How Baseball Can Improve Fleet Performance

Monday, June 26, 2017 - 17:20
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Renault Kangoo - Hydrogen fleet

The year 2016 was an extraordinary one in sport. Leicester City won the Premier League against all odds and the Chicago Cubs claimed their first Major League Baseball title in 108 years. Both teams’ successes were built through excellent performances on the field, and through sophisticated data analysis off the field – providing a lesson for businesses great and small.

Using data, statistics and analysis has been really championed by ‘America’s pastime’: baseball. The sport has a statistic for everything – it even has its own term for statistical analysis, sabernomics, which was made famous through Moneyball, a film starring Brad Pitt.

Now, Moneyball is used to describe the use of data analysis and a marginal gains philosophy to give an organisation a competitive advantage. It enables organisations to identify trends and new ways to create value that others have overlooked. These small gains, over a period of time add up to make a significant difference. In the film, a Moneyball approach helped the Oakland Athletics, a Northern California-based Major League Baseball team with one of the smallest budgets in the league, compete against the teams with the biggest. But there are lessons in Moneyball for all businesses.

Moneyballing your business

Most companies use data analysis to help make sound business decisions – particularly when it comes to financial management and expenditure. A Moneyball approach involves a deeper dive into data collection and analysis. It involves constantly looking for new insights and metrics to measure.

In the Moneyball world, there are no limits to what can be measured and analysed to make improvements. For businesses with workers out in the field, this approach can be particularly beneficial. It doesn’t matter if a business has one or two people out in the field or if it runs an entire fleet, telematics can help an organisation play Moneyball to create new ways to analyse performance, save costs and improve productivity.


Gain unprecedented visibility

Telematics solutions include location-based technologies that give business owners or managers visibility of where their vehicles are at any given moment. Employees constantly worry when they send employees out to the field – is that person where they need to be? Are they doing what the customer needs them to? Rather than relying on timesheets or reports from a driver at the end of a day, these technologies allow managers to gain real-time updates on job status and give data that can be used to improve performance and keep customers happy. For example, telematics will help managers identify if a driver is stuck in traffic so they can then call ahead to and let the customer know, defusing a potentially volatile situation.

But telematics is not simply about monitoring workers – it has many other uses. Telematics allows employers to analyse how time is spent each day to look for improvements or efficiencies. Managers can more effectively plan routes to account for traffic, how they schedule jobs to avoid peak periods and better manage workloads.  This data-driven approach could even help to schedule more jobs per day. It may not sound like much, but over the course of a year and across several vehicles, it could be a huge boost to a bottom line.  It can also help to keep employees happy and engaged – research from PWC reveals that 26 percent of people who call in sick do so because they were bored with their job. A full workload helps days pass quickly, improve employee morale and reduce absenteeism. Even one day saved through absenteeism can have a noticeable impact on profits.


Reduce costs through improved driver behaviour

Driver behaviour has a big impact on profitability. Speeding, harsh braking, acceleration, weight of load, and engine idling can all be measured using telematics. Having visibility on, and then taking action against these metrics can change a business. For example, a vehicle idling for just 10 minutes per working day, averaged over a year can cost a business almost £60. That’s essentially a free tank of fuel for every vehicle in a business. Similarly, with speeding, every five-mph driven over 65 mph represents a seven percent decreases in fuel efficiency. Telematics helps managers see which of their drivers are accelerating too harshly or speeding, and enable them to address the issue. Managers can also be alerted to inefficient routes or deviations from schedules. The impact this has on the fuel consumption, efficiency and safety is significant. Rolled out across all vehicles, the effect on the bottom line of a business is vast. And these savings can be invested elsewhere in the organisation.

Simply put, Moneyball is a modern take on the old adage – take care of the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. Technology allows businesses to collect and measure data on almost anything. Using data and analysis creates small savings and improvements on a day-to-day level, which have a big impact year-on-year. Savvy businesses are applying this philosophy across their business to turn a well-run operation into a championship winning team.

Many thanks to Paul Miller (Fleetmatics Product Manager) for providing this article.

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