You’ve likely heard the phrase practice makes perfect, but it should be adjusted to “perfect practice makes perfect” because practicing something incorrectly will never help you succeed.
The same can be said about data. It’s well-known the value of data and how essential it is in managing today’s modern work truck fleet. But, like practice, inaccurate data will never help you positively impact your bottom line or fleet safety goals. As they say, “garbage in, garbage out.”
Data comes from just about every aspect of truck fleet management, from vehicle acquisition and resale to usage, maintenance, driver management, fuel, and so much more.
But is all of that data necessary to your fleet operation? Probably not. Do you have the time to dig through even simple custom reports on every data point? Unlikely.
So, how do you determine what data is essential for your fleet and how do you ensure it’s accurate so it can become actionable?
Find Your Data Focus
Focusing on the most important data points to your operation is a perfect start. A few things to take into consideration when figuring out what data is the most important to your fleet include:
- What are your current company goals? Is it a focus on safety? Sustainability?
- What are your fleet’s most significant pain points? Out of control fuel costs? An increase in accidents? Constant breakdowns?
Once you have a few areas of focus, you can start to refine the data points you have access to that help the most.
Validate Your Data
As noted, inaccurate data is only going to make problems worse. Take a moment to audit the data points you are focusing on and ensure that the data going in, and therefore coming out, is accurate.
Information that comes from a telematics system or other digital device is difficult to get wrong. Still, there are a few possible mistakes that can cause a big headache when validating data, including:
- Entering vehicle data into a system incorrectly, such as VIN number, initial odometer readings, date of purchase, etc. Any errors in this data will result in vastly skewed numbers.
- Inaccurately tracking maintenance. Suppose you do not track maintenance done on a vehicle. In that case, it is fully possible that vehicle could end up back in the shop for another unneeded oil change or major vehicle service, costing money and resulting in unnecessary vehicle downtime.
- Drivers not accurately tracking pre- and post-trip inspections. These are time-consuming, and drivers may be tempted to skip crucial parts of the inspection process when in a rush, checking off items that were never inspected. This can cause issues to be missed, and repair needs to grow exponentially.
(Actually) Analyze Your Data
We’re all busy. But if you don’t take the time to look at the focused data you have gathered, it will be impossible to see what needs to improve and implement a plan to make it happen. Set aside time each week (at a minimum) to look over your data and trends to spot issues or track progress.
Communicate trends with any key stakeholders, such as drivers or technicians, to ensure they are on board with your goals and know where they need to improve or how much they are.
Integrate Your Data
Many of today’s systems offer integrations with other major providers. The more your data can be integrated and connected, the easier it will be to consume, manage, and most importantly, act on. For example, utilize your telematics data to help determine maintenance intervals based on hours.
Don’t Ignore Data Points
Even though you may be focused on a specific set of data points right now, make sure you track as much data on your vehicles, equipment, and fleet of drivers as you possibly can. You never know when your focus may need to change based on trends seen in your fleet or a little extra time that pops up to dig into a new area.
What are you doing to dig out of the mountain of data and focus on what’s important?
E-mail me, let’s chat!
Executive Editor, Work Truck
Originally posted on Work Truck Online
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