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Taming data can help improve operations

Nov. 1, 2021
While it can seem like there is too much data to handle, setting some simple rules that outline normal operating conditions can help fleets focus on what needs to be fixed and allow an improvement in business operations.

“Customers want access to data on demand,” said Joe King, president of Fleetrock, a fleet management platform provider, speaking at a recent NationaLease meeting. While people want information, today’s fleet manager is faced with an avalanche of data that can seem overwhelming. Therefore, it is important that information be presented in a way that is meaningful and has business context, he explained.

When it comes to data management, it is a good idea to set rules for what is considered “normal” in your operation so that you only have to review data that falls outside of those parameters. There is little to be gained by looking at things that are going right; you want to focus on the exceptions if you want to improve. Dashboards are a good way to see where things stand in real time. Using a simple green-yellow-red display you can see at a glance where problems are developing (yellow), where you need to focus immediate attention (red) as well as what is going right (green).

Some key reports to consider are total cost, average cost, average cost by model year, and component cost, King said. You can look at total cost for each region in which you operate, for each operating center or for the fleet as a whole.

Average cost by model year is a useful tool for helping you make the right asset replacement decision. As you start to notice costs rising on a certain model year, you can delve deeper to determine why that is occurring.

If your maintenance costs are rising for assets of a certain age, it may be time to start phasing them out of your operation as they are negatively impacting your total cost of operation. The component cost can tell you on which parts of the vehicle you are spending your maintenance and repair dollars. You can leverage this data to see if you need to purchase more robust components, if you need to do some additional training of your technicians in terms of root cause analysis or proper repair procedures, or if you need to do some driver coaching to prevent excessive component wear.

While it can seem like there is too much data to handle, setting some simple rules outlining normal operating conditions and setting up dashboards that allow you to see what is falling outside normal parameters can help you focus on what needs to be fixed and allow you to improve your business operations. 

Jane Clark focuses on managing the member services operation at NationaLease as vice president of member services. She works to strengthen member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups.

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