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Since the recent economic downturn, more than a third (34%) of British consumers surveyed by TomTom Telematics said that punctual deliveries and job attendance had, in their experience, deteriorated. This is significant, because it demonstrates that in a hyper-competitive industry, there are still improvements to be made.
It’s important to seize whatever competitive edge you can, because in an economic climate where efficiency is key, doing more but spending less could work to your advantage.nThis means smartly allocating jobs to drivers, route planning with workflow management, replacing vehicles which do not meet certain standards, and where appropriate, reducing unnecessary trips.
But how can improvements like these be made? How can a fleet be optimised without upsetting the morale of your staff? One way is to look at each individual vehicle in turn and make small changes over time. This eventually leads to bigger overall savings and avoids the controversy inevitably caused by introducing utilisation measures all at once.
Here are four tips to help with optimising your fleet utilisation.
It should come as no surprise that integrated telematics can offer a quick and accurate way to track exactly which vehicles and routes impact your fleet’s averages. But you should know what to measure before you can go about making improvements.
The obvious place to start is to consider the number of miles travelled per vehicle. Savings can be made by ensuring that each vehicle makes only the number of trips that it needs to, engine hours are kept as low as possible, and of course, fuel consumption is kept to a minimum.
Recent research from TomTom Telematics found that 54% of drivers lose more than 2 hours a month logging mileage and that 9% lose more than 8 hours. Integrated telematics can automatically log this information accurately and lets you identify exactly where the number of miles per vehicle can be cut.
You can also make improvements by identifying any unauthorised vehicle use (after hours, for private journeys etc.) and cutting down misuse as far as possible.
Fuel use typically makes up a third of a fleet’s marginal costs, and the difference between a good driver and a bad driver’s spending on fuel is over 40%. That’s a massive potential saving and one which is easily rectified by introducing targeted training for drivers with inefficient and poor driving habits.
Within any business involving delivery, there will be times when circumstances change and drivers need to be adaptable. This could be for a variety of reasons; A customer may not be at the property when delivery is due to take place, alternative provisions need to be made. Your driver may be running low on fuel and must make a stop at the closest service station for a refill. Another customer has been bumped up the queue at the last minute and your driver needs to deal with their job urgently.
With all these possibilities, both re-routing and communicating new orders to drivers in both a safe and non-distracting manner can be a challenge. Mobile phones should never be considered given the inherent danger they pose, not to mention the logistical and financial problems created by the fines, penalty points and bans your drivers can incur because of phone use at the wheel.
Telematics such as solutions from TomTom Telematics integrates both workflow order management and route planning, and allows orders to be dispatched to an individual driver’s terminal. These orders can then be read out loud, reducing the risk of distracting a driver behind the wheel.
Before beginning the optimisation process, you need to know exactly what has been happening up to now. Looking at your current metrics is an important step in the process, but understanding that certain numbers exist as part of an overall pattern allows you to take long term steps to improve specific areas and offer driver training.
Examining your job history allows you to see routes where different drivers have been consistently caught in traffic, or examine individual drivers to track efficiencies like fuel usage, speeding, idling, job time, and jobs completed over a long period of time.
Often when staff adapt to a certain way of doing their job they can become blinkered to the possibility of improvement. Examining your job history allows you to provide concrete evidence of gaps in business efficiency and can help guard against any resistance from either employees or management as you take the necessary steps to fleet optimisation.
In fleet management, there are two significant variables which can adversely affect the outcome of a driver’s journey: changes in weather, and traffic. In the first instance, although extreme changes in weather are perhaps rarer than changes in traffic conditions, it is nevertheless important to have a plan in place for storm response. This is because, along with potential road closures and dangerous driving conditions, poor weather also has a run-on effect on the density of traffic.
Integrated telematics can provide up-to-date weather and traffic conditions, so that if an alternative route needs to be found at the last minute, you can find the quickest route to take your drivers where they want to go. This is also about helping to keep your drivers safe, so when there are weather warnings or accidents which they need to be made aware of, you need to ensure that you have the information on hand to feed them through.
An integrated telematics solution can help optimise the utilisation of your fleet, simply by providing a data log which can be accessed and shared between the fleet management structure of a company and its staff. Knowing the average mileage of each vehicle in your fleet, what the weather or traffic conditions are on a given day, managing the different variables of fuel consumption, and overseeing different aspects of driver behaviour; all of these data sets are available to access on an integrated telematics system.
Telematics provides an auditable record, encourages safety, helps provide legal security, and can help save money for your company. Not to mention the benefits to be realised by your customers. So, have a look at our fleet management system today and take the first steps toward the diverse rewards a streamlined business can provide.
To discover more on how a connected telematics solution can benefit your business departments please visit telematics islands.
Please note: The information in this blog post is meant for reference only. TomTom Telematics does not warrant or imply that the use of this text or its products or services can in itself guarantee compliance with your tax or legal obligations. To ensure compliance with these obligations you must always seek individual advice from a legal counsel or a qualified tax compliance specialist