Harnessing information into productivity

Published in the December 2018 issue of Fleet Affiliation

We live in a digital age and are constantly bombarded by data. Whether it’s the ongoing social media attention or the crucial details delivered by complex information sources, we are immersed in data. We are often overwhelmed, overloaded and fall into a situation of not understanding the information we are given. The current key to fuel productivity, efficiency and safe vocational vehicles is information. However like raw fuel, it needs to be refined into useful information. Raw information, or raw data, is similar to a raw energy source. It is valuable, but it can be unstable. Much like fuel, raw information can sometimes be hazardous. Taking data another step forward by analyzing and understanding it turns this information into a useful and actionable tool.

Getting past the noise
As a fleet professional it is important to position yourself to understand available data and information and how to analyze it (or have it analyzed). Collecting data is the first step. It is important to understand an operation’s objectives. Knowing what data is useful and what data contributes to noise is key. Noise is the overwhelming aspect of too much and the wrong type of information. As vocational trucks and equipment have become more complex, it is important to continually educate yourself on the new layers of available data and information and to determine what is important to your organization. It is important to take a global view of your organization’s objectives. Fleet professionals may want to understand the information pertaining to better maintenance practices, while operations may want to look at fleet utilization. One pitfall that must be avoided — if the data collected cannot be managed and understood, it becomes noise, or misunderstood information used improperly to make strategic decisions.

How do you get past the noise? Take a look at the global objectives of the organization and educate yourself, whether through a fleet management partner, manufacturing support or fleet information system provider. Take the identified data as useful and make sure it is analyzed and understood. The last position a fleet professional should be in is to contribute to another layer of noise. Don’t rely on noise, inaccurate or insufficient information.

Using the information to your advantage
Analyzed data is a valuable tool. It can optimize vehicle maintenance (including preventive and predictive maintenance, optimal vehicle design and utilization, and right-sizing your fleet). Additionally, it is crucial to understand when you have unreliable data. It is important to identify and take corrective action. Failure to do so often results in costly outcomes.

The Work Truck Show® 2019
Plan now to attend Work Truck Show, Green Truck Summit and/or Fleet Technical Congress (sessions begin March 5; exhibit hall open March 6–8 in Indianapolis, Indiana). Fleet professionals have the opportunity to examine best practices, talk and learn from other fleet managers, experience emerging commercial vehicle technologies and establish new peer networks. For more information and registration options visit worktruckshow.com/fleets.

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