maintenance. Accidents lead to injuries, lawsuits, drug tests, job rescheduling, late deliveries, paperwork and possible termination, all of which impede your productivity. 
  • Find the safest routes: Tracking can help you see which routes are the safest. Determining which routes are safest overlaps with efficiency, as you can map out which roads drivers should use and where they should stop for fuel. Tracking how long the engine is running can demonstrate if drivers are taking appropriate breaks, and efficient routes can discourage speeding. 
  • Keep up with maintenance: Maintenance saves you money by saving on fuel costs and preventing costly repairs. It also increases driver safety by preventing major malfunctions and potential accidents. Systems will alert you when it’s time for regular maintenance and develop records stored in the cloud to identify historical trends. 

Covert tracking can help you discreetly monitor and target negative behavior without the driver even realizing. These trackers keep drivers from disabling the devices and prevent accidental unplugging. Because covert trackers are hidden, they can also alert you to theft and help you recover the vehicle or notify you when a vehicle is being used outside of approved times. 

Efficient route planning with fleet management software helps drivers feel less rushed — and therefore less stressed — and keeps customer satisfaction high by safely delivering products or services on time. Some drivers are prone to speeding due to an inefficient route or a failure to plan for factors like traffic, breaks or construction. Using a vehicle speed tracking system can help you plan the most efficient routes to prevent speeding, set boundaries in particular speed limit zones or set alerts when drivers exceed a certain speed. 

07 Speed Tracking System

Maintain Compliance With Federal Regulations and Licenses 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires drivers who must keep records of duty service to have an electronic logging device (ELD)ELDs virtually log fleet data and driver hours to ensure drivers remain compliant with hours of service (HOS) laws and stay alert while driving. You’ll want to ensure you stay compliant with the ELD rule, as penalties can cost thousands of dollars.

ELDs are proven to increase compliance with HOS laws by automatically recording how long an engine is running, whether a vehicle is moving, how many miles a driver traveled and whether a driver took the required breaks.

ELDs come with a variety of benefits, including: 

  • Driver availability: Dispatchers can track HOS to see when drivers will be available and when they are taking mandatory breaks. 
  • Accountability: If law enforcement officials pull drivers over, electronic logs are easy to read and are accurate, keeping drivers accountable. 
  • Record keeping: While paper logs are easy to falsify, ELDs allow for more accurate record-keeping. Rather than relying on the driver to keep track of copious amounts of paperwork, all data is stored electronically, saving you time and ensuring accuracy.
Read Next:   Ways to Save on Your Fleet’s Fuel Costs

Fleets are also subject to state and federal regulations. You should stay on top of preventative maintenance to give your drivers more confidence during inspections and have a higher compliance, safety and accountability (CSA) score. You should also ensure you’re up to date with licensing requirements to avoid paying late or non-compliance fees. 

Track Your Fleets 

One of the most effective fleet management techniques is tracking your trucks with fleet management systems. You can find the most optimized routes for improved customer satisfaction and provide more accurate arrival estimates by checking how long each delivery takes and evaluating the effectiveness of different routes. Maintaining high customer satisfaction helps customers stay loyal to your company. 

08 Stay Loyal

Fleet tracking comes with a variety of other benefits, including: 

  • More control: GPS tracking gives you more control over routing and helps you plan future routes with features like NetTrack’s Map Replay. The map shows the vehicle’s direction with an arrow icon. When you click on an icon, you can see how long a driver was at a location, the vehicle speed, its cardinal direction and the location’s street address. 
  • Mobile apps: Mobile apps empower you to monitor vehicle location and activity in real-time. You can easily monitor information like driving habits, fuel use and speed to detect which fleets are most productive. Apps have also streamlined fleet management, taking care of tasks like mapping that you previously had to do by hand. Because they efficiently store data in a paperless digital format, you’ll be able to clear up space at the office.
  • Customer service: Accessible digital data facilitates conversation between managers, drivers and customers, so you can provide customers with more accurate arrival times. Plus, GPS tracking’s ability to help you efficiently route drivers will get them to customers efficiently, leading to faster delivery times.
  • Employee benefits: Fleet tracking systems benefit employees by automating processes like timesheets and safety data that drivers previously had to fill out by hand. Plus, the information in the tracking system is more accurate than manual methods. These systems also help keep drivers safe by identifying dangerous driving habits and maintenance notifications. Fleet tracking systems optimize fleet performance so you can spend more time and resources addressing your drivers. 

When selecting a tracker, you’ll want to consider your particular organization’s needs. Factors to consider when choosing a tracker include:

  • Tracking or updates: You’ll want to determine whether you want real-time tracking or periodic updates. While real-time trackers allow you to keep a closer eye on vehicles with constant updates, periodic trackers send updates once to several times a day. 
  • Assets you need to track: Determining which assets your company needs to track will help you determine what type of tracker to select, as different models are designed for different vehicles and purposes. 
  • Metrics: After deciding which vehicles you’re going to track, you should then determine what information the tracker needs to record. For example, you may want to track driver safety or monitor the temperature of your shipments. 
  • Types of trackers: You’ll want to consider which tracker style will best serve your purposes. A GPS plug-in fleet tracker plugs into an OBDII port to track location and speed. GPS hardwired trackers provide more frequent updates to monitor driver activity and fleet location.
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Optimize Fleet Performance With Track Your Truck 

Because your fleets are a valuable asset to your company, you’ll want to practice effective fleet management. Track Your Truck’s fleet tracking systems can ensure you’re properly maintaining your fleets to maximize productivity and profits. Our software will scale with your business, with all programming updates and changes done in-house, individualized customer support and access to a customer service site with training materials. 

Contact Track Your Truck today to request a free quote and learn how our fleet tracking systems can help you optimize fleet performance! 

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