What are the top five ways to future-proof your fleet? Find out in this week's episode of The Fleet FYIs Podcast by Utilimarc.
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Gretchen Reese (00:19):
Welcome to the Fleet FYIs podcast, the weekly podcast by Utilimarc that reveals how you can make the most of your data for smarter fleet management. My name is Gretchen, and every week I'll be sharing with you not only over two decades worth of data insights, but some of the industry's hottest talking points and key metric analysis with the aim to help you better understand your fleet from every angle.
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Hello, everyone. Welcome back to a new season of the Fleet FYIs podcast. We are in our fourth season in 2023, and I couldn't be more excited to bring to you guys another season full of tips, tricks, and automotive cool stuff in terms of technology, fuel, science, sustainability, and so much more. I'm super thrilled to be back for a fourth season, and over the last couple of weeks, as we tend to do with New Years, I've been thinking and reflecting over 2022 and how I'm moving myself and my own objectives into 2023. And it got me thinking, because we all tend to do this with personal objectives, career objectives, goals that you have, resolutions you want to make. And I'm curious how many of you have been doing that as well? How many of you've been writing down your New Year's resolutions in a little notepad or in a notes file on your computer and seeing what you can tick off by month three or month six or month nine?
I'd love to hear if you guys are doing the same, but my point is, is that the new year, the start of a new year, it brings a new set of objectives and reflection on the previous year's goals, metrics, whatever it may be for you. And that's true for fleet managers, that's true for all folks in the automotive industry, or even in fleet in general. I guess my question here for you today is, did your fleet perform as you hoped it would? Did you have what you needed to work towards your goals for 2023? What about looking towards long-term success? Did you have everything you need in order to report correctly on that? For some, I think it seems really easy to work with goals regarding the immediate future. I'm one of those people, being able to see big picture and how it affects your short term, but also the long term in that sense.
But I think for a lot of folks, especially in automotive, it's really easy to focus on the short-term immediate future because say, for example, if you cut fuel costs in the first quarter, if you slash emissions by the end of the year, you could be well on your way to achieving your sustainability targets for 2024 or even 2025. But what if your fleet strategy could set you up for success both today and years down the road? That's the goal here, right? The idea is being able to future-proof all of your actions, your reports, your analyses, being able to all in all future-proof your fleet. And I wanted to touch on today what exactly that means, the technology that potentially might be helpful or useful, and also just ways that you can start today rather than starting tomorrow.
So let's start with why we should even care about future-proofing in general. So whilst most of your goals right now probably center around 2023, setting up your organization for long-term success never really hurt anyone, right? If there's anything that we learned in the past few years, it's that change is constant and it's also inevitable. Whether they be industry matters such as mass vehicle shortages, updates of vehicles and technologies within your fleet, changing global socionomic situations and so on, a future-proofed fleet is one that's prepared from the start to adapt to these changes and to be able to grow alongside of them rather than be reactive and try to figure out how to navigate it once they're in the situation itself. One tool that can really help with trying to figure out navigate this future-proofing process is business intelligence. It's a great tool to help fleets prepare for these changes and create a forward-thinking fleet management strategy. And also, by using your fleet's various data sources, fleet managers are able to use custom reports and data visualizations to identify cost-saving opportunities and boost operational efficiency.
So I wanted to talk about how business intelligence can help you future-proof. We've touched on why it's important, but here's how it can actually help you, which I think is always a good thing to know when you're looking at potentially integrating new technology into your fleet. One thing that I think every fleet manager really should know is that business intelligence can be one of their greatest tools in reaching 2023 and so on and so forth, the objectives associated with all the following years. And with all of their fleet data sources streamlined into one space, the custom reports and data visualizations make it very easy to quickly identify how your operations can be optimized. You're able to firstly create a benchmark for your own success. Knowing where you stand can provide valuable insight for your fleet when it comes to identifying weak spots and knowing which areas need improvement. And it can be tricky to know if your fleet is performing relatively well, if you don't know how your industry peers are doing.
That's first and foremost. So not only are you able to benchmark against yourself, but also against your industry peers or competitors. Benchmarking your fleet data also ensures that your fleet is performing up to the industry standard and it's able to set baselines for your own performance down the line. This is where the being able to benchmark against yourself as well as your industry peers really comes in handy. It's also a very powerful tool for showing stakeholders your fleet's year-over-year growth going forward, or trends towards achieving your goals.
