We've all heard the adage that you can't improve what you don't measure. Add in today's economic environment, companies are expected to do more with less and still produce results. At J.T. Davenport & Sons, a wholesale distributor that serves 2,000 convenience stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, we were in need of a way to manage our 50-truck fleet and measure critical fleet operations factors, including fuel economy, idling, speeding, tire wear and driver behavior.
In 2008, we began looking for a way to accurately measure these factors and identify improvements that could be made within the fleet. With J.T. Davenport trucks making 13 to 14 stops a day, there was a lot of down time and stops and starts. And because our drivers want to keep their cabs cool in the summer and warm in the winter, idling time was really adding up.
Our company is also dedicated to maximizing safety, and detailed visibility was the way to achieve that. Fleet managers needed to know which drivers were speeding, not which trucks. Our team had very little insight on which drivers were speeding, such as who was taking 30 minutes or three hours for lunch, and we needed a clear picture of what both drivers and their trucks were doing.
After making the case for an intelligent fleet management solution, the company president gave the green light to purchase fleet management software, which is now in place. We now have the ability to track our fleet's performance in the areas of MPG, idling, driver behavior and more. We also implemented key performance indicators (KPIs) to not only drive fleet performance but also corporate performance. We knew that tying fleet goals and KPIs to the company's goals gives everyone in the organization a clear picture of what success looks like, what is measured and how.
The fleet performance management solution in place also provided the ability to track performance by driver, rather than by vehicle, helping better identify areas of improvement. Knowing that we wanted to track driver performance helped us quickly rule out a solution that tracked only vehicle performance. That, alone, sped up the entire vendor selection process, saving us valuable time and energy and ensuring that we got the right system for the long term.
With KPIs established, we set specific goals for our fleet to leverage the data we receive from our fleet management solution. J.T. Davenport set several KPIs, including fuel costs and safety: a target of five-percent reduction for idle time will help reduce fuel costs and an eight-MPH over the speed limit rule establishes an indicator of excessive speed. We also leverage our solution to track out-of-route mileage and on-time delivery information.
Another step we took to ensure success was an action plan that helped us maximize the technology investment. While we didn't have complete visibility in to our fleet, we roughly knew where our numbers stood so we could track progress and make adjustments where necessary.
Now, thanks to having specific KPIs and the ability to measure driver performance, J.T. Davenport has a clear, accurate and real-time picture of both drivers and their trucks, allowing us to address issues as soon as they arise. The visibility gives us the data we need to target training for the drivers who need it most; for example, those who routinely shift at the incorrect RPM.
It's a good solution, and it's paying off for us. Having a have a wealth of business insight at our fingertips has given us a stellar list of accomplishments to prove the value of our technology investment.
Over the 26 months our fleet performance management system has been in place, our fleet's idle time dropped from 20 to 30 percent to only 3 percent. Speeding dropped from 18 to 20 percent to a negligible 0.2 percent. In the two years since implementing our fleet performance management solution, we've lowered our idling time by 71 percent and our fuel consumption by 64 percent. We also lowered our overall fuel purchases 4.3 percent. And other savings just keep adding up; for example, by better tracking MPG and idling, we saved more than 30,000 gallons of fuel in just one year.
Source: J.T. Davenport & Sons
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