4 ways fleet data can counter management challenges & speed up project completion
by Chris Ransom
March 7, 2019

General contractors understand the importance of job completion rates in both the office and the field, but a number of factors can slow down job completion, including addressing changes following inspections, obtaining permits, waiting on special orders and experiencing weather-related supply delays. While a skilled workforce and solid management help overcome these challenges, data mining and utilization speed up job completion even further.

In fact, the use of data can help improve routing, communication between office staff and field workers, and driver behavior—all of which correlate with job completion. And to improve job completion rates, construction companies need greater access to near real-time data, but they also need to measure, report and analyze the data as it relates to business management challenges—all of which can be achieved through the use of fleet management software.

1. Enhance Routing

With fleet management software, businesses are able to access a vehicle’s history and more easily monitor and manage an entire mobile workforce. The use of this data can help businesses overcome poor routing, which hurts workforce utilization, increases fuel costs, puts more wear and tear on fleets and, as a result, negatively impacts job completion time. If contractors do not use the most direct route between jobsites, it can mean more time spent in transit and less time spent performing billable work that contributes to better job completion speed.

2. Strengthen Communication & Visibility

Access to near real-time and historical data allows fleet managers a 360-degree view of the business, which is a crucial perspective when it comes to improving customer service. “Fleet Connections 2018: The Data-Driven Fleet,” a recent report completed by business research firm Aberdeen, delved into the impact of fleet management software on driver behavior and operational efficiency in field service businesses, revealing that companies using field service and fleet management software see a 33 percent greater workforce utilization rate than companies that do not.

After implementing fleet management software, more than half of the businesses surveyed in the report saw improved customer service—a critical key performance indicator in today’s competitive landscape.

3. Improve Driver Behavior

Speeding, idling and harsh driving are behaviors that can waste fuel and decrease truck longevity, impacting business performance, equipment effectiveness and job completion over time. Fleet management software adds additional visibility into these behaviors.

Within Aberdeen’s study, is also an analysis of more than 27,000 vehicles, which found companies that actively measure fleet performance see improvements in driver behavior, improving efficiency, profitability and safety. And, companies that view reports on driver behavior see a 71-percent improvement in speeding and a 29-percent improvement in idling after the first month of the software’s implementation.

In addition, the study found that 12 percent of vehicles experience an increase in miles driven between harsh-driving incident alerts in the first month following software implementation. And 38 percent of businesses see an increase in miles driven between harsh-driving incident alerts in the second month.

4. Beef Up Business Management

Indiana-based provider of sand and gravel for commercial and residential projects Gravel Conveyors Inc. (GCI) is already using near real-time data to improve job completion, efficiency and overall business management. Before implementing fleet management software, GCI used to make several phone calls between drivers in the field and management personnel in the office. 

Today, GCI tracks its trucks in near real-time on a variety of devices, helping cut down on the number of calls between the field and the office. Through better business management, fleet management software can help improve job completion rates. And faster job completion rates aid construction companies in meeting and exceeding customer demands (e.g., GCI can now complete a project, that used to take two weeks, in a single afternoon).

Today, innovative fleet management software is more than just dots on a map. With additional processing power, fleet managers can look at multiple data sources to gain bigger samples or correlate different data sets to provide more detailed information. However, using the software and generating multiple data points are not the sole solution for improved job completion.

Managers must also have access to the data, put the data in conversation with other data points and, most importantly, incorporate the data into measurement and reporting. For example, with fleet management software data, GCI tracks how much time its drivers spend driving on the road and off-road working. The company then reviews and shares this data with its accountants to evaluate the time spent off-road, allowing easy and accurate aggregation of the necessary numbers to apply for tax rebates related to off-road fuel usage—saving CGI $90,000 last tax season.

Actionable data, like time spent off-road working, can give contractors the power to transform their operations and inform their business management decisions. There is seemingly no limit to what data can be collected, correlated and analyzed to help improve how a business is run.

Near real-time data provided by fleet management software is changing the way companies in and beyond the construction industry are making decisions. And, in today’s on-the-go, connected world, now is the time to invest in data-mining technologies.