For fleet-reliant businesses, rightsizing is as applicable to the fleet individually as it is to the overall business. Integrated fleet solutions offer automated data capture and reporting so fleets can quickly see productivity metrics to help rightsize their operation for improved productivity, uptime, and ROI.
RIGHTSIZE THE FLEET
Since the start of the pandemic, many businesses have had to consider rightsizing their operations, whether to meet the increased demand of e-commerce shoppers or adjust to decreased business volumes. Furthermore, labor shortages combined with a mass exodus of the workforce has caused some businesses to perform a structural reevaluation to ensure operations continue running smoothly. For businesses that rely on fleet assets to carry out services or transport employees or goods, rightsizing the fleet is a critical step in reducing unnecessary expenses while still meeting customer or client expectations.
Rightsizing your fleet can encompass a number of actions, from scaling the quantity of assets and/or employees up or down to reorganizing management and restructuring processes. Using productivity-related fleet data, fleet managers can better determine what and where changes should be made for optimal fleet efficiency.
METRICS TO TRACK
There are several key metrics fleets can use to gain actionable rightsizing insights: asset usage, shop productivity, and operating cost.
Asset usage data allows fleet managers to assess vehicle and equipment productivity. You can get a high-level overview of asset usage by tracking daily mileage, whether with paper inspections, telematics, or fleet management software (FMS). If you’re seeing wild fluctuations in use—maybe a vehicle has gone unused for several days for no discernible reason or perhaps it’s clocking more miles than normal—there could be a scaling opportunity.
Fleets using FMS and other fleet solutions can quickly and easily break down asset usage on a more granular level, including asset assignment and duration, usage percentage, status history, and service costs thanks to automatic data collection and aggregation. Having instant access to this data allows managers to hone in on imbalances in fleet usage that could be driving up expenses, such as inflated service costs for overused vehicles. Imbalance in fleet usage is a good indicator that the number of assets in your fleet needs to be adjusted.
Whether you service fleet assets in house or outsource to a third-party provider, it pays to track shop productivity. Improper staffing, extended lead times on replacement parts, poor organization, and inefficient communication are just some of the factors that can negatively affect shop productivity. Before you can tackle the source of a problem, however, you have to know that the problem exists. Comparing service duration (amount of time an asset spends in the shop from drop-off to pick-up) against active time on the job (amount of time a technician spends actively working on the asset) allows fleets to hone in on increased downtime so they can determine and address the cause.
Creating digital work orders in FMS allows managers to assign in-house technicians to specific jobs. Technicians can use the software’s native app to clock in and out of assigned work orders as well as communicate important task-related information within the work order. Because all this data is collected and organized automatically, managers can quickly compare service duration against active time on the job to find potential issues. Fleets outsourcing maintenance can use the software’s outsourced maintenance automation feature to collect service-related data from the shops they frequent.
Regardless of your method for tracking shop productivity, this metric can help you determine the best options for rightsizing when overhauling processes or optimizing labor hours.
Tracking and monitoring operating cost per asset allows fleets to determine which assets are running up the bill. This is a pertinent piece of information when it comes to future procurement, but it’s also quite helpful if you’ve determined that asset reduction will be part of your rightsizing strategy. An asset’s operating cost is basically what it sounds like: a sum of all costs associated with that asset, including registration, insurance, licenses, fuel, service, etc.
Fleets using FMS can use automated reports to easily view the operating cost for any asset and compare assets’ costs to quickly pick out the money pits. While the software configures the reports, users can customize the view to surface exactly the data they need and filter out the extra, helping fleets make informed decisions on where and how to scale asset quantity.
Rightsizing a fleet operation can be a daunting task, but with the right data at your fingertips the chances of success are greatly improved. Whether you’re using digital fleet solutions or collecting data manually, tracking the above key metrics can help you make data-driven rightsizing decisions to improve productivity, decrease unnecessary spend, and increase ROI.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachael Plant is a content marketing specialist for Fleetio, a fleet management software company that helps organizations track, analyze, and improve their fleet operations. Find out more, visit www.fleetio.com.