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Fleet Management

Fleet Reporting: A Guide For Fleet Owners And Managers

Fleet reporting can give owners and managers insight into the inner workings of their business. Learn which metrics to track for the best results.

fleet reporting

Fleet reporting has always been an integral part of vehicle management. And with advancements in essential technologies such as fleet management programs, telematics, and smart fuel card software, the process has never been easier.

Analyzing the data these tools provide can give you the insight and power to manipulate the way your fleet works in order to cut costs, improve efficiency, and boost productivity.

But there is so much data available these days. How can you find the information you need in the sea of numbers?

In this article, we answer that question and discuss how to make fleet reporting work better for everyone involved.

Table Of Contents

Why Is Fleet Reporting Important?

fleet reporting

Fleet activities are a major cost center for most businesses. If those activities aren’t managed correctly, it can cost you thousands of dollars a year depending on the number of vehicles on the road.

That’s why it’s important to take the time to analyze the metrics flowing in from around your fleet to determine how to improve the workflow. But that can be difficult because there’s often a lot of information to deal with.

Enter fleet reporting.

Fleet reporting gathers relevant data from essential fleet tools — fleet management software, telematics, GPS, electronic logging devices, fuel card software, etc. — and compiles it into a comprehensive picture of fleet performance.

Why is it important?

Because it can help you and your team:

  • Reduce operating costs
  • Optimize maintenance
  • Improve driving habits
  • Boost productivity
  • Improve compliance
  • Make informed decisions

There are many levels to fleet reporting but, at its most basic, it allows you to quickly and easily sift through the mass of data, find the information you need, and bring it front and center for regular use.

Key Metrics To Include In All Fleet Reporting

pumping fuel

1) Fuel Use

Fleet activities are a major cost center. Among those fleet activities, fuel use may very well be the largest expense that your business has to deal with.

Controlling and reducing fuel use throughout an operation can help your business save money, stay on budget, and preserve the bottom line.

To do so, include fuel use as a key metric in all your fleet reporting.

If your finance leaders detect that a vehicle is consuming more fuel than usual, give them the freedom to implement controls that may bring that fuel use down to a more manageable level.

Make it a part of your weekly workflow to analyze data from smart fuel cards, fleet management software, and telematics with an eye toward changing routes, improving driver behavior on the road, and identifying ways to bring fuel-use numbers under tighter control.

2) Fuel Costs

Monitoring fuel costs — i.e., the amount a business is paying for gas and diesel over the course of a specific period of time — is another important metric to include in all fleet reporting.

With fuel cost numbers from smart fuel card software, fleet management software, and telematics, you can take steps to reduce the total amount you’re spending on fleet activities. A good place to start is by comparing your business’s numbers to the industry average.

If your fuel costs are below the industry average, your fleet is likely doing a good job of optimizing routes, keeping vehicles in good repair, and using assets to their full potential.

If your fuel costs are above the industry average, your fleet may need to engage in some cost-cutting measures to bring spending back under control (and under budget).

When considering fuel costs as part of the fleet reporting, don’t overlook the regulations set out by the International Fuel Tax Agreement.

For more information on the IFTA, check out this article from the Coast blog: International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA): Fleet Owner’s Guide.

3) Mileage

Total mileage traveled has a direct bearing on the overall cost of operating your fleet. The more miles a vehicle racks up, the more fuel it uses and the more maintenance it will likely need.

Monitor the mileage for each vehicle using smart fuel card software and telematics to gain insight into how you can utilize business assets to get the job done while keeping costs as low as possible.

4) Driver Behavior

Tracking driver behavior for fleet reporting is largely done through telematics on vehicles themselves.

This core fleet technology can reveal detrimental habits, including:

  • Speeding
  • Extreme variable miles per hour
  • Harsh acceleration
  • Heavy braking
  • Fast cornering
  • Unnecessary idling

If your drivers are exhibiting any of these bad habits, implement a training program that highlights the importance of piloting the vehicle in such a way so as to lower fuel costs, control fuel usage, and reduce the need for expensive repairs.

