Harnessing Data to Innovate Fleet Strategy

Every organization strives to leverage data to drive their business and lower costs.  Fleets have many sources of data, but harnessing and focusing the data to an effective solution is evasive for many.  Over the years and after working with hundreds of fleets, there are several key principles required to drive true savings, which requires actionable data and culture focus.

Haves Versus Have-Nots

Many organizations lack the proper data to establish a baseline or set realistic goals.  While they may know what they spend in total for various areas of the fleet like fuel, lease and maintenance, per unit costs, cents per mile, and the individual patterns of each vehicle, lifecycle opportunities are not easily accessible.  Don’t be put into a box: every vehicle and employee has its own merits to optimize.  It can be surprising that fleets on a managed fleet maintenance program for years can unlock 20-25% savings, while another fleet can drive savings at the pump of 5-10%.  Having actionable data that paints the picture of existing opportunities for the fleet eludes many.

Leveraging Actionable Data & Partnerships to Create Goals

Unlocking actionable data and modeling what is achievable should be the core of any partnership once the baseline is defined.  Predictive models, industry trends, peer benchmarks, and years of FleetiQ should be expected with any long-term partnership.  Proactive recommendations stem from a consistent, ongoing, data-driven interaction with the long-term relationship manager, day-to-day account manager, and an experienced fleet consultant who all partner to engage the numerous stakeholders in the client organization to set the shared targets.

Using the FleetTech Model to Drive Goals and Culture Change

Shared goals become reality with the successful application of a FleetTech model to create focus, even across the most decentralized organizations. Real-time data, flexible client preferences, dashboards, report subscriptions, alerts, driver scorecards, and gamification all represent the day-to-day tools that drivers and location managers should leverage to meet and exceed goals.  Measurable success opportunities exist every day and every trip. The connected vehicle, fuel program controls, preventive maintenance discipline, driving styles, MPG targets, vendor selection, vehicle cycle timing, idle time, and safety focus all drive success.  Having the right FleetTech partner to harness these opportunities will drive 20-30% savings for many.

Endless Innovation

At the core of innovation is challenging the current reality in a useful way.  As baselines and goals are defined and the FleetTech process is deployed, things change.  Macro-economic and fleet applications, as well as organizational needs, require attention.  Leveraging a long-term fleet partnership to constantly innovate and think outside the box to address fresh opportunities and challenges should be an ongoing process.  Quarterly Fleet Optimization Scorecards that proactively leverage data and FleetiQ make goals a reality and ensures a winning culture focus.

Dan Hannan serves as Vice President of Fleet Strategy at Merchants Fleet. He is a strategic thought leader for the fleet industry, driving client partnerships to identify cost savings and leveraging powerful fleet management technology solutions through peer benchmarking powered by Merchants TotalView. He brings industry leadership, strategic thinking, and process-orientation to the fleet business architecture that drives the Merchants Fleet client experience. Dan has over 25 years of fleet management experience. He held numerous Senior Vice President roles at GE Fleet and the Donlen Corporation in information technology, fleet operations, quality management, product development, strategic consulting, and sustainability.

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