Sampling sport science to get a true assessment of your vehicles and drivers

Aug 19, 2019 • FeaturesVerizonVerizon ConnectfleetFleet OperationsFleet performance

Derek Bryan, VP EMEA at Verizon Connect says pro-cycling's approach to data analytics can be mirrored in fleet handling.

Across countless industries, the rise of performance analytics has had a fundamental impact on how organisations assess the contribution of their most valuable assets. Thanks to advances in data collection and analysis, managers now possess an incredible amount of information that they can use to evaluate and inform how their employees and their inventory help support the business’s growth. Likewise, employees now have access to more powerful self-management tools than ever before.

You’d imagine that a Silicon Valley giant or a hot tech start-up would provide the best example of an organisation doing this well. But you’d be wrong. It’s actually professional cycling that throws up one of the best examples, thanks to teams’ innovative and relentless use of data. As seen in last month’s Tour de France, every single aspect of their organisation is tailored towards giving their employees out in the field – their riders – every opportunity to perform at the highest possible level.

If performance analytics can be applied with this degree of success within a sporting context – where there is always great scope for uncertainty – then why can’t it be deployed to the benefit of those who manage fleets of vehicles? There are numerous techniques and methodologies that fleet managers can adopt from top road cycling teams to help replicate their success.

These techniques are all founded on one underlying technology that can drive business benefits for fleets of all sizes. Fleet management solutions have become increasingly popular in recent years as a tool to help monitor the health and performance of both vehicles and drivers. Simply deploying a fleet management solution, however, isn’t sufficient. Driving improvements at an enterprise and manager level requires businesses to act on the intelligence and insights collected and generated by these platforms to change their ways of working. In doing so, they deliver productivity and cost benefits for the entire business.

Here are four learnings fleet managers can take from professional cycling to drive performance across their business:

1. Drive greater performance from your employees
Professional cycling leads the way in performance and data analysis. By profiling and measuring every aspect of a cyclist’s performance – from their physiology to their diet, to their riding style – professional cycling organisations identify exactly what they can do to improve a rider’s performance. Whether that be changing their equipment, encouraging them to adapt their riding style/position, or adding or removing an item from their list of approved foods.

Using fleet management technologies, fleets can monitor how their employees are performing on the road, and pinpoint specific parts of their performance or schedule that can be improved to drive efficiency for the business. For example, a fleet manager could advise a driver to reduce their speeding or refrain from harsh braking, based on analysis of their driving style, to reduce fuel usage. They could also encourage their driver to turn off their engine when in traffic or stationary on a job to reduce the vehicle’s emissions and fuel costs. Seat belt usage or acceleration are other performance areas that can be monitored as part of a constant feedback loop with drivers. Maintaining this loop is critical to driving higher, more efficient performance across their fleet of vehicles.

2. Give your team the tools to win
Every cyclist is only as good as the cycle they are riding, and as a result, cyclists will often use different bikes based on the specific demands of a race or stage. This approach should be the same for your drivers in the field.

Fleets can benefit from this approach by using fleet management systems to provide drivers the right vehicle for the job, based on its requirements. This means using fleet management platforms to allocate drivers the right vehicle for the job (whether an HGV, LCV or even an SUV) based on the amount of space required for a delivery, or the tools required to complete a job. It could also mean making sure the vehicle has the required number of occupants needed for a specific task, or verifying that it is compliant with local emissions regulations in the area where the job is located.

Certain vehicles can also be allocated to jobs based on the technological tools within the vehicle’s cab, such as on-board dashcams or handsfree connectivity tools, to allow drivers on the road to benefit from technology without disrupting their workflows.

3. Take one for the team
Within the cycling world, the ‘peloton’ is well known for working as a group to allow cyclists to cycle as efficiently and use as little energy as possible. Fleets can do the same by using fleet management platforms to review their routing and scheduling. These solutions allow them to both allocate and schedule jobs based on the most suitable candidate and vehicle, and calculate the most efficient route. Doing this allows drivers to work in harmony to deliver an efficient and effective service to customers.

4. Commit to conditioning
Today’s athletes pay more attention to their own conditioning than ever before. Professional cyclists have almost every aspect of their physiology monitored by their team while they are on their bike, including their heart rate, current load levels and workload threshold.


This monitoring is essential to managing the performance of cyclists, and ensuring they are not overburdened, which can lead to injury. Fleet managers can replicate this process by making use of the vehicle monitoring/diagnostics tools within fleet management systems to keep tabs on the condition of vehicles in their fleet so that they are fit for the job at hand. If not, managers can proactively schedule maintenance of a vehicle and shift its workload onto other vehicles in the network to reduce disruption and help fulfil customers’ demands on time.  

Today, the most successful businesses are those that monitor performance and maximise efficiency both inside and outside of its traditional four walls. Many sports have already adopted this mindset, and it’s time fleet managers do the same. When a vehicle leaves the depot, it should no longer be considered an external asset – rather, it should be considered as an extension of the business, and as critical a workplace as the desk of the CEO.