You’ve Got the Data—Now What?

These days, most industries—including the commercial trucking industry—benefit from smart technology. Today’s fleets are more connected than ever, and the opportunity to use real-world data for improving operations, safety, compliance, and employee retention is undeniable.

Many fleets have invested in fleet management software or telematics tools to help manage their operations. These cloud-based systems collect and send a wide range of data points from trucks and drivers to the back office for real-time insight into the fleet’s status. From HOS stats and fuel usage to RPM and idle time, the potential for identifying strengths and areas for improvement in your fleet’s data trends is a powerful tool for staying competitive and successful.

The challenge some fleets face is how to use the data they receive in the most effective way. Which metrics are the most helpful in improving operational efficiencies? Which are the best for improving driver retention? Where do you even start?

The following are three practical ways to use your data to make a difference in your fleet’s performance, safety, compliance, and bottom line. 

1. Increase Operational Efficiency

With thousands of moving parts, each fleet contains numerous variables and components that can be used to improve operational efficiency. For example, some fleets—especially larger ones—have so many trucks they sometimes don’t know which are active and which are stuck in maintenance or idling in the yard. Preserving the thin margins in this industry requires fleets to run as many loads and as many trucks on the road as possible. And with active vs. inactive reports, fleets can ensure every drivable truck is being used for deliveries to increase revenue for their company.

Another valuable metric to consider is fuel consumption. As one of the largest costs for fleets, ensuring you make the most of your fuel is of utmost importance. Tracking MPG trends shows which drivers could benefit from coaching to make sure they’re not overaccelerating, idling for long periods of time, or taking any other actions that waste fuel. 

2. Focus on Safer Driving Habits

Data surrounding safety is important to utilize since safety scores often have a massive impact on fleets. Lower safety scores may cause fleets to lose out on contracts, be pulled over by police more often, and force drivers to miss out on weigh station bypass options—which takes away from valuable driving time.Tracking critical event safety metrics – such as hard braking, emergency braking, follow time/tailgating, roll stability, and haptic warning, to name a few – enables fleets to identify drivers who need additional coaching and training so they’re not at risk for getting tickets or causing an accident.

Taking a truck and driver off the road following an accident is expensive, and in the worst-case scenarios, drivers’ physical health is also impacted. Fleet managers should be aware that so-called “nuclear verdicts” have been on the rise in the last decade as judges and juries hand down hefty fines after critical events, with financial penalties often extending into the millions. Supporting safer highways through better driving habits isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s also the smart thing to do for the longevity of your fleet. 

3. Reduce Compliance Violations

In addition to being annoying, compliance violations are expensive. While heavy fees or forced downtime drastically affect fleets’ operating budgets, insight into points like HOS statuses—such as receiving alerts when drivers are in violation—enable you to curb the impact on your fleet and offer opportunities for more effective coaching to support safety and compliance.

Tapping into your fleet data also helps you address the issue of uncertified logs. Drivers need to certify their logs on a normal cadence to avoid the risk of additional violations, and receiving uncertified log reporting notifies you when they're not certifying so you can reach out directly to ensure the consistency of their logs.

Platform Science is Here to Help

As fleets receive more data from their trucks and drivers, the need for tools to process and share key takeaways increases. Platform Science offers an integrated platform of software and hardware tools that gather, analyze, and summarize key metrics—using data collected both on the edge and in the cloud—to provide insights tailored to each fleet’s unique goals and resources. With easy-to-read dashboard summaries, automatic alerts, and automated reporting features, we’re here to help you unlock the potential of your data.

View our full suite of products for fleets or explore PS Analytics, our powerful tool for processing and sharing fleet data.