How dirty is your data? The truth about how dirty data undermines your fleet operations

How dirty is your data? The truth about how dirty data undermines your fleet operations

How dirty is your data? The truth about how dirty data undermines your fleet operations
Car IQ Team

Car IQ Team

May 24, 2024

For businesses managing fleets, data quality is key to optimizing efficiency and managing risks. In our last blog, we showed how connected data can reduce risk and streamline operations. Now, we’re taking a closer look at the prevalent issue of “dirty data.”

Here, we explain what dirty data is, identify its sources, and talk about what risks are associated.

What is dirty data?

Dirty data is any information that’s inaccurate, incomplete, or inconsistent. It typically originates from data entry mistakes, inconsistent sources, or poor data management. For fleet managers, working with clean data is essential since their decisions directly impact operational costs and efficiency. 

How does data get so dirty?

Dirty data in fleet management can emerge from several sources, each creating considerable operational challenges:

  • Data entry mistakes: Errors in recording fuel purchases, odometer readings, or vehicle identification numbers (VINs) are common. These inaccuracies can skew data analytics, affecting essential operations like maintenance scheduling and fuel management. 
  • Data lag: Delays between when data is generated and when it’s available in management systems can lead to decisions based on outdated information. For dynamic fleet operations, having real-time data is crucial to maintaining accuracy and efficiency. 

Why is dirty data so prevalent in traditional fleet card payment systems? 

Current fleet card programs provide limited data such as how many dollars were spent at a merchant. This data is later populated with more transactional information provided by the merchant, such as the number of gallons purchased and the type of product. 

However, without real-time integrations, transactions can't be verified and authorized as they happen, making it tough to stop unauthorized fuel card use, mileage falsification, and even fuel card misuse by former employees. Dirty data further obscures visibility, enabling fraud that can result in significant issues due to several reasons:

  • Driver input: Fleet cards require drivers to enter odometer readings and VIN numbers at the pump, but this task is easily prone to mistakes or even deliberate falsification. These inconsistencies can undermine the reliability of data that’s crucial for monitoring fuel efficiency and vehicle maintenance. 
  • PIN sharing: If drivers share their PINs, it can lead to unauthorized fuel transactions. For instance, an off-duty driver might use a coworker’s fleet card to fill up their personal vehicle. This not only skews transactional data but also puts fleets at risk of financial losses. 
  • Automatic adjustments: To fix irregularities in odometer readings, some fleet card payment systems adjust the data. However, this only distorts the information further, making it difficult to accurately analyze fuel efficiency or detect fraud. For instance, a fleet manager may have been trying to find an accurate MPG to look for fraud. With adjusted odometer readings, however, finding an accurate MPG goes out the window. 

What are the impacts of dirty data on fleet operations?

The impact of dirty data is that businesses lack the right information to make sound business decisions and can’t use it effectively to implement best practices. Here are some specific consequences:

  • Risk of fraud: When data is obscured or inaccurate, it becomes much harder to spot fraudulent activities, allowing these practices to continue and potentially cause significant financial damage.
  • Operational inefficiencies: Bad data leads to poor decision-making, such as inefficient vehicle routing or poorly managed maintenance, which drives up costs and reduces efficiency.
  • Compliance challenges: Accurate data is crucial for meeting internal compliance standards. When data is off, it becomes tough to monitor fuel usage and other vital metrics, creating serious compliance risks.

How does connected data prevent dirty data from happening in your company?

Car IQ’s connected data model ties every vehicle transaction directly to a unique vehicle ID. Unlike traditional fleet payment systems, Car IQ never uses separate data streams. Even though fleet card systems try to integrate with data analytics and telematics, the separation between transactional and vehicle data makes it nearly impossible to manage risk effectively. Without real-time integration of these data streams, validating and authorizing each transaction is nearly impossible.

Moreover, traditional systems struggle to detect fraudulent activities even after they happen. Fleet managers typically have to wait until the end of the month to reconcile transaction data with invoices and statements. This creates data silos, making comprehensive analysis and insights challenging because they require a significant amount of time and technical expertise.

With Car IQ, each vehicle has a unique ID and every transaction starts and ends with the vehicle data. By incorporating real-time connected vehicle data before, during, and after every payment, our technology validates and authorizes each transaction, allowing the driver to request and pay for goods and services autonomously. Eliminating the need for a fuel card or PIN, Car IQ paves the way for more secure and efficient fleet operations. 

Data insights that set you for the future

By enrolling in the only program that uses connected data and gives you the tools to mitigate risk, Car IQ ensures that you get the best data set possible. Over the next 60 days, we'll meticulously analyze your fleet's fuel usage and efficiency, culminating in a detailed fuel report that points out potential fraud and inefficiencies. This optimizes your fleet management strategies and enhances fuel efficiency, providing invaluable insights into your vehicles' performance.

Interested in our special offer? Let’s start a conversion today. 

Last updated on

May 24, 2024

Car IQ Team

Car IQ Team

May 24, 2024

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