Cost containment is a top priority for fleet managers and executive management, according to a recent survey conducted by GE Capital Fleet Services. Almost half (48 percent) of the survey respondents said cost savings is C-level executives' main focus for fleet management in 2010 versus 36 percent from a 2009 survey.

Of the 75 fleet managers polled at the annual NAFA Institute & Expo in Detroit, respondents chose cost savings and driver safety as the top two issues they will focus on throughout the remainder of 2010. Specifically, 36 percent found meeting the company's goals for cost savings to be the highest priority (up from 28 percent in 2009), while 21 percent were most concerned about driver safety (up from 12 percent in 2009).

"As we emerge from the downturn, companies continue to be strategic about their fleets while remaining attentive to costs and working to improve overall fleet efficiency," said Clarence Nunn, CEO of GE Capital Fleet Services. "With today's advanced fleet management tools and services such as telematics and data analytics, fleet managers are able to help their company reach financial and operational goals."

In order to reach cost and operational efficiency goals, fleet managers are turning to fleet management analytics. When asked in which areas analytics helped their companies the most, respondents were split. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed said operational efficiency of the fleet had improved through the use of analytics, while 32 percent indicated that analytics helped their company with cost savings. Third on the list was purchasing decisions followed by compliance.

Consistent with last year's survey results, fleet managers said real-time asset data such as miles driven and fuel consumption are the most important metrics for managing their fleets. Twenty-one percent of fleet managers surveyed selected workforce productivity metrics, such as jobs per day, travel time and deliveries per day, as another important data point that allows them most efficiently manage their fleets.