Fleet management – you’re more cutting-edge than you realize

Published in the March 2017 issue of Fleet Affiliation

Keeping up with technology may seem like a daunting task. Vehicle complexity continues in the form of reducing weight, automating processes and changing technologies. The fleet management world is evolving indefinitely, and it’s important to manage the changes. Many organizations understand this and are using advancements to their advantage. Some are not, but there are opportunities for organizations to benefit.

Keep in mind the technological advances made throughout the last 30 years. If you’re a seasoned fleet manager, you may have carried a pager and a bulky “cellular telephone.” Fast forward to today. The “device” you keep close at hand serves as a phone, a pager, a roadmap, a calendar, a search engine, even an alarm clock and a photo album … and so much more — thanks to advancing technology. Vocational truck designs and shop operations continue to advance as well. Embracing change and using it to your advantage can help boost productivity.

Technology – beyond the status quo
Current vehicle technology allows fleet managers to better understand their fleet metrics, including fleet utilization, maintenance intervals and specification and design. However, technology also impacts maintenance shop and maintenance practices. If shop operations haven’t changed over the past decade, fleets may be behind the technology curve.

Technology makes is possible to track every replacement part, every part failure, mileage and hours between failures. Pairing this information with vehicle make, operating environment and usage application provides invaluable insight and reveals improvement opportunities in vehicle utilization as well as vehicle design. Collecting and analyzing this data provides for optimized specifications and more informed purchasing decisions. Additionally, the information may result in implementation of preventative and predictive maintenance practices. Most importantly, beyond simply having technology in place, fleet managers must use the collected data.  Be proactive — take the time to learn what is available within your operations and use it.

Leveraging technology for vendors
Embedded vehicle technology provides better understanding for utilization and design, and it provides suppliers guidance to improve vehicle design and vehicle components. Working alongside vendors and upfitters sharing your specific data, vehicle utilization and part failure information can often result in solutions being offered that may reduce your bottom line. A lot of guess work and assumptions can be eliminated when decisions are made based on data and specific insights about an organization.

Keeping up with technology and leveraging it to its fullest potential may not be easy. Taking the extra effort to do so usually pays off in the long run. More efficient vehicles and a better understanding of vehicle utilization often make a fleet manager’s job easier and reduces bottom-line costs.

If you would like to discuss this, or any other fleet issue with NTEA contact Chris Lyon, NTEA Director of Fleet Relations, at chris@ntea.com.