Why Knowing Your Numbers is a Game Changer


Why Knowing Your Numbers is a Game Changer

In the UK, I don’t think many people will know the name Billy Beane. You may recognise his on-screen persona, Brad Pitt, but I am pretty sure Billy Beane means almost nothing to most people.

Billy Beane is a genius. A change-maker. A risk-taker. Billy Beane is the name behind the Hollywood movie Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt, and the bestselling book Moneyball:The Art of Winning.

What Billy Beane did was utterly revolutionary in his field. As a coach of a major league baseball team (I know, baseball is alien to me too, but stick with it) he transformed the player recruitment and selection process from anecdotes and subjectivity, to data and analytics.

Faced with a depleted team, and competitor’s with much higher salary budgets, Billy Beane adopted an analytical approach to assessing players values and building a new team. He devised new ways of gauging a players’ performance and potential, and used hard data and analytics to build a team based around what the numbers said, not what the scouts thought. Sabermetric was the phrase coined to describe the model, and it was the sabermetric approach that turned Billy Beane’s baseball team on its head.

The team became completely devoted to the numbers. Every decision was made after reviewing the data – from which players to recruit, who to retain and when to release someone. They challenged all their assumptions, looked at unique scenarios, ran what-if analysis and did not hesitate if the data dictated a change in direction.

It’s no different for company car fleet management.

Data analytics should be at the heart of every strategic and policy decision. Advances in data collation and analysis tools allow those with responsibility for fleet to model supply chain networks, run what-if scenrios and conduct contingency planning. They can also model strategic change, whereas spend analysis can identify consolidation and rationalisation opportunities.

The challenge, however, for many companies who have outsourced their company car fleet is capturing the data. After outsourcing, the knowledge base becomes unbalanced. The supply chain hold all the data and typically only feed sanitised information to the company. Running data analytics and making decisions based on the data feed can become very challenging.

Data analytics is fundamental to Fleetworx and is central to the value-add for our clients. We do, however, appreciate the challenges a company faces when outsourcing their car fleet and have written a whitepaper about the unintended consequences, and how to avoid them. Knowledge imbalance is a key consequence and, although it may not appear problematic, the lack of data and transparency can seriously compromise the ability to analyse the correct numbers and take advantage of what those numbers suggest.

And if you were wondering what happened to Billy Beane’s team, well, after implementing sabermetrics, they went on to a record-tying winning streak of 19 consecutive games and into the play-offs (which is a good thing) and Billy Beanes’ model became regarded by many as the future of baseball. A definite game-changer.

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