“We’ve been focused on helping fleet customers understand the full landscape and impact ELDs will have on their business—specifically why it’s important to take this as an opportunity to implement changes above and beyond satisfying the minimum requirements per the mandate,” says Jim Griffin, chief technology officer at Fleet Advantage. “The value of the additional data that is available and ability to analyze that data to drive bottom-line costs down is significant.
“The new ELD mandate will be a key factor in the decision of which system to choose,” he continues, “but we are advising our customers to look beyond the mandate. With a plethora of options on vendors, applications, features and costs, where do you start? This conversation is where our dialogue begins with our fleet customers.
“In addition to comprehensive knowledge into the advanced telematics offered to fleets today, we’re working with fleets to help connect the telematics to a suite of data, analytics and business intelligence that will help bring more visibility into the decision-making necessary to continuously drive costs out of their operation,” Griffin adds. “It’s not just about having the data, but it’s about having the tools such as our new ATLAAS truck lifecycle software that can analyze the data and make it digestible and actionable to positively impact the bottom line.”
“Our advice to fleets is: Don’t wait. Determine if you are looking for an ELD-only solution or a more comprehensive telematics solution, and implement it sooner rather than later,” MiX Telematics’s Allen advises. “You are going to need help to truly understand your business requirements. Find a vendor who can also be a partner. By mid-2017, it’s going to be tough to find a vendor that has time to take you on before the deadline. There will be queues for implementation, which may cause some latecomers to miss the deadline.”
Compliance and tools
PeopleNet currently offers solutions that will be compliant until Dec. 18, 2019, after which a software update will be needed to maintain compliance.
“Depending on the age of the AOBRD, a fleet might also need to upgrade its display monitors,” says Chianelli. “PeopleNet is in the process of developing a certified ELD device. The FMCSA is pulling together the detailed test cases and wrapping up the details of this certification process. In order to get added to the FMCSA published certified ELD List, all suppliers will need to build and enhance their products to comply with the new rules. The supplier industry has estimated that these efforts can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months. Once a supplier has a device that meets the ELD Mandate criteria, they will self-certify the device and submit for FMCSA review and publication. More than likely, we will not see approved ELDs being added to the list until late this year and early 2017, based on the supplier market feedback.”
Drivewyze offers weigh station bypass, which can help fleets more fully leverage its ELD compliance. “With the ELDs of participating providers, truck fleets have access to a subscription-based weigh station bypass service,” notes Johnson. “This service can result in potentially significant time and fuel savings based on where their trucks operate and their safety scores. We also offers a complimentary insight tool called PreClear Analytics that fleets can activate on their Drivewyze-enabled ELDs. With this application activated, fleets can determine exactly how much the bypass service will save them long before they turn it on.”
Using geo-fences established at more than 1,200 permanent and temporary weigh stations and inspection sites across the United States, Drivewyze’s ‘smart transponder’ technology allows fleets to monitor, in a more precise way, the time each of their trucks spend pulled into a weigh station or mobile inspection site. With that data, Johnson said his company can use a fleet’s own cost-per-mile benchmarks to determine exactly how much time and money they lose due to unplanned delays at weigh stations. A carrier can then make a data-driven decision whether to invest in a bypass service or to switch to Drivewyze from another bypass service provider.
“Since ELDs can help fleets improve their HOS tracking and documentation, and track equipment condition using its telematics functions, improved vehicle inspection reports can result,” Johnson continues, “and that ultimately results in improving safety scores, which in turn can offer fleets more bypass opportunities. It sets in motion a virtuous cycle of improved safety scores and additional bypasses, making ELD compliance even more advantageous.”
“We offer an array of custom services to assist with training, compliance management and more. Pedigree Technologies’ goal is to make ELD easy for carriers and drivers. Just don’t wait until it’s too late,” says Pedigree Technologies’ DeCock.
“We have developed tools found in our HOS online help sites to assist fleets with implementation plans, which embrace training and go beyond with suggested timetables for accomplishment,” says GPS Insight’s Gaither. “Each customer has unlimited and cost-free access to an assigned account manager, ELD sales engineer, and our U.S.-based support team. In addition to our compliant ELD product suite, we maintain dedicated websites for reference material, white papers, FMCSA documents, training aids, implementation plans and more. Our solutions are designed for light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Our experience with mixed fleets wherein ELD is new to them is a significant advantage to those fleets where drivers only occasionally are tasked to document HOS compliance.”
The VDO RoadLog portfolio of ELDs and software that provides compliance and fleet management solutions for fleets from one truck to over 100 trucks. “We offer a choice of plug-and-play ELDs with options that include no monthly fees and no contracts to full wireless connectivity as well as a complete suite of office software packages that make compliance easy and affordable,” Capelle says. “To make choosing the right combination of hardware and software fast and easy, we’ve developed an interactive ‘RoadLog Selection Tool’ that can be found on our website. The right ELD technology can open the door to vastly more efficient operation by automating the compliance process.”
While fleets can more fully leverage the data the device gathers, they can also reap the safety score improvements that can result from ELD usage. Since ELDs can help fleets improve their HOS tracking and documentation, and track equipment condition using its telematics functions, improved vehicle inspection reports can result. Ultimately, that results in improving safety scores, which, in turn, can offer fleets more bypass opportunities. It sets in motion a virtuous cycle of improved safety scores and additional bypasses, making ELD compliance even more advantageous.
Although it took quite some time for the FMCSA to publish the final rule, the ELD mandate has been in the works for years, points out MiX Telematics’s Allen. The company’s solutions already incorporate much of what is mandated, such as automated HOS tracking and electronic logging.
“None of this is new,” he says. “Right now, we’re working with current customers to help them understand what, if anything, needs to be updated on their systems prior to Dec. 2019. In most cases, our customers will just need to update their software to be compliant with ELD.”
The company’s systems already incorporate much of what is required in the ELD mandate, including automated HOS tracking, electronic logging and support for the all of the HOS rule sets including Intrastate and Oilfield.
“The problem in our industry is that only about one in four fleets is already using a system like ours,” Allen says. “The ELD mandate is intended to direct the other 75% to get with the program.”