This is an explanatory note on how the reports work. The reports referred to are the "pretty" charts and graphics, not the data-table type reports.
Where does the data come from?
The data used to generate the reports is pulled in from the various registers (database tables) used by PoolCar. This includes the bookings data, odometer readings and so on.
What data is included?
- Only bookings where the booking type is "Staff Use". All other booking types are ignored. Staff Use is the default booking type where a normal PoolCar user makes a booking. So every booking will be Staff Use unless the administrator has specifically overridden the booking type. i.e. Maintenance, Car Wash, Servicing, Accident Repair, etc.
- Only non-deleted bookings are included. Bookings that have been deleted are ignored.
- Only vehicles that are active are included. Deleted vehicles are ignored.
- Only vehicles that have the "Exclude from reports" unticked. You can tick/untick this setting in the Vehicle Register (Sysadmin > Vehicle Register > Edit). This is handy if certain vehicle types may skew the results.
So what does Utilisation actually mean?
Utilisation means the proportion of time to which the car is not being used (i.e. sitting in the parking lot), versus the time it is actually used during business hours, expressed as a percentage.
"Used" means a booking for that car, it does not necessarily mean the car was actually driven off the parking lot!! (here's where GPS telematics comes in handy - ask your PoolCar account manager for more information about GPS and telematics if this is of interest to you).
What do mean by "Business Hours" ?
Business Hours is the hours your organisation operates. By default, PoolCar sets this to 8am to 5pm. You can override these values in Sysadmin > Application Settings > (Ctrl-F to find 'Working Day Start Time' or 'Working Day End Time').
So the number of business hours in a day is (Working Day End Time minus Working Day Start Time).
Business hours ignores weekends, but includes public holidays.
For example, if business hours were set to 8am to 5pm, thats 9 hours per day, x 5 days per week = 45 hours per week.
What do you mean by "Utilisation (Business Hours)" ?
Utilisation is the total hours the car was actually booked, divided by the total hours the car could have been booked in a working day (business hours).
For example, taking the numbers above, say there are 9 hours in a working day. Car "A" is booked for 4.5 hours in total for that day (say spread across 3 different bookings that day). The business hours utilisation would therefore be 50% (4.5 / 9.0 * 100)
Looking at a longer time span, say there are 45 business hours in a week. If the aggregate of all bookings in that week for that car added up to 27.3 hours then the utilisation for that time span would be 27.3 / 45 * 100 = 60.66%
Here the importance of business hours comes into play. If we included the 24 hours in each day, as opposed to just the business hours, the utilisation result would be diluted.
Shortcomings of Utilisation %
Using this method to measure utilisation, there is an underlying assumption that a booking for 4pm is equally important as a booking for 10.30am.
Utilisation effectively means how often the car is needed. A utilisation rate of 50% would imply that the car is seldom used, only 4 hours in an 8 hour working day. One could easily reach the conclusion that the car is under-utilised, which may or may not be the case!
For example, the car may be an emergency or on-call car. Or the bookings could be in the busiest parts of the day, i.e. 10.00 to noon and 2pm to 4pm This of course assumes that each hour of a working day has equal significance. Does a 4:45pm booking carry the same importance as a 9am booking?
So 100% utilisation is great, right?
Not necessarily, it could mean that someone has booked the car from 8am Monday morning to 5pm Friday afternoon - one booking to cover the entire working week.
The rental car companies measure utilisation to report back to their investors. Like all good business graphs, Wall Street applaud when graphs go up-and-to-the-right! So to increase utilisation and tell an impressive story to Wall Street, they encourage drivers to keep the car longer. Which is why you see offers like rent 2 days and get the 3rd for $1 !!
More bookings (or longer duration bookings) = higher utilisation, which may not accurately reflect how and why the car is used.