How to improve vehicle utilization

Every fleet manager would like to achieve 100% asset and vehicle utilization. However, the industry average is only about 50%.

That doesn't mean you can't implement strategic techniques to get as close to 100% as possible. Below are some techniques, but keep in mind that a quality fleet management software solution will help you maximize vehicle utilization. That's because in order to get the most out of your vehicles and assets, they should be connected via a telematics service provider.

How to determine your current vehicle utilization

How to determine your current vehicle utilization

In order to improve, you must measure your current vehicle utilization on a regular basis — it could be daily, weekly, or monthly. Jot down how many days, shifts, or hours your vehicles are in service. (Note: Measurement can be per day, days of the week, or weeks in a month)

Then, look at the three basic elements of vehicle utilization:

  • Driver's available hours of service
  • Customer service require­ments
  • The allowed gross vehicle weight
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But you could also consider:

  • Are your trucks on the road less than full? If so, how often?
  • Are your trucks making unnecessary stops or staying on planned routes?
  • How long is each stop?
  • How many drivers do you employ to meet delivery require­ments?

Vehicle utilization challenges

Vehicle utilization challenges

Customer satis­faction

It can be challenging when your customers only accept deliveries within a certain time frame, but you can use the time wisely. Do you have additional trips or tasks, e.g. backhauls or other customers with more flexible operating hours? Now you have an opportunity to increase vehicle utilization.

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Partially empty trucks

Consider this: Your trucks do not have to operate 24/7 to maximize vehicle usage. If your truck is out all day and must make 20 stops with a 1000-box capacity, but your customers each have 300 boxes, then vehicle utilization is not maximized because your truck goes out partially empty. Maybe you have a smaller trailer with a 315-box capacity that you could deploy instead.

Static routes

Many fleets use static routes, meaning the same route everyday even when some stops don't have any deliveries. This means increasing the miles and hours on route, which is not geograph­i­cally effective or fuel efficient. Route optimization or dynamic routing can help you avoid this and improve vehicle utilization.

Solutions for optimizing vehicle utilization

Solutions for optimizing vehicle utilization

Optimizing your routes each day means looking at all the stops and formatting them in a sequence which will maximize the utilization of vehicles, assets, and drivers. This might sound overwhelming at first, but as mentioned above, a telematics service provider can help you automate vehicle utilization.

A fleet management solution like Webfleet can help you maximize vehicle utilization with more reliable ETAs, limit driving time, maximize the number of stops your driver makes, and improve customer satis­faction. For more information, visit our page on Webfleet workflow management system.

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