There are thousands of fleet metrics that can be used to describe a fleet. But which metrics do you need to look at to help you reduce costs and optimize the use of your vehicles? We’ve boiled it down to our top five. Here they are and why we chose them:
#5: Outside rentals and personal mileage reimbursements
Outside rentals and personal mileage reimbursements are often overlooked metrics that can have a huge impact on an organization’s bottom line. One state reportedly reimbursed employees more than $20 million annually for use of personal vehicles for official business. Many times, these expenses are not considered fleet expenses, so they are out of sight, out of mind. But the cost is real, and they can best be managed by communicating and enforcing a strong policy that directs drivers to first choose a shared vehicle rather than their own. For more on curbing personal vehicle usage, download our case study profiling fleets that are slashing personal vehicle costs.
#4: Number of unfulfilled motor pool requests
Counting the number of unfulfilled motor pool requests by vehicle class, by site, and by day is probably the most important metric you can manage if you already operate a motor pool. If fleet drivers are asked to turn in assigned vehicles and use a motor pool, it is critical that you understand how often these pooled vehicles are not available because you did not have the right type of vehicle to meet the driver’s needs. Your automation system should automatically capture this metric and clearly differentiate this type of cancelled vehicle request from other cancellations (e.g. due to no-shows, cancelled trips). This metric can be used to clearly drive a business argument for reallocating vehicles, changing the composition of your fleet (e.g. change vehicle classes) or for acquiring additional vehicles.
#3: Vehicle count
Total vehicle count is the simplest metric to capture and is a good starting point for any right-sizing initiative. Vehicles cost money. Lease costs or maintenance and depreciation costs for standard passenger and light duty vehicles generally average $3,000 - $6,000 annually. When the costs of parking spots, insurance, vehicle branding, administrative overhead, and other items are considered, the cost is even higher. So, it behooves fleet managers to understand exactly how many vehicles are in the fleet. Each one costs money. You can count total vehicles in the fleet, total shared and non-shared vehicles in the fleet, and the ratio of assigned vehicles to shared vehicles.
#2: Vehicle utilization rate by class of vehicle at each site
It is essential to have an understanding of how and when each class of your vehicles are being used. The days of managing only an odometer value are behind us (unless that’s all you have to work with). With a clear understanding of how each class of vehicles are being used, you’ll have a clear understanding of whether there is potential to eliminate vehicles through initiatives such as pooling vehicles or using a more cost effective method of transportation (rather than owning an assigned vehicle). Once you understand how they are used, you’ll know which vehicles are not-in-play, e.g. emergency response, trades vehicles, etc.
What can you count and manage? Utilization rates (%) for each class of vehicle at each site; utilization rates (number of trips) for each class of vehicle at each site; number of idle vehicles for each class of vehicle at each site; number of vehicles unavailable per day due to maintenance activity; maximum vehicles out each day by class at each site.
Tracking utilization for each class and each site is important. By understanding by class, rather than just the total utilization rate of your fleet, you are better able to change the class of vehicles you use over time. And, when you understand utilization by site, you can better shuffle vehicles across locations to meet demand where demand exists.
#1: Vehicle utilization rate of each vehicle
Finally, once you understand overall utilization, it’s time to focus on utilization for specific vehicles. At some point you’ve probably heard, “I don’t think that vehicle has moved in months.” When analyzing the entire fleet or a larger segment of the fleet with one utilization number, problematic vehicles or out-of-play vehicles (e.g. emergency response, required special use vehicles) often skew your utilization statistics. By drilling down to see utilization of each specific vehicle, you can make better decisions about what actions to take.
To learn more about fleet metrics and vehicle utilization, download our ebook, co-authored with NAFA Fleet Management Association: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Fleet Utilization & Achieving the Right-Sized Fleet below.