Effectively Managing Your Fleet’s Biggest X Factor

Truth be told, if you’re reading this, you’re likely already doing a terrific job at minimizing your fleet’s operating costs. You probably have an acquisition strategy that ensures you to buy vehicles at the lowest cost possible. You’ve established comprehensive maintenance and fuel programs that effectively contain expenses and minimize downtime. And you likely have a holistic supply chain solution that helps to maximize returns when it is time to sell your vehicles.

But the biggest X factor that influences your fleet’s budget is the variable that you typically have the least control of; your drivers.

What’s Hiding in Your Fleet’s Blind Spot?

Every time a driver gets behind the wheel, your organization is vulnerable to repercussions that go far beyond just repairing a vehicle if you’re not addressing safety and driver behavior. Poor and reckless driving habits – harsh cornering, aggressive braking, rapid acceleration, excessive idling, etc. – put your drivers (and other motorists) at risk, increase the wear and tear on your vehicles, and drive up fuel consumption.

If driver performance remains unchecked, the impact of their behavior can quickly spiral out of control, impacting virtually every aspect of your fleet. It’s time to ask yourself, do you really know what your drivers are doing when they’re behind the wheel of your company’s vehicle?

How much is driver behavior really costing your business?

On average, approximately 15 to 20 percent of your fleet will be involved in an accident this year, and each incident represents a significant cost to your company.

Beyond accident costs, your drivers’ behavior also affects the total cost of ownership (TCO) of your vehicles. Aggressive habits can wreak havoc on the vehicle’s engine, brakes, suspension, tires, and other components, often leading to unnecessary repairs and dramatically shortened vehicle lifecycles. Aggressive driving can also lower fuel economy by as much as 30 to 40%.

In addition to these direct expenses, there are also indirect costs such as downtime, lost productivity, increased insurance premiums, and potential legal liabilities that further impact your company’s revenue. The financial impact of driver behavior is profound. Fortunately, there are ways to effectively monitor and manage your drivers’ performance to minimize how much they impact your fleet’s operating costs.

Plug in to Enhance Your Optics

Telematics essentially puts you inside the vehicle with your drivers, allowing you to monitor performance and quickly identify high-risk behaviors that are inflating your fleet’s operating costs. A comprehensive telematics solution helps you collect a wide range of data from your vehicles including speeding, excessive idling, seat-belt usage, distracted driving, and more.

With this data, you’ll have insight into precisely how your drivers are performing on the road and you’ll be empowered to make tangible improvements for your organization. For example, the enhanced visibility telematics provides helps you monitor idle times, allowing you to notify drivers of violations. You can also quickly identify drivers who exceed the speed limit frequently so you can prescribe training to address this dangerous habit.

These are just a few examples of how telematics can serve as a catalyst for change across your entire organization.

Telematics + Analytics = Smarter Decisions

When your telematics data is connected to an advanced analytics platform such as ARI insightsTM, you’re able to integrate this information with your other vehicle and driver data to compile a holistic view of your fleet. Together, this powerful technology makes it easier for you to analyze trends, understand key performance indicators, and track the factors that are influencing your total cost of ownership.

To take that intelligence a step further, you can also leverage innovative tools such as the ARI Driver Scorecard to easily benchmark driving performance across your entire organization, allowing you to pinpoint high-risk drivers and quickly highlight opportunities to enforce proper behavior. This fully-customizable tool simplifies how you measure the performance of your drivers, integrating data from numerous sources including your telematics devices, accident records, fuel data, MVR reports, moving violations, etc. to provide an overall performance score for each driver.

Once your scorecard is well-established, you can even use the information to encourage friendly competition among your employees by recognizing and rewarding your safest drivers.

By proactively identifying and training your high-risk drivers, you’re able to improve safety, prevent potential collisions, and better control operating costs. When you combine an effective telematics solution with analytics tools such as the ARI Driver Scorecard and a comprehensive driver safety program that proactively identifies and trains your high-risk drivers, you have the potential to reduce your crash rates by 40 to 60% – or more! Ready to get connected? Let ARI help you plug into your fleet data with a telematics solution that works for your business. To hear more about the innovative technologies that are shaping the automotive industry, be sure to listen and subscribe to our podcast, MOTIVE powered by Holman.