Data collection is a large part of a fleet manager’s job, but interpreting it and adding value is another battle! We dig into the issue here.
As a fleet manager, collecting data about the vehicles under your control is all very well. The question is, what do you actually do with that data and how to make sense of all the information?
From vehicle expenses to financial details about external services, parts and suppliers, there is a huge range of fleet information you could be collecting but what do you actually need?
Technology has moved fleet management a long way from manual inputs and reams of paper so there is more data available about your fleet and assets than ever before and if you able to gather and analyse this fleet data effectively, it can be an incredibly useful tool.
Gathering appropriate information and analysing it for benchmarking and improvement purposes is a useful practice that can help build a constructive understanding of how your vehicles, equipment, other assets and employees operate.
To assess or not to assess
It is important to realise that just because there is a mass of data at your disposal, it does not mean you have to assess it all. Some items may simply not be relevant to help you meet your goals and ensuring efficiency comes from gathering the data that is useful for your unique fleet operation.
Advances in technology and changing dynamics with the fleet industry has also meant fleet management companies such as EQSTRA Fleet Management have kept up with this ever-changing industry by adapting the way it works with clients, which is precisely what it did when implementing Quest.
“Quest is a solid system and offers a holistic perspective of each of our customers’ and suppliers’ profiles, with all agreements, transactions and service histories associated with it,” says Murray Price, managing director of EQSTRA Fleet Management.
“It is an easy-to-use database, which provides real-time automation, management and security from start to end. It provides management solutions for fleet, insurance, maintenance, tracking, fuel, roadside assistance and accident management and is designed to improve service quality and ensure additional value to our customers and suppliers.”
Ultimately, if your operation does not understand and have solid control of its data, you will find work is made harder – with consequences potentially including stressed staff, costly mistakes and unnecessary spending.
Whether your fleet forms 80% of your business, or simply plays a small role in the bigger picture, fleet managers no longer have the luxury of spending all their time focusing on fleet operations.
A fleet is a big cost centre for any company, so there is massive pressure on fleet managers to ensure not only efficiency, but also to ensure fleet operations are always aligned with the overall business goals and direction.
For this reason, fleet managers have to be much more involved with the overarching business plan than ever before, which leaves a lot less time for nitty-gritty daily details of the fleet management process. Collaborating with a reputable fleet provider is therefore important for the overall fleet process as well as for the business a whole.
As with everything else, fleet management has become data-driven. Even entry-level telematics provides massive amounts of data, but it is worth nothing if not interpreted and applied correctly. A fleet provider that can effectively interpret all this data – and use it to implement solutions to keep optimising your fleet – is an invaluable asset.
EQSTRA Fleet Management, through Quest, offers fleet intelligence and provides additional understanding of how the different component aspects (such as maintenance, cost per kilometer, driver behaviour) all work together.
Quest is an integrated fleet management solution developed by EQSTRA Fleet Management on Microsoft AX. The only parties having access to it are customers, suppliers and staff members of EQSTRA Fleet Management.
They each have their own login details to the portal. Everything that relates to a specific vehicle is recorded onto Quest – this can be from payments to services booked for a specific fleet vehicle. It keeps a great track record of all the information around a fleet and makes accepting quotes and transactions on the supplier and customer side much easier.
Sudesh Pillay, Head of Consulting and Data Analytics at EQSTRA Fleet Management, says, “Customers get a monthly report from us and this can be tailored to their specific needs or type of fleet. For example, hauliers involved in transporting flammable or hazardous goods have to comply with certain legal requirements and the vehicle information pertinent to that would be generated by Quest.
“Largely the data involves all the information a fleet manager needs on the overall operating cost of the fleet, broken down to reflect mileages, maintenance, lease costs, installments and the like. Also, the stored data on the system can be used to generate comparative analyses.
“The report structure is really based around the user profile and is important to them to help the process of making informed decisions. This is not limited to the actual vehicles but also helps in identifying such elements as driver behaviour that may need more attention.
“It is vital, however, customers have a culture of examining the reports each month – the data is empirical and impartial. But, if it is not examined, it will not completely do its job.”
If you need further assistance on how the EQSTRA Fleet Management consulting can help you get better actionable insights from your data and get you fleet operation on positive trajectory, click on the below button and book an appointment.