When you run a small business like a landscape company, data may not be the first thing on your mind. You’re constantly on the go, managing employees on the road, while trying to meet new clients to give estimates, and filling in on calls when you’re short-staffed.
On top of all that, you need to ensure customers are receiving the best service possible, and that means keeping an eye on the day-to-day schedule and performance of employees as well. Priorities likely include earning new customers, getting jobs done for existing customers, and finding ways to make your business more profitable.
You may think of data as mountains of paperwork and useless facts, but companies of all types are using data to better manage their business — without getting buried in an avalanche of information they don’t need and don’t have the time to sift through.
Many home service companies, including landscaping companies, are relying on the data gathered from GPS-based fleet management systems to help them cut costs, improve overall productivity and grow their businesses.
Fleet management solutions can provide businesses with just the data they need to ensure their operations are running smoothly. It provides them with the answers they need — in real time or over a period of time — to track dozens of key metrics for their business (or just the specific ones they need).
Let’s take a look at some example of fleet management data in action.
Example 1: Your vehicles have more wear and tear, and require more frequent maintenance, than they should. Fleet management can not only help you track maintenance timelines, but can also tell you if a driver is treating the vehicle inappropriately by hard braking and cornering, for example.
Having access to maintenance history at your fingertips can help you spot trends and take appropriate actions. You’ll be able to assess which vehicles are due for which services, check mileage logs from a computer rather than the vehicle itself, and pinpoint issues more quickly.
Example 2: You’re getting complaints that your lawn care crews are arriving late every day. Using fleet management tools to track vehicle routes, stops and starts, and other metrics, you can monitor the routes your employees are taking during their day and make adjustments to optimize their time, rerouting them as needed to help them get to their destinations more quickly.
A fleet management system allows you to reroute drivers on the fly if traffic, accidents, street closures and other headaches impact their route. You can even change the sequence of jobs, and add in additional jobs, from your desktop or your mobile device using a fleet management solution.
Example 3: Your fuel bill this month is 15 percent higher than the previous month, but your overall job load did not increase. Using fleet management systems, you can track vehicle mileage, fuel spend, and other metrics, and compare month to month to track aberrations in fuel spend.
You can also integrate fuel cards with your fleet management system that help you better manage your fuel expenditures. Fleet management solutions provide a host of features that track, monitor and analyze fuel consumption, and you can use that data to improve efficiencies, reduce waste, account for fuel purchases and improve buying behavior. You can answer questions such as:
- Where does my monthly fuel spend stand?
- How does that compare to previous months?
- Is one vehicle performing worse than the others in terms of fuel efficiency?
Example 4: One or more of your drivers have been cited for speeding, following at unsafe distances, accidents or other bad driving behaviors. Even if they aren’t cited, bad driving costs companies thousands of dollars in wasted fuel and increased repair bills.
It also puts your vehicles and equipment in danger, as damage that puts your vehicle out of commission means you’re losing revenue for lost or delayed jobs. Fleet management solutions can provide valuable data on bad driving behaviors as your drivers travel from job to job. You’ll be able to spot trends such as speeding, hard braking, hard cornering, idling and other bad driving behaviors and correct them before they become big problems.
Example 5: Your business operates across lines, and you need to accurately track mileage in each state to comply with International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) regulations. A GPS-based fleet management solution with integrated GPS does the work for you, tracking and calculating mileage and reporting back key metrics that will simplify reporting.
Accessing this kind of data can help you simplify operations and grow your business. GPS-based fleet management solutions can help streamline the work day by letting data do the heavy lifting for you.