A fleet would be nothing without drivers. As a safety manager, you know that the core of your responsibilities is improving driver performance and ensuring fleet safety, but there are proven ways to stay efficient, safe, and profitable without compromising valuable time or resources.
Aspects such as system integration, driver retention, and fleet safety correlate with the performance of your drivers. To maximize driver performance, you must first understand what metrics to track, how to make sense of the data, and how to relay feedback to your drivers.
Tracking, Analysis, and Feedback
In short, the best way to improve driver performance in your fleet is through these general steps:
- Identify what metrics are important to track when determining driver performance
- Choose the right hardware and software tools to measure and process your data
- Use gathered insight to optimize driver behavior along with advanced data processing through techniques like machine learning algorithms
- Assign corrective action and coaching to help prevent future incidents
Luckily, robust fleet safety and fleet management platforms such as the Idelic Safety Suite gives safety managers all the functions needed to integrate third-party systems, identify at-risk drivers, and assign corrective action.
What are the Metrics?
To create an effective system to boost driver performance, you first need to identify what data you will be tracking around your drivers, and how that data will help you determine their performance. Establishing the metrics that facilitate fleet performance allows you to measure their behavior compared to a baseline metric or standard.
Some qualities that are valuable while evaluating driver performance include:
- Safety Event Records — Are drivers operating safely and reducing their risk of getting into an accident or another safety issue? Are their vehicles up to inspection standards? Are they fully complying with DOT and company regulations?
- Route Productivity — Are drivers maximizing the number of deliveries, pickups, etc. on one trip through consistent on-time deliveries?
- Customer Satisfaction — If the drivers interact with customers during pickups and deliveries, are they representing the company well and providing a positive experience with your customers? If you switched drivers for the day, would your customers notice and ask for that driver?
- Responsive — When an issue or problem arises, are drivers open and willing to take necessary steps to help resolve or fix the situation?
- Proactive — Are drivers bought into and actively participating in maintaining a ‘Safety First’ mindset and culture?
There are many other things to look at when evaluating performance, but these metrics are a great baseline to start. The next step is to identify what systems or processes should be used to gather all of the data that you need to make a proper analysis.
Telematics and GPS Tracking
GPS fleet tracking and telematics are a wide-ranging solution that can help your safety team track and improve your drivers’ performance. In general, by following the location of the vehicle with GPS, you are starting to collect the right kinds of data to make deeper, data-driven insights about your drivers’ behavior.
Onboard telematics can show a driver’s speed compared to the posted speed limit, the velocity going around road curves, hard braking, rapid acceleration, and a host of other important metrics that convey real-time, behind the wheel driver behavior. Cameras can be another critical component to better understand driver behavior by analyzing each alert and providing coaching based on driver needs. The cameras can show how a driver responded to an event to gain buy-in on corrective action necessary.
Integrated data and predictive analytics allow the potential for in-depth analysis of driver performance, so it is vital to figure out what type of hardware and software you should adopt to make all of this analysis possible. Once you have these systems in place, you can track driver performance and provide feedback to your drivers in real-time so that they can proactively work on their performance.
Real-Time Feedback and Digital Solutions
The most significant benefit that comes from adopting a digital solution for tracking driver performance is that it facilitates real-time feedback, which in turn can be used to prescribe corrective actions to a driver before more critical events arise. Digital solutions are fundamental to this feature because they also allow large quantities of data across disparate systems to be processed alongside each other almost instantaneously.
There are several situations where feedback can be used to improve driver performance. A simple sit-down with a flagged driver or automatic training assigned based on their behavior can help correct specific actions.
Driver Safety and Machine Learning
An effective fleet safety program plays a huge role in improving a driver’s overall performance, but if ignored, a major accident can cost your fleet’s business hundreds of thousands of dollars. Driver safety covers everything from improving driver habits to ensuring vehicles are up to date with insurance, registration, and inspections.
Some fleet safety platforms, like the Idelic Safety Suite, use machine learning algorithms to predict at-risk drivers and prescribe actions to improve performance and avoid accidents. Machine learning (ML) is a subset of A.I. that focuses on the idea that machines with access to vast amounts of data can learn and identify optimal outcomes for themselves, and driver safety is one application for ML. The only way to truly maximize driver performance is by adopting machine learning alongside other available solutions to analyze the overwhelming amount of data and provide keen and impactful insights.
Putting It All Together
The Idelic Safety Suite allows Safety Managers to easily improve driver performance in their fleets by providing them the tools they need throughout each step of tracking, analysis, and feedback. Integrating disparate systems and running them through an ML algorithm built on 20+ years of rich data allows fleets without vast amounts of data to immediately begin seeing the benefits of predictive analytics.
If you are interested in learning more about how Idelic can help prevent accidents, reduce turnover, and lower insurance, check out the Idelic Safety Suite and see how else we can help you reach your safety goals.
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