Managing a fleet isn’t just about tracking where your vehicles are headed and if they’ve reached their destinations. Fleet management is about streamlining your logistics and assets. It’s about ensuring smooth operations and transparency to maximize your profits. It also involves implementing a system that ensures strict compliance with the law.
For example, as you know, there’s an industry mandate in both Canada and the U.S. that demands commercial motor vehicles use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to track hours-of-service records (HOS). The ELD mandates will affect your overall approach to fleet management, requiring the implementation of an ELD solution across your fleet.
What is an ELD Solution?
ELD systems are essentially an electronic log that gathers drive-time data on the vehicle’s engine and automatically produces driver’s HOS records to make sure they get ample amount of rest between shifts. ELD solutions are designed to accurately monitor driver status, shifts, and break times to help them avoid road fatigue. They monitor vehicle speed, RPM, odometer readings, engine hours, and even weather conditions.
Ensuring your fleet adheres to the new mandate is a necessary step for minimizing and preventing accidents or injuries on the road. Compliance also means you’ll be able to better manage fleet logistics, automate a lot of the administration, and keep your drivers safer on the road.
With these new rules in place, and the advantages businesses gain using ELDs, companies offering solutions have started to pop up left and right. There are many options available today, making it difficult to decide which one can provide the tools and features that business actually needs.
To that end, here are some key questions you should consider before committing to an ELD solution:
1. Is It Reliable and Accurate?
You need to be able to trust that your ELD system will deliver accurate reports come inspection time. This means your solution should be gathering all driver log data accurately and consistently without errors. Otherwise, you won’t be able to comply with the basics of the ELD mandate. In addition, your solution should have very reliable up-times—meaning you can rely on the service to work when you need it.
Make sure that your provider can deliver services with transparency on these factors so you can determine whether or not it’s a solution you can trust.
2. Is It Certified?
The use of ELDs is anchored in compliance. It only makes sense, therefore, that the ELD solution you choose should be compliant and certified by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) in the United States. In Canada, the ELD solution of your choice must be certified by a third-party certification body accredited by the Minister of Transport. Although no devices have been fully certified in Canada at this time, BigRoad has officially submitted its application for Canadian ELD certification.
The DOT (Department of Transportation) and Transport Canada has stipulated stringent sets of technical specifications that ELD solutions must comply with. So, if you’re eyeing a particular company, it would be best to start your vetting process by checking if their business is included in the DOT list, or if they have submitted their device for Canadian ELD certification.
3. What Else Can the ELD Solution Do for You?
It’s likely you started looking at ELD solutions for your fleet to comply with the mandate. However, it should be noted that fleet management systems that include ELDs offer a lot more features that can help you manage and streamline your fleet.
An integrated fleet solution can offer real-time GPS tracking, IFTA feature, idle-time tracking, vehicle diagnostics, driver behaviour scorecards and fleet-wide reports, among many other features that will complement your ELD. Messaging, real-time alerts, and notifications are also standard features that should be included.
4. Is It Scalable?
A primary objective of any business is growth. Therefore, it should go without saying that any tool that you implement should be able to scale with you, as your business grows and evolves. Be sure to ask your ELD provider if they have the capacity to handle growth and up to what point. Check that your provider is able to deliver software updates regularly. This demonstrates that their company is focused on building a platform that can evolve to address a business’s future needs.
5. Is It Easy to Use?
Like any technology or tool used in the workplace, it’s important that your system is as easy to use as it is effective. Fleet management is complex. Asking your drivers to use a technology they’re unfamiliar with can frustrate them and lead to compliance problems if it’s not easy enough to learn.
Make sure your ELD solution is simple and very easy to use by choosing a platform that puts a strong focus on user-friendliness.
A comprehensive fleet management solution starts by finding the right tools that address your fleet’s real needs. BigRoad is the industry’s most comprehensive telematics and IoT-powered solutions provider for ELD-compliant, tailor-made fleet management for enterprises across multiple industries and countries. With BigRoad’s web platform, you get a big-picture view of your fleet, from accessing vehicle metrics to tracking vehicles, and with support for smartphones and other mobile devices.
Get in touch with us today to receive a free demo and find out how BigRoad can help improve your company’s fleet management.