How to implement an ELD strategy

Fleet Managers and ELD Compliance: Three Things You Should Know

Mar 19, 2019
The clock is ticking.

By December 16th, 2019, all transportation carriers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate must be equipped with self-certified devices that are registered with the FMCSA. Apart from the broad ELD mandate, fleets are subject to a wide range of more specific regulations, with varying deadlines according to business size. The Food Safety Modernization Act, for example, requires that operators install temperature monitoring systems on all vehicles that transport fresh and frozen food.

Bottom line: the transportation industry is being subjected to increasing scrutiny. While fleet managers are aware of the mandates and deadlines, implementation rates appear to be low. This suggests that many operators are simply procrastinating, and/or assuming that meeting the standard will be a quick and simple process.

If you’re a fleet manager who – for whatever reason – hasn’t yet implemented your ELD strategy, here are three things to consider.

1. Don’t wait until the last minute.
The main reason is the law of supply and demand. A Q4 rush for ELDs could deplete inventories and spike provider rates. That could leave you waiting for devices and/or paying premium prices. Moreover, while checking the box of compliance is relatively straightforward, getting it right – especially across a large fleet of vehicles – can take longer than you might expect.

2. Don’t overbuy – but don’t miss an opportunity to improve your business.
ELD compliance options range from bargain basement to platinum. Doing whatever is needed to meet the FMCSA standard is obviously critical. That said, keep in mind that an ELD can establish a foundation for ongoing data collection and analysis that enables a wide range of improvements. Consider these examples:

  • Monitor driver behavior and send alerts to drowsy or distracted drivers and to dispatchers
  • Improve customer experience and management of delivery schedules through location tracking
  • Track valuable cargo
  • Gauge a truck engine’s idle time, fuel levels and consumption, speed, RPMs and more
  • Gain insight into causes of accidents by capturing detailed data on speed, acceleration and other measures before and after a collision
  • Optimize field labor by providing dispatchers with flexible workforce management by capabilities
  • Improve inventory control through predictive analytics and enable dynamic pricing by forecasting demand
  • Mitigate risk and reduce liability

3. Find a solution that you can customize to meet your needs.
An optimal ELD strategy takes advantage of intelligent sensors, real-time communications, analytical platform and existing applications to address specific requirements.

Flexibility and adaptability are essential. No two operations are alike – variables include size of fleets, geographies and distances covered, customer profiles, cargoes transported, etc. This mix of variables, in turn, defines priorities and identifies opportunities where improvement can deliver an edge. A fleet that moves a lot of frozen goods long distances might make temperature monitoring a priority, while asset tracking would be key for a fleet that ships expensive electronics. Subsequently, data collection and analysis can be applied to refine and optimize different parts of your operation.

The ability to start small and grow is key. Avoid committing to a significant upfront investment. At the same time, don’t’ limit the horizon of how far you can go. Here, it’s imperative that ELDs have open interfaces that easily integrate new applications with existing databases and dispatch and accounting systems. Absent these capabilities, the benefits of your smart device strategy will be limited to peripheral add-ons.

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Patrick Verdugo

Manager of IoT and Over the Top Solutions, with extensive global and cross-industry IoT experience providing tailored solutions characterized by reliability, scalability, performance and high availability.

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