A solution is only effective if it is actually able to address and eliminate a problem. Too often vehicle management solutions for fleet managers are a list of strategies and solutions that have worked in the past.
However, by not understanding why they worked or why the specific vehicle management solutions were selected, they are really just ideas that may or may not solve the issue. Too many times fleet managers use this type of “throw everything at the wall” approach to creating solutions. While it may work, it may also cause a host of other problems as well.
The Structured Approach
The first step in solving a problem is to understand the problem. In a fleet it will be important to be able to identify:
- What is the problem? (clear, precise terms that are measurable or quantifiable)
- When does the problem occur? (time, location, mileage, route, etc.)
- Who is involved when the problem occurs? (a particular driver, a manager, a technician, etc.)
- What data can be produced to quantify the problem?
- What data is needed and how can it be obtained?
The key is in defining the problem and then collecting data. There is no value in hypothesizing about a reason or simply making a suggestion to solve it as there is no way to know if it has been fixed in a measurable way.
By getting the data needed most vehicle management solutions will present themselves in a clear picture. Is the fuel economy drop due to a speedy driver, someone using the vehicle for personal use after hours or because of a failure to upgrade and maintain the vehicle?
With the data in place, you can then make suggestions for solutions. They can be creative, or they may be basic, but they will be driven by the data which can also show if the solution is working or if another approach is needed to solve the issue.
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