Turning ELD Compliance into Business Advantage
The deadline is looming. After many years in the making, this December, fleets across North America will need to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) ELD rule. For many, this means saying goodbye to inefficient paper logs and a migration to a new electronic logging device for tracking, managing and sharing records of duty (RODS) status data. Here’s a quick run down of the requirements (courtesy of the FMCSA) for those not yet up to speed:
- The electronic logging device (ELD) rule is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier, faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data.
- For carriers using AOBRDs (automatic onboard recording devices) before the rule compliance date December 18, 2017, the rule will replace AOBRDs with ELDs over a four-year implementation period.
- An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording.
- The rule applies to most carriers and drivers who are required to maintain RODS.
For the busy owner/operator, the ELD compliance effort may feel like a giant, extra headache on top of all the daily pressures that come with running a fleet business. There are rules and regulations that need to be reviewed. There’s new technology to install. Drivers need to be convinced, then trained on a new way of doing business. And there’s ongoing monitoring to make sure they are truly complying with the regulations.
However, the real truth of the matter is that the ELD mandate offers far more promise and business advantage to fleets than it does hassle. Fleets need to regard ELD compliance as an opportunity to bring their operations into the 21st century, implement new business process efficiencies, boost fleet productivity, and perhaps most important of all, empower their drivers. The key is to work with the right ELD provider to make sure that your compliance investment goes far beyond the necessary checkmark. While all ELD manufacturers have to register their solution with the FMCSA and meet the technical specifications set forth by the FMCSA, there is a wide variation the full solution each manufacturer brings to the table. Fleets should carefully examine each vendor and select a partner that not only will enable compliance, but deliver real upside for the business overall.
Here are such some of the business advantages fleets can realize with the right ELD compliance solution.
1. Greater fleet business efficiency
Let’s face it, paper based processes are a huge productivity burn, and the root of fleet inefficiency. When drivers manually record RODS on paper, there’s always room for error — even poor handwriting could cause issues during a DOT pullover. Drivers who move to an electronic system for logging RODS may be skeptical at first, but once comfortable with the new system will see the additional benefits to the old way of doing things. Electronic HOS data also helps make compliance much faster and simpler, saving fleets much needed time by not manually building compliance reports. See additional efficiency HOS features provided here. Beyond the scope of ELD, a modern fleet management solution offers robust GPS navigation, near real time traffic analysis and driver ETAs, and two-way hands free driver communication, helping drivers maximize their productivity, make more stops in a day and enable a higher level of customer satisfaction.
2. Business transparency and insight
Modern fleet management solutions have grown far beyond the “where’s my vehicle?” GPS technology of the old. Today’s solutions incorporate sophisticated telematics capabilities, so fleets can better monitor the overall maintenance health of their fleet and drive “smarter.” They also include robust reporting so fleets can gather historical data on the movement of their mobile workforce to better plan and resource for growth.
3. Better connectivity = greater productivity
With a robust fleet management system installed in every vehicle, drivers become the front line of every fleet business process. There’s greater immediate connectivity and data flow. This not only helps drivers and dispatch become more productive and efficient with their time. It also allows fleets to communicate with customers to let them know the whereabouts of shipments and deliveries. It means fleets can do more in a day. And it means they can record successful jobs and invoice more swiftly.
4. Improved customer relationships
Remaining in compliance with HOS regulations means that fleets can do their utmost to protect their safety record. Having a good clean record of performance helps to attract the best drivers, and those brand name customers who have policies about working with only top tier fleet providers. Superior GPS navigation capabilities, traffic information and ongoing driver communication can help eliminate many of the frustrations customers feel when they can’t track an order or shipment and have no idea of a driver’s whereabouts or time of arrival.
5. Safer, better driving behaviors
The most modern fleet management solutions now include advanced features such as driver coaching, which provides visual and audio feedback to drivers, just as if a feet/owner operator was riding alongside in the cab as a passenger. By making drivers aware in the moment of their own driving behaviors, such as harsh braking or turns, excessive idling or speeding, helps drivers feel empowered to improve their own performance.
The timeline for ELD compliance is a short one. Fleets have just about 7 months of runway to ensure they are ready to meet FMCSA requirements. However, when one stops to consider all the added benefits that can come from adopting an ELD compliant fleet management solution, fleets may be compelled to actually want to accelerate that timeline. Learn more how to comply with the ELD mandate for complete peace of mind with WEBFLEET ELD Manager.