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An application-focused approach to ELD selection

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To help fleets manage their drivers in the field, Telogis, a Verizon co., has made significant upgrades to its Telogis WorkPlan suite of mobile applications that manage a commercial driver’s day including their federally mandated hours of service (HOS). Through WorkPlan’s HOS module, drivers are now capable of selecting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) 150-air-mile non-CDL short-haul exemption upon login, which automatically switches a driver from exempt to active status if they travel outside the regulated radius and are not back to their starting location within the allotted time. With this new capability, commercial drivers whose routes vary from day to day stay compliant by processing logs.

In addition to HOS-specific upgrades, Telogis WorkPlan now enables users to identify when changes to forms have been made, and provides them with the ability to reset passwords from the app’s login screen. WorkPlan also allows workers to manage work orders from the field, minimizing time spent preparing, planning and processing work orders. It also incorporates HOS management features with HOS limit warnings, further automating the process. Updates to log signatures and driver notifications when rest/break provisions are met were also added.

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Commercial drivers who currently monitor their HOS and the companies that employ them will need to purchase and integrate an ELD solution before the federally mandated deadline on Dec. 18, 2017. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) ELD requirements are intended to minimize human error and eliminate the stress of completing daily HOS logs by hand. HOS ensures drivers’ logs are up to date, while supporting federal and state rules as well as widely used local exemptions.

To learn more about the updates and Telogis’ approach to the upcoming mandate, Fleet Equipment spoke with Erin Cave, vice president of product management for compliance and navigation solutions at Telogis.

Fleet Equipment (FE): Telogis WorkPlan will send HOS and location notifications. How do those work and who sees them?

Cave: A popup would appear on the interface of the application that would say you surpassed the 150-mile air radius threshold and it would switch to the federal rules or whatever that fleet has set as their default. It’s important to note that this is a fleet configuration item. There are some fleets that don’t want their drivers to think about it, so they don’t allow them to use it. For those that do, obviously they want them to know. That way, the driver’s not nervous about making the wrong calculation if they go off route, have to alter their route, or are in heavy-traffic. We keep track of it, and if the driver goes past it, we’ll take care of them.

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FE: As you work with customers, both existing and new alike, how have you seen fleets respond to ELD mandate?

Cave: I think, for a long time, fleets were thinking that the mandate was not going to happen. Over the past eight weeks or so, we’ve seen people begin to understand that this is definitely happening, and now they’re trying to figure out what they’re going to do. A couple of months ago, the FMCSA had a meeting for the providers to clarify some of their data transfer protocols and some of the various interpretations and gray areas of the mandate. The one thing that we heard from them loud and clear, was this December date is happening, and ignoring it is not a good idea. I think the FMCSA understands that they have things that they need to complete on their side, but they’re moving forward.

FE: We talk a lot about what ELD solutions can do beyond just compliance—the air radius functionality is a perfect example of that. What percentage of fleets would want that kind of customization in their solution, and is there room for more fleets to take advantage of that?

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Cave: As a whole, when you talk about what more can you do, that’s where, for us, the ELD mandate, as a service is just a piece of the puzzle. We’re looking to automate the workflow for the fleet’s drivers, for all of the pieces of their day, from when they get into the vehicle, when they select the job, the stop or the dispatcher, or any other pre-set metric. The Telogis ELD service runs in the background, giving the back office the ability to send messages and navigate directly to that stop using commercial navigation. It’s all an integrated environment. Because we’re bring your own device (BYOD), fleets have the ability to add other applications that maybe are very fleet specific onto that same device.

FE: It sounds like the approach is for fleets could just come to you, as a service provider, with their problems, or say, “This is a big sticking point for me—is there any way analyze it and automate it?”

Cave: The industry knows that we have lots of data, and it’s about making smart decisions from that data. The question is: What can we do to make the right decision and make things more efficient? For a lot of fleets, the margins are thin, so they’re going to optimize work and find efficiencies wherever they can. On the driver experience and mobile side, it’s all about being more efficient throughout the day for the drivers.

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FE: Do you have any advice for fleets vetting technology partners? What should they stay away from in terms of solutions that may over-promise and under-deliver?

Cave: It is a complicated landscape out there. There are lots of smaller vendors who are coming out and saying they have a cheap application for compliance. We do a lot more than just the ELD compliance piece, which is where our value comes in. Established technology providers like Telogis can offer business efficiency. We have a lot of enterprise companies, and a long history in the telematics industry. We’re not new. We understand the rules and regulations, and we can work with you to implement this within your fleet. Change is hard for everyone, and implementing a new system requires a lot of time and a lot of training. There’s a whole comfort factor for drivers, so you really have to have a provider that is not just giving you one piece of software. You need a provider who has industry knowledge.

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