Most folks in the fleet management field understand that in order to run a successful fleet and make informed business decisions, they need to have all the “deetz”. In other words, an efficient fleet management gig includes investing effort into tracking, analyzing, and comparing past and present Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) so you can manage your fleet the best way possible.
Depending on your fleet’s size and function, this effort will require dealing with a lot of important information coming your way, which not every fleet manager finds easy. Not without proper organization and assistance, at least. In fact, many often wonder where to even begin, which fleet management KPIs they should follow and how, or what is the point of monitoring some of them, to begin with.
For those fleet managers struggling to find the answers to these questions, we offer some insight. So if you’re one of them, keep reading. If not, you may still learn something useful to better your fleet performance.
Fleet management KPIs can be used for anything and everything that makes your job easier and your fleet run like a well-oiled machine, literally. We can group these fleet management KPIs into several categories according to their main purpose (which can intertwine):
- improving efficiency
- organizing vehicle maintenance
- managing your fleet’s finances
- enhancing safety
- ensuring compliance with the law
1. Improving efficiency
Like every fleet manager, you’re always on the lookout for ways to make your operation run faster and more efficiently, leaving you with less work to be done and (it’s ok to admit) going home earlier. You can measure this efficacy in various fleet management KPIs, including:
- Asset utilization
How well are your vehicles utilized? Which of them are the least used and how can you put them to good use? Will getting rid of some of them be beneficial for the fleet’s operations and finances?
- Mileage and time
How much time and miles does each vehicle spend driving? How much of it is business use and how much is for the driver’s personal time?
- Route adherence and efficiency
Are any of your drivers frequently getting lost or are they deviating from the route (un)intentionally? Are the routes they’re taking truly the most efficient and fastest ones?
- Schedule compliance
Are the drivers sticking to their assigned driving schedules? Are they starting their vehicles too late and falling behind schedules?
Staying in the know of these details allows fleet managers of all shapes and sizes to find areas where improvement is possible. Improve these areas and you’ll notice positive changes in your fleet management, your own free time and work difficulty, as well as the satisfaction of both your company’s employees and customers.
2. Organizing vehicle maintenance
Fleet managers who strive toward running a smooth operation can’t afford to suffer delays or miss too many (or really any) deliveries or trips because of unexpected vehicle breakdowns, unplanned maintenance, and missing parts. This is why it’s important to prevent such situations by tracking issues including:
- Vehicle breakdowns and unscheduled maintenance
How often do your vehicles require unplanned servicing? Too many vehicle breakdowns and unscheduled maintenance events mean you need to organize your preventive measures better.
- Maintenance technicians’ efficiency
Are your vehicles breaking down even after they’ve been checked by the technician crew? The answer may lie in the work of the techs themselves. Regardless of who is doing the maintenance – your own technicians or outsourced crews – analyzing their current efficiency will allow you to optimize it.
- Average downtime for maintenance
In addition to the techs’ efficiency, it is also useful to know how much time exactly each of your vehicles is going to spend out of service while it’s being repaired.
- Part inventories
What vehicle parts and in what amount are typically required by your fleet? Which parts are most prone to breaking down and need to be replaced most often during maintenance checkups? Keeping a detailed parts inventory ensures your technicians always have the right parts at their disposal so your vehicles get fixed ASAP.
- Vehicle diagnostic codes
Vehicles’ own diagnostic systems can come in handy as they generate diagnostic codes whenever they encounter various problems. These codes are not only useful to the techs, but also to fleet managers because they help them identify patterns of issues in the vehicles’ functioning.
Staying on top of these matters can tell fleet managers where the problem areas are, such as which vehicles are in poor condition or leaking fuel, how long of downtime to expect with each vehicle’s breakdown or maintenance event, and the like.
This way, you can more accurately plan your operations, prevent recurring maintenance problems, increase the vehicles’ lifespan, or establish the optimal window for their replacements. Ultimately, you could be saving your business some money, which certainly wouldn’t hurt (on the contrary).
3. Managing your fleet’s finances
Speaking of money – one of the tasks in fleet management is controlling the fleet’s finances, accurately tracking costs and expenses, as well as making sure the allocated money is going to all the right areas in your fleet.
This means tracking fleet management KPIs such as:
- Fuel economy
How much exactly is your fleet spending on fuel and how do current prices on the market reflect on it? How much fuel is each vehicle using while operating and does this consumption indicate a problem, like a leakage or fuel siphoning?
- Engine idle time
Are any of your drivers leaving their vehicles idle for longer than needed? If so, they’re not only wasting fuel and hiking spending, but they’re also releasing harmful gasses into the atmosphere.
- Labor and equipment costs
Similar to keeping up with fuel costs, you also need to have detailed information on how much money is spent on vehicle parts and equipment, as well as the employees’ paychecks.
- Unauthorized vehicle usage
Although you may allow your drivers to use the vehicles for tending to their own personal matters from time to time, you still need to make sure they’re not abusing this policy. After all, it may result in soaring fuel expenditures and unplanned maintenance.
- Vehicle registration and taxes
Are all the registration expenses and relevant taxes taken care of? Is there enough money from the budget allocated for these purposes?