5) Idle Time

It doesn’t matter if your fleet uses semi trucks, pickup trucks, vans, cars, or a combination of all four — if drivers leave them idling for extended periods of time, total mileage will decrease and fuel costs will increase.

Monitor idle time with telematics as part of the fleet reporting process to avoid this issue entirely.

How can you, your drivers, and fleet managers avoid prolonged idling? By training drivers to make sure they’re ready to go before starting the vehicle.

You can also use GPS software that warns of congested roads along the route, and then encourage drivers to avoid stopped traffic whenever possible.

6) Route Optimization

route optimizations

Efficiency in all fleet activities is essential for keeping costs low. This includes directing vehicles along the best route possible.

To make this easier, collect data from core fleet technologies — including fleet management software, telematics, and fuel card software — and collate it into a single report to help your managers and dispatchers optimize routes for all vehicles.

7) Compliance

The compliance metric measures the extent to which drivers adhere to local, state, and federal laws and regulations (e.g., speed limits and seatbelt use).

To monitor this metric, gather compliance data from fleet management software and include it in your fleet’s reporting process in order to help managers and drivers prevent accidents, reduce costs, fulfill legal obligations, and follow the rules of the road.

Failing to monitor compliance in this way can lead to fines, sidelined assets, and even legal trouble.

8) Hours Of Service

The hours of service metric can help you, your operators, and your mechanics decide when it’s time for a vehicle to undergo preventative maintenance or when it’s time to replace a vehicle for a newer model.

Both of these activities are triggered by total hours of service data (gathered primarily from vehicle telematics software) and can help you identify the true cost of maintaining a vehicle and whether or not it’s exceeding its usefulness.

9) Total Cost Of Ownership

Total Cost Of Ownership (TCO) is an extremely important metric to include in fleet reporting because it can help you understand the true cost of fielding a fleet.

To calculate total cost of ownership, gather data from fleet management software, telematics, fuel card software, and then use the following formula:

Total Cost Of Ownership = Fixed Vehicle Costs + Variable Vehicle Costs

Fixed vehicle costs typically include things like lease payments, insurance, and permits, while variable vehicle costs include things like fuel, tolls, maintenance, and repairs.

This formula can also be used to find the total cost of ownership for an entire fleet. Calculate the TCO for each vehicle independently, and then add those numbers together to find the TCO for the fleet as a whole.

10) Vehicle Cost Per Mile

Another key metric to include in all reporting is Vehicle Cost per Mile (VCM). This is based on Total Cost of Ownership, so it’s important to run that calculation first.

Like Total Cost Of Ownership, Vehicle Cost per Mile is calculated using data from fleet management software, fuel card software, telematics and the following formula:

Vehicle Cost per Mile (for a single vehicle) = Total Cost of Ownership / Total Miles Driven

Once you’ve calculated the VCM for each vehicle, use those numbers to figure out the total VCM and average VCM for the entire fleet.

To determine total VCM for the fleet, add up all the individual VCMs.

So, for example, if your fleet consists of five vehicles with VCMs of $0.80, $1.00, 0.92, $0.75, and $1.15, the calculation would look like this:

Fleet Vehicle Cost per Mile = $0.80 + $1.00 + $0.92 + $0.75 + $1.15
Fleet Vehicle Cost per Mile = $4.62

That’s the total Vehicle Cost per Mile for all the vehicles on the road.

To figure out the average VCM for the fleet, divide the total Vehicle Cost per Mile by the total number of vehicles — in this case, five.

Average Vehicle Cost per Mile = $4.62 / 5
Average Vehicle Cost per Mile = $0.924

With these numbers in hand, you’ll have a benchmark against which to measure any steps you take to reduce costs, implement essential tools, and improve driver behavior on the road.

Incorporating Coast Into Fleet Reporting

Incorporating Coast Into Fleet Reporting

Coast’s fuel and fleet expense reporting features and easy-to-use spend management platform give you full visibility into every dollar your fleet is spending. Coast customers like Leros use Coast for accurate and timely data on fleet costs.

You and your drivers will also enjoy powerful features that can help make all of your jobs easier, including:

To learn more about how Coast can help fleet-based businesses cut costs and run more smoothly and efficiently in the process, visit CoastPay.com today.