Hard facts about software


An annual survey of 360 asset managers across industry, including a sector labelled transport and storage, with 24 respondents, provides some food for thought. (For more details about the 2021 Ultimo EAM Trend Report conducted for the software provider, see www.is.gd/buyaxe.)

While 60% of survey respondents across industry had experienced unplanned downtime in the past year, the corresponding figure for transportation and storage specifically was lower – at 42%. One possible explanation, proposed by the software vendor, is that the sector puts extra effort into avoiding unplanned downtime.

However, when asked if they knew the average cost per hour of downtime, only 18% of all asset managers said yes. In transportation and storage, even fewer – 4% – were aware. Again, this may reflect an assumption that this sector knows very well that downtime is costly – even if that cost is not quantified – and is already making strenuous efforts to avoid it, speculates Ultima.

Without effective systems and processes for managing and communicating information, an organisation has limited ability to retain and share its gathered data and the cumulative experience of its workforce, it points out.

In the survey, poor communication between different teams is revealed to be one of the biggest risks to uptime. Transportation and storage asset managers appear to consider poor communication as big a risk as ageing assets; both issues were rated the biggest issue by 29% of the samples. By comparison, poor communication was only listed as the biggest risk to uptime by 16% of industry as a whole.

The survey also asked, what do you need to focus on to improve your organisation’s response to unprecedented events. Both the overall response and the transportation and storage sector replies rated knowledge sharing and retention most prominently as being key to resilience.

However, this sector differed from the average response when asked to name the single most important step needed to future-proof operations. Transport respondents rated investment in the workforce highest. By contrast, while improving cooperation across the organisation was top choice for respondents as a whole, but only third in this specific sector (after investing in new assets).Finally, in terms of training, the study suggests that investment in the workforce is rather low. Within the whole response base, 69% of companies gave maintenance staff no more than 24 hours of training per year. Nearly 90% of companies in transportation and storage fell into that bracket.

An Ultimo white paper is available via www.is.gd/lisipi.


leets need to ensure they have access to accurate data in areas where costs are currently rising in order to adopt effective management strategies, FleetCheck is advising.

The fleet software specialist reports that it is seeing pressure on costs among its user base in a wide range of areas – including not just widely publicised fuel pump prices but also service and maintenance, vehicle acquisition and insurance.

Managing director Peter Golding (pictured) says: “Rising costs are being seen right across the economy and this is certainly affecting fleets, with our customers asking us for advice on what they can do to minimise the impact.

“Our response is always that job one is to establish that you are using accurate data, which potentially means everything from information on routing and driver behaviour drawn from telematics to where fuel is being bought and how much is being paid taken from fuel cards.

“There has perhaps been a degree of slippage during the pandemic on some fleets when it comes to ensuring the veracity of data – there have simply been more demanding tasks such as ensuring driver safety or delivering frontline services – but it remains essential.

“If you have the appropriate information, you can format it effectively using fleet software and identify areas where new strategies can be adopted that minimise cost increases – but that process is a wasted effort without the right data.”

Golding says that it is important to prioritise cost control. He explains: “We advise looking at a handful of areas where costs are rising, accurate information can be obtained, and new strategies are possible.

“Of course, in each area, it is crucial to ensure that you are gathering not just accurate but relevant data, and this is where expert advice can be especially useful. It is often the case that a few points of measurement are sufficient as long as they are the right ones.

“Tracking these metrics over time will tell you whether the measures you have adopted are having the desired impact. We are living through a period when cost reduction is probably not possible but cost control certainly is – and fleets should target minimising increases.”

Golding says that FleetCheck is also being asked about rethinking core fleet strategy in light of rising costs, electrification and issues such as poor new vehicle supply.

He concludes: “Replacement cycles are an area that is coming under scrutiny, for example, with fleets looking at whether they should be permanently extended. Again, this is very much an exercise that should be driven by data that can be drawn from a variety of sources and formatted appropriately using fleet software to simply the decision-making process.”


Eco-driving is largely common sense: the difficulty for small firms is how can they ensure that their drivers follow these guidelines, says Richard Lilwall, CEO of vehicle tracking and telematics firm Quartix.

In terms of good practice for drivers, the big savings in fuel costs often occur when the driver is on the road. The key is to develop sensible driving habits. A good driving style with minimal speeding, instances of harsh braking or acceleration helps reduce fuel consumption. Drivers should maintain a steady speed to limit unnecessary energy and fuel loss, and keep a safe distance between their vehicle and others to avoid having to brake suddenly. There are other ways to cut fuel costs too, such as being smart with the use of air conditioning.

Implementing a vehicle tracking solution can give companies visibility of how their staff are driving out on the road, enabling them to spot issues and coach drivers where needed. Driving style reports allow managers to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of drivers as part of continual professional improvement.

Some vehicle tracking solutions can be set to assign a driving score to each driver, calculated using various criteria such as speed, acceleration and braking indexes. This would allow business owners to quickly identify poor driving behaviours through something like a league table.

The data not only shows where employees can modify their driving behaviour, it also makes them aware of the impact their driving habits have on the company’s bottom line. One Quartix client reported that a driver of a light vehicle with above average speed scores (green) totalled £1,200 in fuel consumption, £96 in workshop repairs and just 1.5 hours of workshop labour time over a three-month period. In the same period, a driver with a poor speed score (red), covering similar mileage to the latter, used £150 extra fuel, cost the company an extra £2,120 in repairs and incurred 29.5 hours of workshop labour.

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