Too much data can lead to a “Paradox of Choice” – meaning that when given too many options to choose from, we have a hard time deciding or making a choice at all. We then fail to take effective action through fear of making the wrong choice.
This paradox and situation hold true for fleet safety management. From black box telematics, forward-facing dashcams, and complete video footage surrounding the vehicle, to online driver training, license check systems and beyond – fleet managers have to somehow sift through and make sense of it all.
This multitude of data sources can on the surface imply levels of analysis, insight, action and control – making it seem like risk management and fleet safety is effective. But in reality, too much data can prevent the tasks from being done as successfully as possible.
More concerningly, in the realms of safety and risk management, if the worst happens and formal investigations prove that the data was available but was not being acted on, then the legal consequences for the organization can be severe.
Read on to discover best practices for using your ocean of driver and vehicle data effectively.
5 Steps for Using Fleet Safety Data Effectively
An effective road map can be built for using data to improve fleet safety management, and the pitfalls of the paradox of choice and analysis paralysis can be avoided. This starts with five steps.
1. Define Your Main Goals
There is a range of reasons why you should use data to improve fleet safety. They can all fit into one of eight categories. While all eight will contribute to improved fleet safety, we have found that by identifying three primary goals from the eight, there is a greater focus on what needs to be done, better buy-in from the broader business and use cases are more easily prioritized. The eight categories are:
- Reduce incident frequency
- Reduce claim costs
- Improve incident investigation and response effectiveness
- Improve driver training effectiveness
- Improve driver assessment and onboarding
- Reduce vehicle damage
- Reduce data management time
- Increase data visibility to senior leadership
2. Identify the Data Sources
There are multiple data sources that exist within a business. Ensuring that they are all identified and can be used is a straightforward task when following these steps:
Identify the Systems
These will break down into in-vehicle systems, operations and logistics systems, HR and employee systems, claims, notification and insurance systems and compliance and training systems.
Document the Data Points
For each system, it’s good practice to list out all the data points that are stored in that system.
Agree on the Data Transfer Method into Your Fleet Safety Management System
This will normally be either via API link, Excel reports or manual input and will no doubt vary by the data source. Documenting which method is being used by each source will help highlight where checks and double-checks need to be made to avoid errors.
3. Agree on the Initial Use Cases
Use cases are the specific activities that you want to embed into your fleet safety management system. They inform the people/departments using the system on what to do and what to focus on. The best practice is to prioritize these use cases on the main goals that have already been agreed on.
Again, like the goals, we recommend that you focus on no more than three use cases initially. The use cases may be:
- New Driver applicants
- Driver debriefs and interventions
- Targeted training/eLearning
- Depot or branch benchmarking
- Aggressive drivers
- Cultural risk/Health & safety policy
- Claim data quality
- Incident review board
- Escalated incidents
4. Work Out How the Use Cases Fit Into Your Current Processes
When implementing a fleet safety management system, we have found that the best results are achieved when the existing processes are disrupted as little as possible. Once the uses cases in the previous section are selected, we recommend working through the following questions for each one:
- Who currently owns/runs the use case?
- What information/insights would they benefit from having?
- What would they want to be alerted to?
- Would the action they take based on the information or alert change or just become more informed?
5. Engage Your Data Protection Officer or Team
The management and oversight of data is a critical part of all organizations’ activities. In order to ensure that the fleet safety management system is netted in and compliant with your organization’s data protocols, we recommend engagement with your data officer or team with the following two steps:
First, detail the data sources, goals, use cases and process implementation considerations you have gone through to the data officer or team.
Second, organize a meeting with your data protection officer or team to answer any questions they may have from the documentation stage, and to give them a hands-on demonstration of your work. This builds both comprehension and trust.
One thing to note: You aren’t collecting any data that your business was not already collecting. The data is simply being used more effectively, as well as bringing clarity to what data is of use and what is not needed.
Transform Fleet Data Management
As we detailed at the start, the amount of data available for fleet safety management can be an issue in and of itself. However, we’ve found that by following the above five steps, the data can be fully utilized and significant advances in fleet safety management can be better achieved.
To learn more about how you can leverage our solutions at SambaSafety to get more out of your vehicle and driver data, fill out our form to schedule a demo with one of our data insight experts below.