Gone are the days when every aspect of your business was done with pen and paper, or when the only way to keep track of your banking was through a bank book. You no longer have to wait on professional service providers to give you answers about your business. Filling up a shoe or file box full of receipts and invoices to take to your accountant will not get you ahead of the game. Waiting sometimes 60+ days to get paid is no longer a valid practice.
People who rely on accounting practices from 20 years ago have a hard time understanding what really is going on with their business. They don't know if something is losing more money than it brings in. In the front end, you can see that all the bills are getting paid and that you are making a good living, but it might be based on future account receivables or debt that will cost more tomorrow.
Many small to medium size motor carrier businesses have gone under because of their neglect for keeping on top of their accounting and financial information.
Operations or the day-to-day of running your business is what generates all this accounting and financial information. If you have a good handle on the day-to-day and always try to improve it, you should do the same with your accounting and financial information.
With new processes driven by systems that operate in real-time, keeping on top of your accounting and financial data is a breeze.
Data collection today often comes at a reasonable cost, and there is no real excuse not to learn how to do it.
Data collection for fleets or motor carriers is used to improve service delivery, prevent downtime, increase safety, improve training and retention, track engine performance, improve fuel efficiency, improve compliance reporting, and decrease expenses. With all the data that you can now collect, you can make better business decisions based on the facts in the data. You can increase your return on assets and improve overall operations. You can save time to do more, or use this newly freed time to do what you want.
Once committed to collecting data and making sense of it, motor carriers must make sure that the data their systems are collecting is accurate, complete, and is being used to make better decisions to increase their bottom line.
Data analysis for motor carriers should result in decisions that create change to improve their business. For example, when you use a program that specializes in IFTA, you will understand your IFTA reports and learn where to purchase fuel based on your routes. This way, your balance at the end of that quarter is minimal, or a refund.
Collecting correct data is not the end goal – making sense of it to improve your business is.
Experts in data analysis for motor carriers know that fuel expenses and maintenance costs or downtime are the biggest contributors to reducing your ability to make money.
So, use the right tools not only to collect data but most importantly to analyze it. If you are overwhelmed with the complexity of it all, start with one or two processes in your motor carrier business that you want to improve. Maybe look at the area in your business that is losing money, look at what data points would be around this loss, so you can make sense of the data for you to create a better process that turns this money loss into a money maker.
Some motor carriers who use our specialized fuel tax program are making sense of their fuel tax expense along with their fuel costs to improve their bottom line. They do it by looking at fuel tax rates, fuel price per gallon, and the route they are taking based on the load deliveries. This leads to cost savings and increases the bottom line.
Other benefits you get by using the right tools to analyze your business data are: secure storage, organized records, and records that can be retrieved at any time by clicking a button, generating reports that matter to your business.