While there are many lucrative superpowers to consider having, predicting the future has to be at the head of the race for fleet managers. Fleet forecasting and analysis can assist fleet managers in recognizing future operational demand and will result in a greater understanding of what vehicles are needed in the short and long-term future.
A fleet manager must assess the estimated cost, fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions before developing future strategies. Machine Learning can be used to evaluate massive amounts of data and derive more accurate conclusions and projections.
In the current context, forecasting is critical. Due to the persistent semiconductor shortfall, which shows no signs of relief in the foreseeable future, the wait time for ordering new vehicles is currently 8-12 months. Given these lead periods, fleet managers must simply have access to data and insights to enable predictions regarding future trips, maintenance schedules, expenses, and more.
In this blog, we will discuss everything about fleet forecasting that makes it beneficial for fleet managers.
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What is Fleet Forecasting?
Fleet Forecasting is a method that estimates the next due date of planned jobs based on previously collected data and then generates the requisite work requests for the jobs. Fleet forecasting is a system that estimates anticipated outcomes based on recorded data using data, algorithms, statistics, and machine learning. This technology is already widely utilised in the financial, insurance, and retail industries to forecast risks and trends.
Fleet forecasting has numerous advantages for fleet managers, ranging from tracking and anticipating individual driver behaviour to better managing the condition of your vehicles. The data collected and analysed for future projections allows you to make better fleet decisions and run a safer workforce.
Fleet forecasting can be used in the following ways:
- Vehicle Maintenance
- New Vehicle Acquisition
- Vehicle Utilization
- Fleet Downsizing
- Driver Acquisition
Fleet forecasting can also be used in various corporate divisions, from IT to fleet operations, HR, and health and safety. You may even share the fleet forecasting data and statistics with your business fleet insurance provider to acquire an accurate computation and insurance coverage for your fleet.
What Are the Benefits of Forecasting in Fleet Management?
There are multiple benefits of using fleet forecasting for fleet management.
- Creating a Maintenance Schedule
The main benefit of fleet forecasting has to be the maintenance schedule. Your vehicles require consistent maintenance to be able to function properly. Forecasting makes use of data generated by your fleet maintenance software to estimate which vehicles will require service next. You will no longer be required to determine the maintenance schedule for each vehicle in your fleet manually.
- Reducing Downtime
Downtime is a very critical problem in owning a fleet. It results in wasted resources, cancelled orders, and customer dissatisfaction. All of these contribute to an increase in the operational costs of a fleet. A properly maintained fleet will not experience extended downtimes, therefore reducing overall expenses.
- Increasing Vehicle Life
It is no surprise that a well-maintained vehicle will function better and for longer periods of time. Forecasting generates a regular maintenance schedule based on actual data from your fleet, ensuring that your vehicles do not miss a key tune-up. This also means you will have to invest less in the acquisition of new vehicles.
- Lowering Fuel Costs
This benefit is also related to a properly maintained fleet. A vehicle of pristine health will have better mileage and use fuel more efficiently. This energy efficiency will greatly contribute to lowering fuel costs.
- Tracking Useful Metrics
Because data such as speed, time, distance travelled, trip lengths, and trip count are already being collected by your forecaster, you may quickly access and use this data to your benefit.
Different Approaches to Fleet Forecasting
Proper forecasting helps you determine future needs, evaluate them against current resources, and help you come up with actionable insights on what needs to be done to meet future demand. There are 2 ways in which you can carry out effective fleet forecasting:
- This method uses the previous period to forecast future needs.
- It allows for adjustment for anomalies compared to the historical view
- It takes into account inflation trends and makes the necessary adjustments in the fleet forecast.
- Pros: Quick and easy
- Cons: Market fluctuations and inflations may not be easy to predict.
- Zero Based
- This method does take into account any prior time periods and calculations from zero.
- You are required to add known expenses to it along with market-driven inputs to increment those costs in the future.
- Pros: More accurate, identifies savings
- Cons: Relatively difficult, does not take into account historical trends.
How Does Fleet Data Help in Efficient Forecasting?
Most fleet forecasting solutions need your present fleet data to come up with more accurate forecasts. A fleet forecasting software can assist in uncovering consistent difficulties with your fleet based on historical data. Fleet data can be fed to a tool for statistics, modelling, machine learning, and data mining. Actual fleet data can help analyse and determine output statistics for each location as well as expected trends.
As highlighted in this blog, there are numerous advantages to using predictive analytics in your fleet. It will aid in future planning, budgeting, and forecasting the life cycle of your fleet. The data will be useful in increasing fleet safety and efficiency, and if you are currently recording it, it will be easier to use and predict future trends.