Managing your fleet using spreadsheets limits your ability to harvest the value of big data surrounding your fleet.
The reliance on spreadsheets for managing fleets is still widespread across organisations – and it’s costly, both financially and operationally.
Fleet management software gives you in-depth understanding of your fleet’s utilisation and peak demand. It provides data on individual journey distances and check-in/check-out times of vehicles across your whole fleet that can be analysed in a myriad of ways to meet your business needs. Not only this, having a fleet software system will also allow you to identify effective vs ineffective journeys.
Through years of market experience and customer engagement, it is apparent that spreadsheets are still widely used across the industry. It is particularly prevalent in smaller-scale fleets where management may be more achievable, en though the opportunity cost is hidden by a lack of visibility and awareness
One of the main benefits that you could be missing out on by not using fleet management software is automated alerts. Automated alerts provide an overview of vehicles approaching their next scheduled maintenance based off the numbers of miles travelled, or that a driver’s licence is due to expire and needs updating. This allows you to proactively manage your fleet and reduce costs.
The costs of having an unlicensed driver using your fleet, or a vehicle that has exceeded its scheduled maintenance interval, can quickly snowball.
If you are managing your fleet via spreadsheets, there is no shortage of ways to assist in rolling up and visualising your key fleet data. But these reports can easily become overwhelming and hard to maintain, they add to the noise in your day-to-day management.
Managing a fleet’s day-to-day operations is a full workload as it stands, let alone trying to pick the key insights from within your reports. Reporting by exception and using your data to automatically generate reports can support your management decisions, allowing you to quickly identify key actionable insights you need to enable effective and cognisant decisions.
Reporting is not usually in the hands of a single individual either. Often there are staff at different levels in the organisation who require different snapshots of fleet operations. Privacy is an important consideration when providing this data to line managers, ensuring they only have visibility of their team, and not the whole organisation. This allows them to make cognisant decisions for their team– something Fleet Management software easily facilitates through multi-level permissions management.
Look beyond the day-to-day reporting and management of your fleet and you will find there is plenty more that can be achieved and managed via a fleet management software. If you are still managing your fleet via spreadsheets, it’s time to explore the operational and cost benefits your organisation will experience through implementing a dedicated solution.
The function of a fleet has changed over the years – much like the role of a fleet manager. No longer is a fleet the sole way of moving staff. Instead, new ideas are helping transport staff members to where they need to be in the most efficient manner possible. Enter Mobility.
Mobility is a new way of thinking about transportation. Looking beyond singular transportation methods to a multimodal, unified, and optimized, end-to-end solution that enables efficient, cost-effective movement from Point A to Point B.
Fleets today are a while away from achieving this end-state of effectively utilizing multi-modal, end-to-end solutions. To begin the journey organizations need a shift in mentality. A focus on moving people from Point A to Point B, rather than the availability and suitability of fleet vehicles, is the key change needed to begin the mobility journey.
Below are three key items to consider as you guide your fleet on its journey of mobility:
Want to know more about what mobility could look like for your fleet and how Smartrak can support you in the journey? Fill in the form below.
Smartrak is exciting to announce its first annual Academy to be held at the Novotel Auckland Airport on the 19th – 21st May 2020.
Smartrak Academy 2020 offers two full days of learning, networking, professional development and insights through workshops, training sessions and interactive group presentations. This inaugural event is designed to ensure attendees walk away with practical information and key outcomes which are relevant and can be immediately applied to their role and organisation.
Watch out for more information and registration details in the coming weeks.
Places are limited, so early expressions of interest are recommended. Any pre-launch expressions of interest can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org and the team will ensure you receive advanced notification of the registration release and any updates.
One of the largest hospitals in New South Wales, St Vincent’s Hospital (SVH) Sydney, was manually managing a fleet of more than 150 vehicles, and over 400 users.
The organisation’s fleet was primarily managed using a paper-based booking system and excel spreadsheets. Within this, they recorded vehicle purchases, fuel costs, and all other associated vehicle costs, which were then allocated to each department. This process made it difficult to meet SVH’s requirements of providing 24x7 access and streamlining operations.
SVH required a solution which would enable it to streamline user access to vehicles, while at the same time measure, monitor, and manage the vehicle fleet; and through that detect under or over-utilised vehicles. In order to facilitate access and improve utilisation, SVH also needed the ability to securely manage vehicle keys on a 24-hour basis. This requirement meant that SVH needed an integrated booking and dispatch system in place, allowing fleet managers to track all their vehicles, monitor usage, and provide users with the ability to easily access keys anytime, day or night.
