Managers seek to recover the losses caused by vehicle breakdowns. But using fleet management software to develop a data-driven approach is more impactful in the long-term.
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Vehicle breakdown (or downtime) – a single problem in fleet management that can be caused by multiple factors and can lead to several disadvantages.
No matter how well maintained a fleet is, vehicles will still malfunction and break down from time to time; they are imperfect machines after all!
Each breakdown costs the fleet managers a lot of time, effort, and money – something they might already be short on! And since these problems will keep happening, why not use them to your advantage somehow? But how is doing that possible?
By adopting a data-driven approach!
In this blog, let us learn how to make the best out of a bad situation!
Why Adopt a Data-driven Approach Regarding Vehicle Breakdown
The whole world is shifting towards data-driven approaches, and so should you if you want your fleet to progress.
“Without big data, you are blind and deaf and in the middle of a freeway.”
— Geoffrey Moore
In this section, let us look at why exactly you need a data-driven approach to make the best out of the instances of vehicle breakdowns.
Major natural calamities in vulnerable areas such as earthquakes in Tokyo and floods in the Konkan region of India are inevitable. Whenever such calamities happen, it is natural for governments to execute rescue operations and take measures to cover for the losses caused.
However, there is something else governments need to do – figure out ways to minimise future damage from these calamities in the future. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to learn about some geographical shortcoming of an area and try to find ways to mitigate them!
Imagine! If people had never tried to protect themselves from future calamities, Japanese houses would still be built without earthquake-proof measures in mind. And the loss of life and property in the current time would be 20x higher!
While fleet management software can help reduce the chances of vehicle breakdowns, they’re still inevitable. These breakdowns incur major losses in the fleet and generally are a huge cause of nuisance and operational disruption.
Therefore, whenever a vehicle breaks down, a responsible fleet manager quickly sends help and optimises operations to reduce overall losses.
However, day after day, vehicles keep breaking down and losses keep collecting. The fleet is not used to its best of capabilities. Therefore, the profit margins remain the same, while the fleet has capabilities to produce much more.
When comparing the situations, the cause and effect are the same. Problem occurs, rescue is sent, and losses are covered for.
However, one thing different in Situation 1 is that the governments try to use the data from the calamities and build strategies that will help reduce the damage in the future, while the fleet manager doesn’t do it and keeps facing the same problem.
So, it is clear as day:
Making up for lost time in case of vehicle breakdowns is obvious. However, it is equally (if not more) important to track why these breakdowns happen to reduce their chances and effects in the future.
This is why a data-driven approach is extremely important to ensure that fleet operations are not only consistent, but even better for improving future profits!
Negative Impacts of Vehicle Breakdowns
Obviously, vehicle breakdowns cost the fleet a little too much. After all, for the duration that your vehicle is down, all your operations also stand still, keeping all profits at a halt. However, do you know that the losses are not just in terms of money or time?
Reiterating our introduction – vehicle breakdown is something that can lead to several disadvantages and too many losses in all segments of the fleet.
Loss of Productivity
This goes without saying, The longer a vehicle experiences downtime, the lower its productivity.
For example, if a vehicle should be running for 8 hours and the manager/driver fixes it in 2 hours, the business only gets 6 hours of productivity. If this happens to 4 vehicles at least once a month, that is the business losing a vehicle’s full day or productivity!
The productivity can also be affected in terms of efficiency. If a vehicle is not in downtime but functioning improperly, the business will still be losing productivity because of low speed, etc.
Vehicle downtime and road accidents walk hand-in-hand. Sudden breakdowns and unplanned downtime can lead to road accidents and road accidents are a cause of vehicle breakdowns.
Old and poorly performing vehicles that are more prone to breakdowns lead to 12.5% of total road accidents in India. It is also not uncommon for accidents to occur due to negligent parked vehicles due to breakdowns.
Road accidents cost a lot of goodwill, money, and time to a business. And the loss is not only just the vehicle, but more often than not, also to the driver, consignment, and the second party involved in the accident. They need to be avoided as much as possible.
The more patchwork on a cloth, the older it looks and weaker it gets, right?
Similarly, the more a vehicle breaks down and needs to be repaired, the more it loses its value. Moreover, assets anyway start depreciating as soon as their parts begin to let loose due to overuse and bad maintenance.
If a vehicle is prone to frequent breakdowns, it will obviously lose its value. And the more a vehicle’s value depreciates, the worse for the fleet’s overall value.