- Total cost of ownership (TCO)
Fuel, parts, labor, and registration are just one part of the equation that, together with the vehicle purchase price, adds up to the total cost your company is paying for its vehicles. You should take all of these expenses into account, along with the vehicles’ depreciation (loss of resale value), and calculate the TCO amount for every single vehicle so you’d understand which ones should be replaced.
- Vehicle replacement costs
You should also monitor how much of your fleet’s money goes each year into vehicle replacement, be it due to accumulating a too high TCO or being totaled in an accident.
Monitoring these fleet management KPIs will not only help you control how the company’s budget is being spent in your fleet but will also allow you to see in which areas you can cut costs and make other adjustments that will improve spending.
4. Enhancing safety
Commercial drivers typically operate large cargo vehicles that, if being involved in a collision, may cause more damage and/or fatalities than small cars. They may also lead to lost vehicles and productivity, cargo damage, hefty government fines, liability lawsuits, court compensations, increased insurance premiums, and damaged company reputation.
As the role of a fleet manager includes directly supervising drivers, it is your responsibility to prevent these consequences by addressing improper driver behavior and keeping an eye on the driving safety metrics like:
- Harsh braking and rapid acceleration
Careless and dangerous driving includes more occasions of violently hitting the brakes to avoid hitting something or the vehicle accelerator to speed through an intersection. Such behavior is also detrimental to the vehicle’s condition.
- Traffic violations
Similarly as with aggressive driving, failing to adhere to traffic rules (be it speeding, disregard for traffic signs, not stopping at a zebra crossing, and the like) shows a pattern of behavior that eventually may lead to a fatal collision.
- High-risk incidents
Incidents like tailgating, pedestrians or animals running into the street in front of the vehicles, lane deviation, or your drivers dozing off, should be carefully monitored and treated seriously to reduce their occurrence and prevent consequences.
- Accident events
Unfortunately, accidents can’t always be prevented and can happen despite taking all the precautions. However, analyzing all the vehicle data before and during the accident (speed, location, impact direction, damage, and screenshots), will help you understand what happened and perhaps even exonerate your drivers.
These can be tracked through a fleet management system that may also trigger real-time visual and audio alerts to your drivers of various road hazards and dangerous situations, as well as recording each occurrence so you can access them online. This data can be incorporated into customized reports and exported for further analysis.
5. Ensuring compliance with the law
Fleet management operations are covered by various laws and regulations issued with the purpose to reduce accidents, injuries, and deaths caused by fatigued drivers and faulty vehicles. In the U.S., these regulations are issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
To ensure your business is in compliance with these laws and regulations, you need to gather information about:
- Drivers’ Hours of Service (HOS)
The term refers to the number of hours a driver is permitted to spend driving per day, week, or other period. This information is automatically recorded by the vehicle’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD) and can’t be easily manipulated. Some fleet management platforms can even trigger real-time alerts if they detect tampering. The HOS rule requires that drivers keep a RODS documentation for every 24-hour period. Failing to do so or any attempts at falsifying these records makes them (and/or the carrier) liable to prosecution.
DVIRs are conducted by the drivers upon their daily vehicle inspections, before and after their shifts. During these inspections, drivers follow a checklist of things they need to examine on their vehicles to ensure safe and efficient operation.
You and/or your drivers must be able to produce this information to the law enforcement officers at all times or the carrier could face legal consequences.
6. Business-specific KPIs
Obviously, not every company’s fleet is the same. Each unique fleet may have different fleet management KPIs to follow from a business perspective.
For example, a food provision service depends heavily on having its vehicles arrive precisely on time to their destinations and making sure the products are delivered in perfect state. This means that the person in charge of this company’s fleet management will have to monitor KPIs such as delivery times and refrigerator temperature.
By the same token, you may not even have to track all the fleet management KPIs we listed. For instance, if your fleet only operates crane-operating vehicles, you won’t be that much interested in speeding or driven mileage.
The best way to track KPIs for next-level fleet management
Now that you know all the fleet KPIs you need to track, you’ll also need to have proper methods in place that will allow you to do so easily, without wasting your precious time on mastering the process. Luckily, technology has got an answer to these woes (it seems like it has an answer to everything these days, doesn’t it?): fleet management software.
A competent fleet management software will provide you with the means to track in real time and in retrospect all your KPIs in one place, accessible from different devices, wherever you may be (as long as there’s an Internet connection).
Such a platform should also have the option to generate and export fully customizable reports, allowing you to follow trends and establish patterns across the fleet, so you can decide on your course of action toward any necessary improvements.
An especially capable fleet management platform will let you do even more.
Safe Drive Systems’ (yours truly’s) fleet management software and hardware platform combines:
Thanks to such a potent combination, you get a unique and clear overview of your fleet that includes all of the important fleet management KPIs, both in real time and retrospectively. Having such a technological solution at your side will allow you to run the optimal KPI-based fleet management and fulfill all of your fleet’s goals.
This is something that hardly any other platform in the industry can provide.
But you don’t have to just take our word on this – give us a test drive for 30 days and you can see for yourself. Just fill out this form to book an appointment with one of our experts and you’ll get the best recommendation based on the analysis of your fleet’s requirements.