WITH TECHNOLOGY AND DATA AT FLEETS’ DISPOSAL, THE TRICK IS KNOWING WHAT TO DO WITH IT ALL

Technology marches on, bringing new ways for trucking companies to save money on their operations, but nearly half of respondents in a new survey say they are unaware of the savings achieved by incorporating new fleet technologies.

Fleet Advantage, which conducted the online survey presented to more than 500 private and transportation fleet executives and managers, says the findings suggest professionals are unable to sort through the vast amounts of available data in a meaningful way.

“Ever since the recession ended, the industry has gone full-speed ahead in adopting newer technologies to their trucks that in turn provide access to a wealth of data and intelligence, especially as it relates to fuel economy,” says Mike Spence, senior vice president of Fleet Services at Fleet Advantage. “Unfortunately, this survey validates that data has become increasingly voluminous, and many industry professionals do not have the tools to analyze and digest this data that can then be used to make critical decisions for their fleet operations.”

According to the survey, 45% of respondents were unsure of operational savings resulting from the implementation of new technologies to heavy-duty trucks in their fleet. Fleet Advantage says the inability to effectively digest data may also influence whether fleets use a given technology.

For example, there appears to be wide interest in saving fuel. In the survey, 81% said they spec their powertrain for fuel economy instead of performance, and 86% spec their axle/gear ratio for fuel economy. Additionally, 68% said they’ve implemented the utilization of aerodynamic roof fairings to save fuel.

However, roughly a third of respondents said they’ve never used or considered low-rolling resistance tires (34%), aerodynamic mirrors (34%), and aerodynamic cab extenders (34%), and 52% of respondents never used aerodynamic chassis skirts.

Spence says, “Today’s cutting-edge technology is designed to save more fuel than ever, but fleet executives must be able to track their fuel performance and quantify the data in order to realize the cost savings.” As for how to improve the ability to analyze data, Spence tells Fleet Owner fleets should identify the information most important to the company and tackle that first, rather than trying to fix everything overnight. “Acknowledge how that information can help your organization and where the leaks are in your system by gathering how much information you have available. From there, the sky is the limit,” he says.