Looking at the past collected data can help fleets save money. - Photo: Work Truck/Mike Albert

Looking at the past collected data can help fleets save money.

Photo: Work Truck/Mike Albert

In 2023, data has become one of the business world's most valuable assets. Not only does it provide organizations with a better way to understand their customers, but it also has the power to reveal insights and trends to inform critical strategic decisions.

Oceans of data are being created across every industry, and the most successful organizations have realized that all that information can (and should) be used to power predictive analytics — the art of looking at past data to predict future trends and outcomes — to make the best decisions for their business.  

This is especially true for those of us in the fleet management world, where there is plenty of information to collect, analyze, and incorporate into an overarching business strategy.

Indeed, with the right information, predictive analytics can help reduce your fleet expenses, extend the life of your vehicles, improve your drivers’ safety, and optimize your fleet operations.

Here are some significant ways that predictive analytics can transform your fleet.

Optimizing Maintenance & Vehicle Health to Avoid Failures

Optimizing your fleet’s maintenance strategy is one of the most common ways to harness the power of predictive analytics.

Looking at the past data collected by your vehicles can reveal trends regarding:

  • Maintenance costs.
  • Typical time of tuning or replacing specific parts or systems.
  • Which vehicle makes and models have required significant repairs at a specific mileage.

Imagine being able to predict exactly when your vehicles will start breaking down. This valuable insight pinpoints when to take specific proactive measures that will mitigate adverse outcomes and enhance favorable ones.

By planning your fleet’s preventive maintenance and vehicle replacement cycle strategy around this data, you can avoid catastrophic mechanical failures that might put your drivers at risk (not to mention cost your business money).

You can also use this information to extend the life of your fleet vehicles — something that has become more important than ever as the industry grapples with ongoing vehicle shortages.

Predictive analytics can help reduce fleet expenses, and extend the life of vehicles. - Photo: Work Truck

Predictive analytics can help reduce fleet expenses, and extend the life of vehicles.

Photo: Work Truck

Making Driver Behavior & Safety a Top Priority

Driver safety is a top priority for any fleet, and predictive analytics can go a long way in protecting your drivers, vehicles, and business assets.

Collecting data on driver behaviors like speeding and harsh braking, the number of accidents per mile driven, and the circumstances leading up to accidents can help you decide which drivers to hire, what safety measures need to be implemented or revisited, and insurance coverage.

One of my clients determined that most accidents occurred when their drivers rear-ended another vehicle, typically while looking at a cell phone. Based on this historical data, the organization installed in-cabin cameras in their fleet vehicles to ensure drivers weren’t multi-tasking behind the wheel.

The results speak for themselves. Shortly after that, their accident average went from three rear-end accidents a month to zero — all thanks to predictive analytics. As a bonus, they negotiated new insurance rates due to their lower accident numbers.

Leveraging Predictive Analytics for Strategic Fleet Planning

Growing your fleet or acquiring a business can be a huge undertaking, so don’t discount the value of predictive analytics in strategic fleet planning.

If your organization acquires and integrates another company’s fleet, analyzing the “new” fleet data can help you determine critical factors that inform your strategy.

To make the most of this new information, dig into things like:

  • The estimated total operating costs of the combined fleet.
  • Updated profit potentials.
  • The best way to right-size the fleet for your business.

Drive Business Success with Automated Fleet Analysis

You might be reading this and thinking, “I don’t have the time to do this — I’m busy running my company and can’t afford to spend my day digging through spreadsheets about my fleet.” 

The good news is that a lot of predictive analytics can be automated. With the right systems in place to capture and compile all of your fleet information, the right fleet management partner can handle the data analysis for you and provide recommendations.

With predictive analytics, you can go from putting out the fires to making sure there’s never one in the first place. This proactive approach to your fleet will save you time and money while ensuring your fleet is always on the road taking care of your clients.

The world of fleet management is all about data — and with predictive analytics, you can more efficiently turn that data into the insights you need to make proactive decisions that improve your fleet’s operations.

About the Author: Brent Pietroski, director of client partnerships at Mike Albert Fleet Solutions, helps fleet owners develop and implement long-term strategies that leverage benchmarking data and key industry insights. This article was authored and edited according to WT editorial standards and style. Opinions expressed may not reflect that of WT.