The new FMCSA Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate will be taking effect December 17th 2017, making electronic logging devices mandatory for all long-haul truck drivers operating in the United States. According to the ELD Mandate, trucks that do not have an ELD installed after December 17th 2017 will be subject to penalties for non-compliance.
Choosing the Right ELD Solution Provider
If you’re like most folks in the long-haul trucking industry, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the regulatory specifications and seemingly endless variety of providers claiming they have the optimal ELD solution. Navigating all the pros and cons of various ELD providers can be challenging because many of them will cater towards certain sectors, and determining which one will serve you best depends on your specific requirements — that aren’t always so easily and broadly defined. Some providers offer plenty of complex functionality that can be difficult to use and others supply very basic features that might not be enough to satisfy your needs. As with many other technologies, you want to find something that’s robust enough to get the job done, while still being user friendly for your employees.
ELD as Part of Your Fleet Management Solution
Most drivers, dispatchers, fleet managers and business executives haven’t chosen to implement electronic logging devices, it’s something they need to do to stay compliant with the upcoming ELD mandate. Now is the time to decide whether you want to go with a bare bones solution to check off a box and keep your fleet legal, or if you’d like to explore all the other features and benefits that go along with fleet management solutions.
Providers that offer an easy to use and fully certified ELD solution as a part of their overall fleet management platform will give you the option to grow your functionality over time within the program. Having all your fleet management applications under one roof is significantly easier than running multiple programs that may or may not have the ability to communicate with one another.
What do you need under your fleet management roof? Live Locates, ELD, IFTA reporting and historical route logs? Maybe your requirements five years from now will be different from what they are today. As such, it’s probably a good idea to chose a provider who can adapt to your needs as they evolve over time so you don’t need to make a business disrupting change in provider(s) down the road.
A diverse functionality base is certainly important, but perhaps more crucial are the people behind the products. Fleets and the people that support them are constantly evolving. Having adequate customer support to keep all your vehicles and staff members up to date is a pivotal when looking at the ongoing success of your fleet management solution. Different providers will display their GPS and ELD data in various ways, but the overall functionality tends to be very similar across the board, so making a decision based on the amount of customer support provided is a good way to distinguish between and average solution and an optimal one.
Providers must also be versatile in their ability to utilize various networks and hardware types if they’re going to give you maximum coverage and versatility. You want to avoid getting trapped into only being able to use one cellular network that has poor coverage in certain parts of your fleet’s operational territory. Being able to run the ELD application on the device of your choosing will mean much fewer headaches down the road when you need to add or replace devices. Providers that aren’t divisions of large cellular carriers tend to have the most autonomy when it comes to utilizing various cellular networks and supporting multiple hardware types.
Preparing for the ELD Mandate
Before you go shopping for your electronic logging device solution to comply with the upcoming ELD Mandate:
- Be sure to evaluate your fleet’s requirements (operational territory, desired device type, amount of customer support needed etc.) beforehand so you’ll know the right questions to ask, such as, “Is user training included in your package?”
- Avoid focusing exclusively on price, it’s worth spending a few extra bucks a month on quality customer support if it means saving yourself hours of your own time down the road trying to troubleshoot.
- Get the team involved. The more people you’re able to involve in the initial decision-making process the more consensus you’ll have, which will mitigate controversy.
Have more questions regarding the upcoming ELD Mandate or electronic logging devices? Leave a comment or give us a call and we’ll be happy to chat about it.