In order to achieve its goals and following a thorough market review, SVH implemented Smartrak’s intuitive and leading-edge solution, integrating the electronic KeyMaster key management platform. Smartrak’s comprehensive and flexible Pool Booking software allowed SVH to manage and process vehicle bookings, enabling the organisation to manage booking and better understand their booking requirements.
The move from paper-based pool management to Smartrak’s integrated KeyMaster cabinet allowed SVH to have complete access to fleet vehicles, regardless of day or time. By enabling 24x7 accessibility of pool vehicle keys, St Vincent's Hospital streamlined their vehicle reservation process, reduced administrative overhead, and provided greater user access across the organisation. This change substantially reduced the administrative costs associated with vehicle key management and the people dependency that entailed.
SVH reduced its vehicle count by 20 vehicles, representing a 13% decrease in its fleet
Bob Morris, Transport and Fleet Manager for SVH, stated: “Smartrak were selected due to their readiness to customise the system to meet the hospital’s specific requirements. Compared to what we had seen, the Smartrak system appeared to be years ahead of the competition and was very well priced, especially the Key Cabinets.”
He went on to say: “The software brings greater structure and discipline to the process of vehicle bookings, enabling us to better understand and manage booking requirements, identify patterns of vehicle usage, and manage all aspects of our vehicle costs.”
Once Smartrak’s integrated solution was implemented, SVH realised almost immediate benefits. One such example was normalising vehicle usage across the fleet by eliminating excessive use of individual vehicles and spreading use across the fleet. By balancing vehicle utilisation, SVH was able to eliminate situations where some cars travelled significant kilometres while others were rarely used. These changes enabled SVH management to clearly identify underutilised vehicles and provided right-sizing opportunities for the fleet while delivering better service and vehicle availability to users.
Within the first two years of using the Smartrak system, SVH reduced its vehicle count by 20 vehicles, representing a 13% decrease in its fleet, and through this gained a substantial saving in the associated vehicle operating expenditure (approximately $160,000 per annum). Home garaging arrangements have been tightened to discourage non-essential use of vehicles and the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) reporting through the system has freed up significant staff hours.
"We should have done this a lot sooner"
“SVH is extremely pleased with the implementation of the system, and the results and savings have been profound. Smartrak’s willingness to meet our requirements and the effectiveness of the system and its Key Cabinets is more than we could have hoped for. There was initial resistance to changing to a new system, but the subsequent feedback has been very positive, and we should have done this a lot sooner,” stated Bob Morris.
Chances are you are sitting on a goldmine, an untapped resource that could lead to long-term sustainable growth for your organisation. Almost every business these days, yours included no doubt, collects and has access to vast amounts of data. This information is amassed in every department including Finance, Operations, Sales and Marketing, HR, Customer Service, R&D, Manufacturing, Logistics . . . the list goes on. However, the data itself is not the goldmine. The hidden value is the link you make between your strategy and the insights you can derive from your data.
Realising the value of data is a process. The very first step in the process is to determine, clarify, and articulate your strategy. What is it your organisation is ultimately trying to accomplish? And for what purpose? If you are in the local government sector you may be working to create a safe and healthy community. Utilities may be working towards stewardship and sustainability. Whatever your strategy, if everyone in your organisation knows and understands their contribution, you are one step closer to deriving value from your data.
Realising the value of data is a process
The next step in the process is to think about what you, in your role, need to know to make decisions. How might you use data to better understand what’s going on, and where any strategy blockers may exist? Figure out what you want to know, and why, before you start hunting through screeds of reports. Determining up front what you want to know will make your data research and analysis much easier.
Before moving on, it is helpful to understand the power of data. Why is data so important? For a start, it eliminates the questionable practice of decision making by gut instinct. Using data also reduces the chance of introducing a bias to your decision rationale. And finally, research shows that data-driven organisations perform better. According to an Economist survey from 2012, organisations that rely on data more than their competitors, outperform them financially.
So now we understand how data can help, consider which of the following scenarios applied to decision making in your role:
Now consider how you might apply data-based decision making to your fleet, safety, mobility, and field force management activities.
Once you know what you are looking for, you can now determine the best approach to analysing your data. You may have an IT department that can interrogate the data based on your research brief. You may decide to outsource a project. Or, you may choose to work with your suppliers to access data via APIs, reports, or data models.
Unlocking the hidden value of data starts with defining and clarifying your strategy. Aligning your goals to your organisation’s strategy helps you outline what you need to know. And, understanding the value of data and potential use cases provides a framework for prioritising data analysis.
