Tracking performance metrics and comparing current data against past performance is a basic part of most business operations—and fleet management is no exception. Many fleet managers actively track performance metrics for their vehicle fleets.
Why should you track fleet metrics? What are some key fleet management metrics that you should track? And, how can you track these metrics? Here’s a quick explanation of fleet management metrics to help you answer these questions:
Why Fleet Managers Need Fleet Metrics
Monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) can help fleet managers in several ways:
- Identifying Abnormal Vehicle Use. Is there an asset in the fleet that is consuming twice as much fuel and maintenance expenses as similar vehicles? That vehicle may be getting used in abnormal ways (such as being driven “off the clock” for personal errands). Tracking maintenance and cost metrics can help fleet managers identify when a vehicle is falling outside of the normal use patterns. This, in turn, can help curtail the unauthorized or illicit use of company vehicles.
- Spotting Potential Safety Issues. Another benefit of tracking maintenance data and other fleet management metrics is that it can help identify potential safety problems in the fleet. For example, acceleration and deceleration information can reveal bad driving habits that increase the risk of a collision, while repair reports can identify consistent problems with certain vehicles (such as tires not being replaced frequently enough, brake systems wearing out faster than they should, and other problems).
- Creating Cost Efficiencies. Tracking fleet metrics on a large scale can help fleet managers find opportunities to reduce costs or rearrange vehicle maintenance and/or replacement to create new cost efficiencies. Tweaking the timing of maintenance to focus on prevention of issues rather than relying on a break-fix approach can be particularly effective at creating cost efficiencies. Additionally, tracking idle time and acceleration habits can help spot wasteful driving behaviors that consume excess fuel.
- Satisfying Customers. Whether your fleet conveys field workers to a specific jobsite or carries cargo to customers, it’s imperative that the vehicles and their contents arrive on time. Tracking fleet metrics can help ensure that drivers don’t take needless detours so that deliveries and service calls are completed on time (or as close to it as possible).
These are simply a few of the reasons why fleet managers need to track fleet KPIs. Now, which KPIs should you track as a fleet manager?
12 Fleet Management Metrics You Should Track
There are countless performance metrics that could be collected and measured in a vehicle fleet—far too many to cover every possible one in detail here. In fact, trying to track too many metrics may end up creating diminishing returns for fleet efficiency.
So, it’s important to identify a few key fleet metrics that you can easily track and translate into benefits (such as reducing costs, improving safety, and ensuring customer satisfaction). Here are a few examples of different KPIs that fleet managers should track, divided by category:
Fleet Operational Efficiency Metrics
1. Vehicle Total Cost of Ownership. This is an aggregate metric that combines the initial cost of a vehicle, its fuel consumption, its maintenance, and all other costs related to owning and fielding the vehicle (including taxes, licenses, storage fees, etc.) for the company over time. Tracking TCO for individual fleet assets and comparing them to the revenue they generate can be crucial for identifying opportunities to create cost efficiencies.
2. Vehicle Replacement Costs. Over time, even the best-maintained vehicles will eventually require replacement. Tracking how much is being spent on replacing vehicles each year is a must for creating a reliable and accurate fleet operations budget moving forward.
3. Vehicle Utilization. How much value does each vehicle generate for the organization? What is the uptime for each vehicle? Vehicle utilization is an important operations KPI for measuring the value each fleet asset brings to the organization as a whole. However, utilization may mean different things for different vehicles. For example, a semi-truck’s utilization may depend on total miles traveled, while a construction crane’s utilization may depend on how many loads it moves in a day.
4. Idle Time. When a vehicle is on but not doing anything, that idle time burns gas without producing value. While some idle time is inevitable for any kind of vehicle (whether because of traffic signals or because of short-term delays for employees to do something), excessive idle time costs money while adding extra wear and tear on vehicles.
5. Adherence to Planned Routes. How well do drivers adhere to the established routes they’re given? Being able to track incidents where drivers go off their planned route can help fleet managers prevent unplanned vehicle use—and thus avoid falling behind schedule.
Fleet Maintenance Metrics
6. Total Vehicle Breakdowns. Vehicular breakdowns, wherein fleet vehicles suffer an unexpected failure and cannot continue to operate safely, should be avoided whenever possible. A high rate of vehicle breakdowns could be an indication that the current fleet maintenance plan is insufficient and needs to be modified. Fleet managers should track breakdown incidents and try to determine the cause so such disruptions can be prevented.
7. Vehicle Part Inventories. What parts are most frequently used during vehicle maintenance checks? Tracking parts inventories and use patterns in maintenance is crucial for ensuring fast, efficient, and consistent vehicle maintenance. By tracking parts inventory and use patterns, fleet managers can ensure they always have the right types and amounts of parts on hand to service their vehicles, and avoid having to make emergency orders that create delays and additional expenses.
8. Average Maintenance Downtime. How much time do vehicles spend “in the shop” for repairs? Whether you use in-house fleet maintenance crews or outsource repairs to a third party, it’s important to make sure that you can minimize the downtime for repairs. A vehicle sitting in the shop isn’t producing value for you!
9. Vehicle Diagnostic Codes Generated. Most vehicles made in the last 20 years have onboard diagnostic systems that can detect various issues with the vehicle and generate diagnostic codes to alert maintenance techs to those issues. Tracking the frequency of codes generated and which codes are generated can help fleet managers identify specific maintenance challenges with their current vehicle fleet.
Fleet Safety Metrics
10. Acceleration/Braking Metrics. Driver behaviors have an enormous impact on fleet safety and fuel efficiency. Monitoring metrics related to acceleration and braking can help fleet managers identify potentially reckless driving behaviors that increase the risk of collisions—plus waste fuel and increase vehicle maintenance costs.
11. Vehicle Start/Stop Times. When does a driver start or stop their vehicle? How long do they remain behind the wheel? Driver hours of service regulations require drivers to get plenty of downtime between driving sessions so they can remain alert behind the wheel. By monitoring vehicle start and stop times, fleet managers can enforce hours of service standards more easily—meeting compliance requirements while keeping drivers safe (and healthy) on the road.
12. Hard Cornering Statistics. How deeply do drivers of commercial-class vehicles take their turns? Taking corners too tightly can cause damage to valuable assets—or harm others and their property. Monitoring how drivers take turns helps to verify whether they are practicing safe driving habits.
Tracking the Fleet Metrics That Matter Most with Rastrac
There are a lot of fleet metrics to track, and it isn’t always easy to gather the data that you need to get an accurate report for each metric. This is where vehicle fleet tracking solutions like Rastrac can help.
Rastrac fleet tracking software and GPS tracking devices help fleet managers gather critical information about their vehicular assets—such as start/stop times, driver behaviors, and current positions. This makes it easier to track your most important fleet management metrics so you can spend less time collating data and more time creating cost efficiencies.