Cost of Goodwill
For someone looking to relocate and wanting to avoid earthquakes, the best approach is to search the web for earthquake prone areas and avoid them. This person will not weed out areas that had ‘that one big earthquake once’ – because that is not a threat. However, they will definitely avoid Tokyo, a place geographically and historically proven to be earthquake prone.
Similarly, if someone wants to work with an effective and safe fleet, they will avoid the ones that have multiple incidents of vehicle breakdowns.
Goodwill is a very strong card to play in the fleet management industry. After all, why would potential customers put their faith in your fleet – one that keeps experiencing downtime?
The monetary costs of vehicle breakdowns are both obvious and an amalgamation of all the above-mentioned issues. Some examples of monetary costs are that a brake pad replacement costs about ₹45000 and takes up 3-5 working days.
By now, you are aware of the reasons and benefits of using a data-driven approach while dealing with vehicle breakdowns. Now in this section let us look at the ways you can make this approach actionable.
Preparing For Analysis
Before taking any action, you need to ensure that you are ready to collect data and make the right analysis. Here are a couple of things you will need:
Sizable Fleet: Some data is better than no data, but bad data is worse than no data.Any size of data can be analysed from your fleet. However, the bigger the data size, the higher the possibilities to find patterns accurately. Make sure that you have at least 10 vehicles in your fleet to beagle to collect sizable data packs.
Hardware: You need some kind of data-collected hardware in your fleet. GPS trackers, OBD sensors, and dashcams are some of the hardware you necessarily need to install in your fleet.
Software: The best tool to collect and organise data from your vehicles is a fleet management software. Once you have it, you can view, sort, and analyse data in whatever way you need.
The Data You Will Need
Here’s some gps software data and reports you should have for the best data collection and analysis in an event of vehicle breakdown.
Basic Vehicle Info: This is the most basic differentiating factor in events of breakdowns – which vehicle was involved. You need a record of the types of vehicles, their model and make, along with the manufacturer. This will help you know if accidents are happening because of a specific vehicle kind.
Locational Information: Collect GPS data regarding where your vehicles were when breakdowns happened. These reports can help you see patterns such as engine heating after a specific stop, issues in one specific geography, etc.
Speed Reports: Collect data on how much speed your vehicles generally have when they are breaking down. Know if these issues arise from speed-related issues or not.
Sensor Reports: Sensor reports such as tyre pressure monitors, cabin thermometers, and engine health detectors are important to understand the inner understanding of the vehicles that might lead to downtime.
Geofence Reports: If you have suspicions regarding one specific area, mark it up and monitor how many accidents or breakdowns are happening there for more informed decisions.
Video Telematics Reports: Know if there are any specific traffic or road conditions that are making your vehicles malfunction. Collect all visual evidence from yourvideo telematics system.
Putting Action to Data
Now that you have all the data collected and organised in your fleet management software, you need to know how to use it.
“Torture the data, and it will confess to anything.”
— Ronald Coase
It is very easy to get lost in the lustre of data manipulation and bad data. Therefore, you always need to know that you are using it the right way. Follow these steps to ensure that you make the best out of your vehicle breakdowns:
Arrange Data: Take all the collected data and arrange them in fine reports, or get it done through a fleet management software. Make sure that you are not using some very vague parameters such as ‘red cars’ or ‘old vehicles’. Make sure that the data arrangement is crisp and relevant.
Find Obvious Patterns: Do not go hunting for reasons, let the reasons find you. Only look for obvious patterns that can be missed without proper data arrangement. For example: You do not need to go into depth and see if all green coloured-vehicles are causing problems if you’ve not been able to find any reasons.
Rationalise: Once you have some patterns, sit with the thought and discuss with your team to see if these reasons do seem relevant and how they can be obviated from your fleet. For example, changing all your drivers with weak eyesight will not be possible, so you’ll have to look for other factors causing breakdowns.
Set Rules: Once all patterns are collected, set the right rules to prevent future breakdowns or reduce their impact. For example, if all your XYZ cards are breaking down uphill, prevent their use in such trips.
Drive a Smarter Fleet With TrackoBit
Data is the new oil for a very specific reason. WIth the right data used in the right place in the right manner, just about any problem can be solved within any industry. At the end of the day, it is important to note that there is scope for improvement and growth through all instances – be them good or bad.
So, if you want to make the best out of any minute your fleet is in operations, you should use a strong fleet management software like TrackoBit! You’ll see your profits skyrocket in no time!
Ayushi Nagalia is a Senior Content Specialist at TrackoBit. She is passionate about music, writing, and reading. When not abusing her keyboard, you will find her lost in her playlists or organizing things.