Truck fleet management: How are my trucks performing in the market?

Adam RobinsonFreight Market Blog

truck fleet management

Truck fleet management has always been intensely focused on knowledge of the freight market. Knowing how supply and demand fluctuations go and responding accurately remain keys to growth and success. By using strong management and analysis processes, supply chains can maximize value and stay competitive. Knowing how fleets operate day in and day out will help provide a clear picture of efficiencies. A clear vision for how the market and the fleet can work in unison is at the heart of fleet management within the trucking industry. Of course, that all depends on seeing the activities that are occurring, benchmarking current carrier operations and continuously improving. And freight KPIs can serve as a valuable tool for freight market intelligence. Let’s take a closer look at the top factors to consider when asking, “how are my trucks performing in the market?”

Streamline data capture and analysis

Failure to use data and apply it accordingly within the fleet will lead to problems securing loads, offering competitive freight rates, and keeping drivers in trucks. Freight intelligence tools help management develop a more unified freight strategy. Data for the sake of data is meaningless without proper, automated analysis and data capture.  Streamlining these processes makes data more actionable and accessible, ideal for fleet management.

Know your operating ratio 

Effective truck fleet management is vital for successful daily carrier operations. And without an eye on the data, it’s downright impossible to measure your actual operating ratio. The operating ratio is a measure of profitability from linehaul, accessorials and operating expenses, shown in the FreightWaves SONAR OPRAT index. By taking advantage of this freight index, fleet managers can better position their assets and understand how day-to-day activities translate into profitability. Of course, there are many other trucking KPIs that frequently are utilized by managers to monitor fleet operations. After all, truck fleet management is a challenging and high-pressure job. Having access to the real-time freight data from KPIs can make everything much more accessible. 

Allocate assets based on market conditions

Supply chains exist as data-driven entities. Today, there is an excellent opportunity to apply freight market intelligence tools and real-time data. Such advances can help truck fleet management maximize load execution and avoid delays. They also promote a more robust balance between asset consumption and market status.

Measure the performance of individual loads

Truck fleet management continues to benefit and suffer from the continued surge of e-commerce. Supply chains that can embrace automation and freight market intelligence stand the best chance of thriving throughout the market’s chaos. And it is essential to augment the trucking fleet management process, monitor existing resources, allocate assets, and review day-to-day fleet operations. Individual freight loads, trucks, fleet lines, drivers and service areas all need careful review. Weak supply chains, trucks, carrier lines, and operational deficiencies can quickly cut into profit margins, so it’s essential to measure individual moves’ compared to all company activities.

Make strategic partnerships with brokers and other carriers

Even the best, fully staffed transportation network will need help at times or in specific areas. Networking and forming partnerships with brokers, carriers and 3PLs directly affects profitability and recovery following a disruption. As a result, more companies have turned to outsourcing and establishing new and lucrative business relationships to achieve their goals and basic needs. As an example, explains Trade Gecko, fleet managers should “choose a 3PL that can handle your current volume, but that also will be ready to handle your volume if you suddenly add a bunch of new stock, increase your stock volumes, or have a great spike in sales.  You want to choose a 3PL that can handle your business now and handle it when you’re at full speed.” Strategic partnerships make or break the network when it comes to successful truck fleet management and rapidly scaling capacity or load execution.

Benchmark your operation against competitors

When management stays focused on asset utilization, truck fleet management will grow more effective and reliant on data. Maximizing profits must remain a focus with every load accepted and every mile driven. Practical usage of assets, including data and technology, makes it faster and easier to manage the supply chain. And setting up benchmarks comparing internal trucking KPIs to external market trends can help managers keep tabs on the competition. It will also help with revaluation and refocusing when needed. Those are critical steps to maximizing profitability and knowing how your business stacks up against the competition.

Start by tapping the industry-leading freight data powerhouse of FreightWaves SONAR

Knowing how fleets perform provides a clear picture of efficiencies. Transportation companies must continue to embrace technology, automation, and analytics to overcome future hurdles and achieve more proactive, strategic truck fleet management. That begins with getting the suitable dataset and tools in your organization’s tech stack. Request a FreightWaves SONAR demo by clicking the button below.