We live in a world where managing a fleet incorrectly can cost you hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of dollars. However, in worlds of popular culture, fantasy, and science fiction, a mismanaged fleet can cost you your life. A mistake could lead to the loss of your sovereignty, your power, or even your home. These huge teams of characters need to communicate and work together effectively to meet their goals, whether those goals include destroying their enemies, taking over Westeros, or exploring the galaxy.
How would these characters and their fleets compare with each other? What are their strengths and weaknesses and what can we learn from their shortfalls?
We’ve stacked fictional fleets against each other using a simple system, rating them based on some of our real world fleet management key performance indicators (KPIs). Click here to learn about the key measurement categories we used to rank them.
- Driver Behavior: All fleets are comprised of individuals. Those individuals need to be very talented, focused and be able to listen to commands. Strong-willed and intense individuals who struggle with following orders, like those in Top Gun and The Fast and the Furious franchise, might have issues. Rebellious characters are certainly more fun to watch, but their inability to work with others can lead to disastrous results, as seen in those movies. In the real world, driver behavior is essential to study in order to promote safe driving habits.
- Fleet Maintenance: How often do vehicles within the fleet require major and minor fixes? How often does forward momentum need to stop in order for someone to “pull over” (which, in this context, could mean floating vulnerably in space)? Usually, because maintenance is dull to watch, we don’t see characters fixing up their vehicles. There are exceptions. For instance, the astromech droids, like R2-D2 from Star Wars, perform real-time maintenance while in battle. But, in any situation, fleet maintenance and vehicle analytics are essential in real life.
- Reactive Capability: This is important especially in the fantasy and sci-fi realms, where whole groups need to be able to adapt quickly to the ridiculous, strange, and intimidating enemies or obstacles they may suddenly stumble across. Flexibility to change and improve a plan is absolutely key. The Star Trek universe is famous for its captains switching up plans, changing course, and coming up with new ideas on the fly. We should all hope to be so adaptable!
- Environmental Impact: One might argue that space fleets and land armadas of fiction don’t concern themselves with the environment they’re steamrolling over. By-and-large, that’s correct. But that’s not something we can afford to ignore on Earth.
- Managerial Control: Effective fleet management is important and the right manager or leader is the key. One that fails to communicate quickly can harm the performance of the entire fleet. Smart and effective managers like Daenerys Targaryen, Captain Kirk, or Optimus Prime can help the entire group operate more effectively. This KPI measures the extent of effective control the leader has over the group.