You're also able, secondly here, to be able to right-size your fleet. So right-sizing efforts, and what I mean by this is ensuring that your fleet is the right size, but also has the correct amount of assets in each territory area to be able to service your clientele to the best of its ability. It can make a huge impact when it comes to lowering fleet costs and reducing waste.Oftentimes, fleets are unaware that their underutilized assets or eating away at budget without making up for it in day-to-day operations. And instead, fleet managers could actually get rid of excess vehicles and optimize vehicle usage for better efficiency. Or instead of getting rid of them, they could move them to a yard where they could be better utilized within the same fleet. And these efforts also promote fleet longevity by keeping your fleet optimized and efficient whilst reducing unnecessary costs and wastage.
Now, a third way that business intelligence really helps with future-proofing your fleet is by implementing sustainability goals. In today's reality, sustainability and future-proofing go hand in hand. There's no skirting around that idea anymore, at least I don't think. And this is coming from a full perspective of sustainability. It's not just green vehicle is just green fuel. It's the full perspective of you need to be around in the future to be able to have your company still have success. So you need to be around, you need to be profitable, and then you also need to be able to provide your customers with the types of technology they're looking for, whether that is green fuel or internal combustion, so on and so forth.
But my point is, is that both ideas are concerned with protecting the well-being and success of your fleet, not only today, but for decades down the line. Investing in sustainability is a smart play when you're looking out for your fleet's future success. And the better prepared that fleets are for the inevitable transition towards a cleaner technology or different types of fuels, the more seamless changeover will be. This readiness will actually prepare your fleet for the future, reducing the downtime again that you would face in the midst of transition, keeping you proactive rather than reactive.
Now, another way that this also can work, so the fourth way that business intelligence helps with future-proofing your fleet is that it can keep your drivers safe. What I mean by this is that you're able to more fully enforce driver safety with accurate safety reporting and coaching reinforcement. It's a great way to future-proof and to be able to ensure that your fleet is better off down the line. You may consider your vehicles are your highest value assets, but I would actually argue that the people behind the wheel of those vehicles every single day play an even greater role in your fleet success and your overall organizational success as well. Using business intelligence, you can actually track key safety events and score your drivers based on their driving performance itself. These insights then give you the power to be able to make database decisions such as increasing driver safety training, or even potentially coaching your drivers that might need a little bit more help than previously thought.
Now, one of the last ways that business intelligence can really help you future-proof your fleet, and of course, this is not an exhaustive list, it is just a list of the top five ways, but the last on today's list is preventative maintenance. Now, when I say preventative maintenance, I'm talking about the routine preventative maintenance that is done as a way to look out for the future of your fleet to maintain all of your vehicles and all of your assets to ensure that they are in tip-top shape. Routine maintenance checkups to help diagnose potential mechanical errors before they become major problems, preventing lengthy vehicle downtime that can affect fleet operations, all of that is a key part to being able to ensure that all of your operations are running smoothly and they're running on time and they're still profitable. Keeping your vehicles up to date on maintenance also improves the lifespan of your assets, which ultimately maximizes their profitability and their productivity in the long run.
So all in all, what I really want to stress to you today is that I don't want you to go into your New Year's strategy with blind objectives. Business intelligence, or whatever data management tool that you're using, it can really help empower you to confidently address inefficiencies and missed opportunities using your own data, which is a great point to be able to actually harness and access because sometimes you're working on manufacturer data rather than your own, but having your own data is such a powerful tool in itself, and it can help you down the road to create a fully optimized fleet.
Now, I want to hear from you, do you have any questions about business intelligence? Do you have any questions about season four for Fleet FYIs, what it means for the show, how it might change, how it might look a little different? Let me know any questions you have. I'm looking forward to chatting with you all again because I haven't for a couple of weeks. You can send me an email. You can tag me on LinkedIn. You can use the hashtag #UtilimarcFleetFYIs, or you can send me a carrier pigeon if you really feel like it. You know how much I'm fond of those. Anyways, that's all from me today. I will chat to you again next week on Friday. Ciao.
Hey, there, it's me again. I think it's time to cue the virtual high five because you've just finished listening to another episode of the Fleet FYIs podcast. If you're already wanting more on all things fleet and vehicle technology, head over to util-marc.com, which is Utilimarc with a C, U-T-I-L-I-M-A-R-C.com for this episode's show notes and extra insights coming straight from our analyst to you. That's all from me this week, so until next time, I'll catch you later.