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Fleet Managers Suffering From Data Blindness

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Within commercial cards, fleet card products have seen a recent resurgence in technological innovation. Card issuers and FinTech players are beginning to link fleet cards to Big Data aggregation and analysis tools and are fueling the rise in telematics, allowing fleet managers not only to hand drivers a way to pay but a tool to monitor that spend, manage vehicles and gain predictive insight into operations.

New research from Barclaycard Fuel+, however, suggests that the fleet industry in the U.K. still has a bit of a ways to go when it comes to managing driver spend and protecting the data captured from a fuel card.

The company released its report, conducted in collaboration with The Miles Consultancy, earlier this month and found concerning shortfalls in how fleet managers are working with that information — if they can access that information at all.

According to Barclaycard, fleet managers are significantly stunted when it comes to using data in a strategic way, not only to manage driver spend but to benefit their corporations overall.

Data Blind

There is a slew of information that fleet managers cannot access at the moment, Barclaycard Fuel+ found. Less than half can capture data to assess driver spend habits, with just 41 percent able to identify fuel costs per mile. The majority of fleet managers cannot even access data regarding the reason for a trip made by a driver, the report uncovered.

Researchers also revealed even less capability regarding data capture of other behavior. For example, just 16 percent of fleet managers said they monitor real-time MPGs; further, only 15 percent of managers are capable of collecting data that could inform them whether purchases made are for personal or business use.

The inability to access this type of information is concerning to fleet managers, the study found. Fraud was cited by nearly a third of managers as their top concern, yet less than half said they have integrated fuel purchasing programs that come equipped with fraud detection and security services.

Only a minority of fleet managers reported being able to access data that can validate distance reporting accuracy, identify whether a second vehicle is being fueled up or whether a trip is a legitimate one for the business.

While fleet cards and their corresponding digital platforms can help fleet managers access this type of information, just 19 percent of survey respondents said they use a fleet card to manage driver activity.

For one-third of fleet managers, reducing costs is their biggest struggle — and all of these areas in which data cannot be collected are harming fleet managers’ abilities to save their businesses money.

But there are other areas concerning these professionals, too. Compliance with HM Revenue & Customs standards was cited by 27 percent of managers as a chief worry.

According to Barclaycard, the statistics send a clear message: Fleet managers don’t have the sophisticated tools they want or need to efficiently manage operations as part of a function of their companies overall.

[bctt tweet=”‘A more holistic approach to fuel management is clearly needed.'”]

“Our research brings home not only the great number of challenges facing fleet managers today — from meeting compliance standards to the growing importance of controlling costs and reducing fraud — but also highlights the limitations of traditional fuel management systems to meet these changing demands,” said Barclaycard Account Development Director John Bostock in a statement. “A more holistic approach to fuel management is clearly needed.”

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