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For Better Fleet Management, Manage by Exception

  • June 17, 2021
  • Bill Westerman
  • Reading Time: 3 minutes
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Image of grey arrows pointing in one direction and a yellow arrow pointing in the other to illustrate concept of exception A fleet management tool such as CalAmp iOn makes it easy to manage by exception. (Credit: iStock/welcomeinside.)

Fleet telematics data is essential to effective fleet management. But too much data is paralyzing. A fleet manager bombarded with reports and alerts can end up missing real problems that require attention.

The answer is managing by exception. By focusing on outlier information, fleet managers can stay on top of critical issues without spending hours plowing through reports at the expense of completing other tasks.

Was a vehicle’s ignition turned on at 2 a.m.? Did a driver exit a geofence unexpectedly, blow past the speed limit or idle for an egregiously long period? Chances are, you’ll want to know.

A fleet management solution that offers the ability to generate exception reports (or filter reports by exception) and set custom alerts makes it simple to manage by exception.

Decide which reports you want to generate, then establish a cadence for reviewing them. It may not pay to review idle reports daily or weekly, for instance, but if you review them monthly, drivers will realize someone is watching. Reports can be scheduled according to your desired frequency and sent to any number of managers so the manager who needs the information gets it.

Alerts sent via text or email allow you to react in real time to more urgent issues — but a barrage of alerts can be distracting. If you’re suffering from alert overload, set a higher alert threshold. For example, if your company’s idling limit is 10 minutes, set an alert threshold of 15 or 20 minutes. If you can overlook speeding by 10 mph, set an alert threshold of 15 mph over the speed limit. Rely on reports for more granular analysis of data when your schedule allows.

Every organization’s priorities are different, but here are examples of exception reports and alerts that many fleets find valuable.

Speeding. Get alerted in real time to the most extreme offenses, or review offenses in an exception report. In addition to speeding, other signs of aggressive driving you can track through exception reports or alerts include excessive braking, fast acceleration and hard cornering. These may indicate that a driver needs additional training.

Geofence breaches. Your company may have a list of places drivers aren’t supposed to go, such as the local casino. Or perhaps drivers are not permitted to take vehicles out of the county or state. Create a geofence to mark these borders. View geofence breaches in reports, or set an alert so you can be notified in real time of breaches that merit immediate action.

Long idle. Each minute of unnecessary idling wastes fuel, enlarges your fleet’s carbon footprint and increases maintenance costs. In addition, long idling could indicate unproductive man-hours. Look at idle reports and filter by exception, or set up an alert for the most flagrant policy violations.

Long stop. Does an employee tend to go home for lunch and stay there for hours?Has a police cruiser or other municipal vehicle been stopped for an unusually long time? Long stop exception reports and alerts can inform you of issues and potential trouble.

Fuel card usage. Who has time to look at fuel card purchases regularly? Instead, to check for fuel card abuses, look for variances from expected figures. CalAmp iOn™ integrates with WEX fuel card data to show you high-price purchases, purchases that exceed the vehicle’s tank capacity, mismatches between the vehicle type and the fuel purchased and discrepancies between where the purchase was made and the location of the vehicle at the time of purchase.

Ignition on/off. Set an “ignition on” alert for non-business hours and you’ll have a leg up on stopping a thief and/or recovering the asset if a vehicle is stolen.

Utilization. Over-used vehicles may indicate that you need more vehicles of that type. Under-utilized vehicles waste money. If a vehicle’s usage is truly low, you may not need it in your fleet. If you choose to keep it, you may want to move it periodically to prevent flat spots in the tires and drive it regularly for the sake of the battery and other components. To see your most under- and over-utilized vehicles, simply run a utilization report and sort from highest to lowest.

When exception reports and alerts reveal problems or issues, you can take meaningful action, whether it’s buying or selling vehicles to right-size your fleet, investigating potential theft of vehicles or fuel, providing consequences for drivers who fail to comply with company policies or rewarding your most compliant drivers.

When you manage by exception, you focus on the data that really matters, which lets you work more intelligently and efficiently. Acting on data anomalies is a smart way to maximize fleet performance and safety and help your organization thrive.

A host of reports, alerts and API integrations make it easy for CalAmp iOn™ users to manage by exception. Click here to learn more about the all-new CalAmp iOn™ user experience and features.

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