The secret to better productivity
The word ‘productivity’ has different connotations for different people. Just like when they hear the phrase ‘healthy eating’, kids can only imagine a plate full of brussel sprouts. Similarly, employers love the sound of productivity but employees only hear ‘work harder, in less time, for less money’. How can understanding the true meaning of productivity benefit both your business and help your employees to achieve greater job satisfaction?
What is the secret to better productivity in your business? The key lies in understanding your current levels of output as well as determining the potential of your staff.
Step 1: Understand your current output
The first step is to know exactly how your business is currently performing. It’s a standard principle of Business Management 101 that what is being measured can be improved. Unfortunately for many mobile enterprises, much of what happens is guesswork or shooting in the dark. Managers feel that, because many of their staff operate in isolated or remote locations, it’s just not possible to accurately measure what’s being done, by whom and how long it is taking.
They also feel they’re being fairer to staff to not apply any metrics to work done. Interestingly the opposite may actually be true; managers use ‘gut feeling’ to judge employees, which is prone to assumptions and half-truths. At the same time, workers never get any recognition for excelling on the job, resigning themselves to mediocre performance and getting frustrated when they see less-than-stellar employees cheating the system because there are no metrics in place.
A study (Service Workforce and Fleet Management) by the Aberdeen Group showed a 19% increase in mobile worker productivity when efforts were made to effectively monitor and manage remote workers. Scientific observations have also shown that the simple act of putting measurements in place improves overall performance in itself, before you’ve even made any changes.
So — as a fleet owner — what should you be measuring?
There are a range of metrics fleet managers can measure using GPS-based telematics, much will depend on your specific business goals and the industry you operate in.
- Start and stop times — Using ignition or geofences to detect when vehicles start or enter a specific location.
- Jobs per day — How many jobs are being completed and by whom.
- Job timing — How long are jobs taking to complete to provide helpful trend analysis.
- Economical driving — How heavy is your driver’s right foot? Heavy braking, acceleration and other risky driving could be adding a significant cost to your fuel budget. Driving faster is not the solution to being more productive.
- Route deviation — How closely drivers adhere to the optimized route and save unnecessary miles.
- Driver safety analysis — Accidents are a massive blow to productivity. Driver Scorecards help fleet managers analyze what areas drivers need coaching assistance.
- Service timing — Measure the percentage of on-time starts, late starts and missed jobs to determine issues with your internal processes or resources.
When you’ve determined what are the important metrics for your business, you can work with your Telogis consultant to set up and start tracking these key measurements.
Step 2: Tap into the potential of your staff
Once you have an understanding of your current state of output (also known as a baseline), you’re in a position to begin some business transformation — this is the exciting part!
Before you begin, understand that change is not always welcomed, particularly if staff feel like they have not been included in the decision-making process. We recommend reviewing this blog post on ten things you can do to get staff on board when introducing GPS fleet tracking.
It’s also helpful to recognize the benefits to staff morale when good work is recognized and rewarded, and staff feel more productive on the job.
Looking over the results of your tracked metrics (from Step 1), analyze areas for improvement by looking at different factors such as work order completion time as well as unchargeable time (e.g. driving in traffic).
After reviewing the metrics you should be able to determine the answers to questions such as:
- Which workers are better suited to which jobs?
- What time of day is best to complete specific jobs?
- What jobs are not profitable for your business?
Take the time to sit down and discuss with your staff what they enjoy about their job, what they don’t enjoy and they think could be done better. Armed with the insights from your baseline data you collected from your fleet management software, you can work that it into your business transformation — boosting staff morale and your overall productivity at the same time.