Smartrak welcomes the opportunity to work with you on this, and determine how data could help answer your questions and support your strategy. Contact us to begin the conversation.
Along with providing a high quality and reliable service, a top priority for all energy companies operating in the Australian electricity market is the safety of their staff. Whether your service team are out on a job to repair electrical wiring, install new cables or simply just respond to a customer callout, telematics and GPS fleet tracking solutions can be utilised to not only ensure that workers are safely returned to their families but also to cut down on company expenses and increase customer satisfaction.
Whilst the primary mission of energy companies is to provide a high quality and reliable service to their customers, it is important to remember that they are also profit-orientated organisations that rely on financial stability to be successful. Telematics provides them with valuable insights into where they could be reducing expenses or raising revenue. For instance, something as simple as drivers logging the start and end times of their jobs not only improves billing accuracy but also means administration workers can dedicate time towards other jobs, as opposed to continuously chasing vehicle data. Furthermore, vehicles that are being tracked by telematics cannot be exploited by employees for personal use, and it also stops them from taking advantage of company fuel cards.
The size of vehicles and equipment used by electricity companies means that workplace health and safety legislation requires them to have processes in place that manage the safety of workers. When the associated dangers of working with live electricity are combined with the alarming fact that 65% of Australian work fatalities involve a vehicle, it is easy to see why these laws are in place. Through telematics, managers have the opportunity to address safety concerns before they have the potential to turn into a serious injury or fatality.
On top of significantly cutting costs and improving safety standards, utilising telematics can also substantially raise an energy company’s productivity levels. Simple things, such as being able to instantly calculate the most efficient route for workers to travel to jobs, ensure that they are able to complete the maximum number of jobs in a working day. On top of the benefits associated with automatic route tracking, telematics solutions also automate vehicle maintenance scheduling, which reduces the number of vehicle break downs, ensuring that the optimum number of workers are on the road at any given time.
Along with providing a high quality and reliable service, a top priority for all energy companies operating in the Australian electricity market is the safety of their staff. Whether your service team are out on a job to repair electrical wiring, install new cables or simply just respond to a customer callout, telematics can be utilised to not only ensure that workers are safely returned to their families but also to cut down on company expenses and increase customer satisfaction.
Tracking Dispersed Staff
Knowing where your people are at any one time may be a mandatory health and safety requirement, or a convenient operational advantage. Either way, management best-practice dictates that knowing where remote staff are, and that they are safe and contactable is important.
Depending on where they are going, what they are doing, and their risk profile, you are likely to need a communications and tracking solution to help manage their health and safety requirements. And you are just as likely to have operational necessities that depend on very much the same capabilities.
For either scenario, there are several options that could be considered:
These options allow for a range of assurances from direct communication and updates of their current status, to alerting of any situations that might arise in real-time, and finally gaining an insight into the regions and the relative risks they may be currently operating in.
Tracking Dispersed Assets
Tracking dispersed assets is also important from a management and operational best practice perspective, particularly as they are generally mobile, and frequently move from site to site. They represent considerable capital value, and at times are critical to operations. So, losing access to them, either through theft or because the asset’s location can’t be ascertained, can be costly from a productivity and operational focus.
Reacting to Significant Events / Disasters
Central to the management of your staff and assets is your ability to react during significant events or disasters. Within New Zealand earthquakes are a regular occurrence, and in Australia, it’s the bushfire and flood seasons that are major considerations. On both sides of the Tasman, there are pressing requirements to ensure organisations are able to effectively and quickly locate and manage dispersed people and assets during times of major disruption.
When these events strike, ask yourself how you are going to quickly locate specific assets such as trailers, diggers, generators and containers to meet critical timelines on high-value projects. And how you are going to ensure the safety of your people.
Ensuring work is undertaken
For a large contracting organisation reporting on ‘proof of activity’ helps to ensure that contracted services are undertaken at the right time and in the right place, and using the capability of geofences is one of the most effective ways to support this. Two examples of geofences being used in such a way are where a mower is required to maintain a particular area regularly, or ensuring that a sprayer actively avoids spraying in a particular protected area (such as where there is organic farming).
Additionally, knowing the time a staff member arrived or left a client site by vehicle may assist with queries around billing, and provide evidence of whether or not contractual commitments are being met.
Having quality, accessible information also puts you in a position to implement improvements and add value to your relationship with the client.
Everything in one interface
Organisations now have access to a single management platform that provides real-time visibility and tracking across multiple operational factors:
Further enhancing this value are reporting functions that mesh favourable outcomes in health and safety with the operational considerations of organisations. By centralising all this data within a single platform, you aren’t limited to focusing on just health and safety or the productivity aspects when reporting. Instead, you’re able to cross-functionally track and measure productivity and safety across your entire organisation, including all fleet assets and lone workers in a comprehensive solution.
