Improving fleet efficiency is an important parameter for any company looking to cut down on operational costs. Though it’s a metric that’s often overlooked, assessing fleet usage in real-time and implementing a full-fledged fleet maintenance program can definitely play a major role in reducing costs.
What is a fleet maintenance program?
A fleet maintenance program is the process of monitoring, managing, and maintaining fleets based on the fleet parameters that will ensure the highest level of efficiency. Typical programs include continuous data monitoring, scheduled servicing, inspections, and vehicle repairs. Investing the upfront time and resources to implement a fleet maintenance program can reap several benefits:
Increased lifetime of vehicles
Better fuel efficiency
Improved service reliability
Lowered maintenance costs
Now, let’s take a look at some of the different fleet maintenance metrics that can be tracked within a fleet management program.
Engine running data
Number of overspeeding
Number of trips
Number of maintenance checks
Duration between checks
Number of diagnostics
Why is fleet maintenance metric tracking important?
Increased preventive maintenance
Continually monitoring and reviewing your fleet maintenance metrics is a great way to ensure that your maintenance tasks are being taken care of proactively rather than reactively. If your overall maintenance schedule consists of mostly preventive assignments and minimizes the number of reactive tasks, it’s a good indicator that your maintenance program is a healthy one. Preventive maintenance can reduce the risk of breakdowns and costly equipment downtime, and that’s good for your bottom line.
Lower fuel costs
Fuel consumption data can give you clear insights on exactly how much fuel a vehicle is consuming in real-time (helping you plan upcoming services), mileage traveled, and can also help to identify any patterns with drivers or mechanics that might be negatively impacting fleet efficiency.
Improved engine performance
As we receive continuous real-time data for the engine, that data can be used to monitor engine performance and detect problems before they become major issues. Performing regular maintenance services not only reduces overall fleet maintenance costs, but can also reduce wear and tear on the engine or the vehicles themselves thereby increasing the lifetime of your fleet.
Real-time and historical data on driver behavior identifies potentially risky activities such as speeding or hard braking. Drivers who frequently show these kinds of driving patterns can be identified for further training opportunities or safety programs.
Focus on safety
GPS location information can help you reduce unauthorized vehicle use by continuously tracking vehicle routes and location details to ensure vehicles are being used appropriately. Notifications that use “geofencing” enable us to get instant updates on any unauthorized use of vehicles beyond the assigned location boundaries. Know where your fleet assets are at all times.
Maintenance logs and other service records can be automated, eliminating the need for time-consuming, manual data entry and can quickly generate reports that help you pinpoint any critical issues that require attention.
How to track fleet maintenance metrics
While it’s important that you understand the benefits of keeping tabs on your fleet maintenance metrics, it's equally important that you employ the right tools and resources when implementing a new maintenance program if you want the best results.
Equipped hardware for data capturing
Embedded systems installed in vehicles collect all information and transmit it to the corresponding software for further analysis. Nowadays, even smaller fleets are embracing these kinds of systems to monitor and improve their fleet efficiency. Embedded systems use a central unit that is connected to high-end sensors at different parts of the vehicle to capture several pieces of information. A number of new sensors are being introduced in the market every year and can track numerous parameters—vehicle location, fuel usage, load weight, engine performance, and many others—enabling powerful insights that help you manage your fleet assets more strategically.
Powerful software for analysis
The manual analysis will be difficult and time-consuming for larger fleets. Even the accuracy can’t be promised. Technology-driven computerized methods will be more efficient enabling timely proactive decisions. Depending on the fleet size and the requirements, a robust system can be chosen. It will help make important decisions by providing customized reports on the fleet data.
It is also important to maintain track of all the metrics in a centralized platform for all the stakeholders like fleet managers, drivers, engineers and technicians to access the maintenance information and make data-driven decisions It also helps them to evolve new processes to improve fleet efficiency.