There’s no doubt that regulatory compliance can be costly, but are you making the most of your required investment in technology?
For trucking companies, it’s essential to ask that question as you prepare for the December 2017 implementation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) electronic logging device rule, or ELD mandate.
Taking a longer view when investing in new ELD technology is a strategy that forward-thinking fleets can use to their advantage. Making the right choices now can lead to opportunities to:
- Reduce operating costs
- Improve asset utilization & fleet productivity
- Enhance driver retention
- Provide a higher level of customer service
By recording key driver and vehicle information, every compliant ELD performs the same baseline functions. While the primary regulatory purpose of this data stream is to accurately document a driver’s Hours of Service (HOS) and to make that information available on-demand during a roadside inspection, ELD technology also represents an invaluable business intelligence resource in the form of real-time visibility.
We’ve all heard a lot lately about connected vehicles, about using mobile technology to access the vast and growing amount of valuable business-critical data available from today’s high-tech equipment to build a truly connected enterprise. When it comes to ELDs, however, whether or not this intelligence is actionable will depend on a fleet’s compliance strategy.
Why Choosing the Right ELD Solution is so Important for Transportation Businesses
By investing in a more versatile ELD solution, fleets can lay the groundwork for achieving a deeper and more valuable view into the many operational variables that impact their competitiveness and profitability. So before deciding on an ELD solution, consider the potential benefits beyond compliance. Ask yourself if an ELD can be integrated easily with your current and future technology platforms, and how it can help you address challenges.
For example, can an ELD be an enabler of improved driver satisfaction and retention by monitoring detention time and reducing in-cab paperwork? By tracking data, can it be used for incentive-based pay programs or to improve safety by helping pinpoint behaviors such as hard braking, excessive acceleration and speed and lane departures?
With an increasing number of onboard sensors available to monitor vehicle condition and use, the right ELD can be a gateway to collect highly valuable data. For instance, can an ELD help reduce fuel costs by enabling you to more accurately monitor idle time, out-of-route miles and other variables that impact overall fuel consumption? Can an ELD help identify potential maintenance issues before they cause costly breakdowns or become safety concerns?
Assigning the right equipment and drivers to the right loads is always a complex challenge for fleets, especially when dispatch and operations personnel don’t have access to current vehicle and HOS information. An ELD that is tightly integrated with transportation management systems to provide real-time visibility into these variables can lead to increased equipment utilization and improve driver productivity by enabling smarter load and lane assignment choices.
Taking a Longer View to Gain a Competitive Advantage
An ELD can also be on a key tool as you work to grow your business. Many carriers, for instance, are expanding in existing markets and looking for new opportunities such as those presented by e-commerce and Final Mile delivery operations. But success in those arenas depends on the integration of routing and scheduling solutions with ELD, mobile communications and other onboard technologies.
Equipment, drivers and management systems are all critical to trucking operations, but information is one of the most valuable assets you have at your disposal. The effective collection and analysis of actionable business intelligence can be the difference between being able to simply react and having the power to proactively adjust to dynamic business and market conditions.
A shortsighted ELD compliance strategy is a technological one-way street. It focuses only on minimizing your initial investment and achieving baseline compliance, and could actually cost more over time.
A long-term approach to ELDs that coordinates immediate compliance needs with an eye toward enabling capabilities you need to enhance competitiveness is the right choice in a rapidly evolving transportation market.
Download our complimentary white paper, “ELD Compliance: Are You Headed Down a One-Way Street?” Make sure you have the information to make a good choice.