Fleet Management Guide

Fleet Data Management and Fleet Reporting Explained

According to Peter Drucker, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

Drucker’s assertion applies to fleet management, too.

If you want to improve your fleet operations, you need to have a solid fleet data management and reporting framework. 

With a solid data management plan in place, you can gather and organize information, evaluate your fleet’s performance and set benchmarks.

You can also uncover gaps and inefficiencies, allowing you to strategize and implement remedies so you don’t bleed out profit.

This guide covers why fleet data management and reporting are crucial for your overall business operations.

What is fleet data management?

Fleet data management refers to gathering, organizing, consolidating, analyzing, and reporting all vital information involving fleet operations.

Fleet data management can give you comprehensive and accurate data about your fleet vehicles and related assets.

This helps you make informed decisions to support your operations, including maintenance and resource scheduling and budget forecasting.

Most companies use fleet management software with features that support their fleet data management initiatives. By using the software, their data management processes are modernized and streamlined.

The importance of fleet data management

Proper fleet data management offers many benefits. We’ll categorize these advantages into two categories: operational and strategic benefits.

Operational Benefits

One of the biggest operational advantages of fleet data management is it sets a good foundation for automating many tasks through the fleet management software.

This includes data entry and capturing, consolidation, and reporting to streamline your fleet management analytics.
Other operational benefits of fleet data management include the following:

Optimized information flows 

The bulk of a fleet manager’s job is to provide and exchange data. This includes handling inquiries when dealers, suppliers, or drivers request information.

However, addressing these requests can be time-consuming and take up a lot of effort, especially for large fleets.

To remedy this, fleet managers can be more proactive about sharing their fleet data. They can create knowledge bases, FAQs, and manuals that stakeholders can easily access through a centralized platform.

Essentially, fleet data management aids in automating the distribution of information and content to the right people at the right time.

Streamlined workflows

Manual, repetitive tasks are productivity killers. Not only can they hurt your bottom line, but they can also ruin your team’s work experience.

Using a software with fleet data management features can address this issue since it has automation features.

For example, you can use digital forms that link to your database. Relevant parties can fill out the forms online to expedite the transaction and record keeping process.

This can eliminate manual data entry, ensure accuracy, and make accessing and sharing information a quick and easy process, since everything is stored online.

Smooth enforcement of business targets

With reliable, cloud-based software, you can easily set up reminders, deadlines, and manage your process life cycles anywhere and anytime as long as you have internet access.

Fleet managers can easily reorient the staff towards the fleet management metrics or goals you set out to achieve since the communication channels are centralized through the cloud-based platform.

Strategic benefits

Below are the strategic advantages of effective fleet data management:

You’re equipped to make better decisions

Sound business decisions are backed by data.

Because numbers don’t lie, the pictures they paint about the fleet’s performance are irrefutable and accurate.

For example, companies that use fleet management software with fuel monitoring features can compare their fuel consumption in the previous months or years.

Depending on the trend the numbers show, fleet managers can strategize and make smart decisions to improve the fleet’s fuel consumption performance further.

That’s why having a fleet data management system is an absolute must for companies with commercial fleets. It’s their means to capture, organize, and analyze data.

Without one in place, they can’t make data-driven decisions. They’re stuck deciding based on gut feel, which is a far less reliable foundation for making good decisions.

You can enhance your fleet reporting

Establishing a fleet data management system allows you to connect multiple data points. This gives you more information about the health and performance of your fleet.

For example, you can link data about accidents, fines, and driver safety scores to learn which poor driving habits are causing your company the most harm.

You can create training programs that directly address the poor driving habits you uncovered as you uncover this information.

Because all your data is in a central location, generating reports about your fleet management key performance indicators (KPIs) becomes a lot more convenient.

You can identify savings potential

Through data reporting and analysis, you can uncover how much you spent on fuel, repairs, or maintenance, among other aspects of your fleet operations.

The reports you generate can reveal upticks or spikes in your expenses,

Whether you see a spike or a steady upward trend in your business expense, give it a closer look to learn what caused the increase, then develop a strategy to fix the issue.

Also, when you compare the performance of your commercial vehicles or drivers, it’s easy to spot inefficiencies that contributed to needless expenditure.

Addressing these inefficiencies will reduce your business cost, which then helps you save more.

Essential data for fleet management reporting

You need to track and measure the correct data to run a successful fleet.

After all, not all data are created equal.

Some have a massive impact on the performance of your fleet, while the effect of others is somewhat negligible.

Below are essential data points you need to include in your fleet data management reporting.

Vehicle maintenance records

Your fleet maintenance data contains the information and insights you need to extend the longevity of your vehicles.

For example, a fleet management software can alert you of vehicle fault codes the moment they occur. Not only does the software notify you, but it also keeps a record of the fault codes so managers and drivers can generate reports and analyze them later.

Using the software streamlines and automates your means of capturing vehicle maintenance data.

Other vital fleet maintenance data (or records) you should capture and track includes:

  • Procurement
  • Invoicing
  • Defects
  • Daily checks
  • Warranties
  • Fault codes
  • Job cards
  • Schedules 
  • Rosters
  • Audit reports

Asset tracking documentation

Asset tracking data helps managers monitor the status and productivity of their commercial vehicles.

It shows which vehicles are on standby, currently on the road, under maintenance, etc.

The data you uncover through asset tracking tells you whether your fleet is over or underutilized. This piece of information is crucial since its implications are clear.

If your fleet is underutilized, you’re not using them to their maximum capacity, meaning they can still generate more revenue for the company, but their usage isn’t maximized.

When vehicles are over-utilized, it’s better viewed as a red flag. The vehicles’ chances of experiencing breakdowns and repairs are likely to go up, so fleet managers should double down on their preventive maintenance efforts or balance out their workload.
For comprehensive fleet management reporting, monitor these asset tracking data:

  • Daily rentals
  • Telematics
  • Reallocation
  • Idling
  • Capacity
  • Vehicle make and model
  • Taxes and duties
  • Fuel type
  • Transmission (engine type)
  • Leasing
  • Suppliers
  • Purchasing
  • Odometer readings
  • Areas of operation and routes
  • Breakdown or roadside options
  • Mileage
  • Expected vehicle use
  • Depreciation
  • Emissions information

Safety information

The safety of your drivers and the general motorists should be one of your top priorities.

Track safety-related data, such as rapid acceleration, speeding, distracted driving, hard braking, etc.

Having these pieces of information helps you coach and protect your drivers against road accidents and other potential liabilities that can cost your business thousands of dollars worth of fines or lawsuits.

Here are common types of data to track and analyze to improve the safety of your fleet:

  • Unauthorized vehicle use
  • Driving offenses
  • Fuel fraud
  • Driving style and performance
  • Driver training and qualifications
  • Vehicle condition
  • Driver history and health

Additionally, you should monitor and record finance and fuel data as part of your fleet management processes. This includes:

  • Purchase orders
  • Overhead expenses
  • Fees
  • Budgets
  • Invoicing
  • Fuel transactions
  • Fuel prices
  • Exchange rates (if necessary)
  • Currency fluctuations
  • Fuel purchase options, such as bunkering and fuel cards

When you invest in fleet data management, you set your fleet up for success.

Not only can you get a holistic view of your fleet’s performance, but by analyzing your data, you can develop a roadmap that will take your commercial fleet to the next level.