Real-world data analysis is key to better fleet efficiency
The company says that having a better understanding of how drivers are actually using vehicles day to day should be a important factor in fleet decision making – from vehicle choice to driver training – but that this information is infrequently sought or recorded.
Neville Briggs, managing director at CFC, said: 'Fleet management is traditionally event-based – managers get involved when there is a need for an action such as maintenance or when something unforeseen such as an accident occurs but there is almost an unseen world between those events which is actual vehicle use. Even if some information is being recorded, such as through telematics, it is generally used to record events rather than analyse what happens between them.
'This is a missed opportunity because, for example, having a profile of the kinds of roads that a particular driver typically covers could be successfully recorded, analysed and used in decision making. A driver who spends 80% of their time on the motorway has different needs and faces different demands to one that spends 80% of their time handling appointments around urban areas. This type of information could be used to potentially make appropriate vehicle choices, spend more efficiently on maintenance, reduce fuel use and even make accidents less likely.
'It is not just road type information that could be of use but areas such as when a driver makes journeys, how long they tend to last, even average speeds. All of this could help fleet managers build up a picture of real-world fleet use.'
He added: 'Very few companies have attempted to do this for reasons of cost and complexity but in the absence of this kind of technology, a simple but effective step could be to ask drivers to periodically complete diaries that detail their working week, showing the kind of journeys they undertake, on what kind of roads, along with times and distances. Few fleets do this and then analyse the data but it is a worthwhile exercise.'
Mr Briggs concluded: 'To continue to make gains, an obvious way forward for fleet managers is to seek to fill in the gaps in the information that they hold about their fleet. By gathering data about the real world use of their fleet, they will be able to make better informed decisions that create cost and efficiency gains.'