Tracking and managing your dispersed staff and assets don’t need to be a difficult task. With the appropriate technology implemented to support you in visualising and reporting on the operation and condition of your staff and assets, you’ll have a better understanding of their productivity, and be able to identify new opportunities to make changes and improvements.
People are the most important asset in any organisation and ensuring everyone gets home healthy and safe at the end of each day is paramount. In order to do this, it is vital that every organisation is committed to building a health and safety culture that reinforces health and safety is everyone’s responsibility. Achieving this type of culture isn’t determined by a single factor and it requires a combination of strong leadership, a supportive environment and positive behaviour.
An organisation’s health and safety culture starts with its leaders. Their words and actions create the framework of acceptable behaviour and form the foundation of an organisation’s culture. Leading by example and considering health and safety in business planning and decision-making sets clear expectations for the rest of the organisation. Leaders have the opportunity to introduce organisational KPIs and measures that can drive the correct culture, and by ensuring they are complementary to financial measures, illustrate the organisation’s commitment to, and value of, health and safety.
Leaders also carry the responsibility of ensuring the workplace environment supports a positive health and safety culture. They need to be fair, reasonable, and consistent in responding to health and safety events, and also recognise and encourage behaviour that promotes safety.
Organisations that are committed to creating a positive health and safety culture surround their employees with an environment that supports safety-conscious decision making. This environment involves having the right physical setting and equipment to get the job done safely, and supports this with strong policies and well-considered procedures.
Policies and procedures should clearly outline what is required from employees, how they will be monitored and what the consequences are if policies aren’t followed. These policies and procedures should also be monitored, reviewed, and refined on an ongoing basis to ensure they continue to be fit-for-purpose. These measures will create an environment in which everyone understands what is required, ensuring that health and safety becomes part of the organisation’s fabric.
Strong leadership with the right environment can only take an organisation so far in creating an effective health and safety culture. These two factors need to be reinforced by the right behaviour across all levels of the organisation. ‘Behaviour’ means taking ownership and accountability of individual actions and the actions observed in others.
Workers can become complacent, as health and safety isn’t always at the forefront of an employee’s mind when completing daily tasks. Therefore, worker engagement is an important part of establishing a positive health and safety culture. Encouraging staff to use their experience and expertise to identify problems, and be involved in the solution and shaping of policies and procedures raises the awareness of hazards and improves the chances of policies being adopted.
Employees also need to be kept up-to-date, encouraged to adhere to company policies, and seek to fill any gaps in their understanding. Management should ask staff to speak openly about health and safety, and provide ongoing opportunities for them to raise any concerns and provide feedback.
Building a Health and Safety culture takes time and effort, but by focusing on leadership, environment, and behaviour it is achievable and worthwhile.
If energy companies do not manage the dangers of electricity properly it can cause serious injury or death to their workers. The risks of working with electricity are real and not enough is being done to reduce these risks, as on average 11 people are still dying each year because they came into contact with electricity. Alarmingly for power companies, 87% of the 142 workers who lost their lives between 2003 and 2015 died from electrocution while installing electrical infrastructure.
For the risks associated with working around electricity to be significantly reduced, electricity must be carefully controlled, and energy company workers need to be educated on the control measures put in place.
Risks Associated with Electricity
The likelihood of a worker being seriously injured or killed while working with electricity is generally linked to the working environment, and how electricity is being used. There is a greater danger of working with electricity if the work is outdoors – this is due to the increased chance of equipment becoming wet or damaged.
Workers who operate in electrical environments or with electrical equipment also face far greater risk when working alone or in a rural or remote location. The ability to act immediately and get medical assistance as soon as possible after someone has been electrocuted can have a significant influence over the long-term health outcomes for the victim.
What can be done?
Luckily, advances in technology over the past decade have resulted in a number of solutions to minimise the risks to workers who are alone or in dangerous or rural locations. Telematics have played a significant role in these developments as they have allowed organisations to constantly track the exact location of their workers. On top of being able to track the live location of their staff, technology progression has seen the development of specialised lone worker safety solutions, which allow them to instantly alert their company headquarters and notify them if urgent assistance is required.
The development of safety and tracking solutions such as these has had a very positive impact on all utility workers, but particularly those facing the dangers of electricity. Not only do these developments improve the safety of current workers, but they also serve to attract highly skilled workers to the organisations with these safety solutions in place.