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Top Tips For Trucking Companies to Optimize Your ELD Usage

Top Tips For Trucking Companies to Optimize Your ELD Usage

Is your fleet using your ELDs properly? We are now a couple years into the ELD mandate, so trucking companies across the country have had plenty of time to figure out the most effective way to use these devices. If you haven’t optimized how you use your ELD, you are missing out. That’s why we wanted to take a moment to reintroduce you to your ELDs and provide you with a primer on how to get the most out of them.

Robust Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) can track driver hours and make sure your fleet is in compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. Yet, many fleets hobble themselves by using ELDs only for logging time. The fact is electronic logging is just one component of a larger mobile fleet management solution.

In addition to eliminating HOS violations, a flexible ELD solution should help truck drivers and fleets improve fuel efficiency, retain drivers, improve safety, and deliver exceptional customer experience. They should be a complete end-to-end fleet solution that improves safety, cuts costs, and adds to the bottom lin.

Why Does It Matter?

Do you want to eliminate Hours of Service Violations HOS violations result in fines, damage to Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) scores, and increased insurance premiums that hike up operational costs? Of course, you do! If your fleet is at the mercy of these problems, you might find yourself out-of-service. Consider this nugget: According to the FMCSA, a driver convicted of an out-of-service order violation is subject to a civil penalty of at least $2,750.

The answer could be through automation. By automating the HOS logging process, a good ELD solution can help prevent some of the most common and worst truck driving offenses. These include everything from the falsification of logs, accidentally exceeding the 14-hour drive limit, or not taking a required 30-minute break after a full 8 hours of drive time has passed.

Who doesn’t want to increase their profit margin through enhances fuel savings? Not only that, money is saved through truck driver behavior and vehicle monitoring. Fuel use and truck driver behaviors are the largest contributors to improved fuel efficiency.

When fleets use truck driver performance monitoring, they not only single out and retain the best truck drivers in the fleet, but they can also more effectively coach lower-performing drivers. Monitoring and maintaining a tractor’s health can also help increase fuel efficiency.

There are a lot of facts pointing to the effectiveness of behavior change. Consider some simple statistics that directly impact how much fuel you use. When a truck reduces its speed from 75 mph to 65 mph, it will increase the vehicle’s fuel efficiency by 27%. Here is another one: Keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure can improve your fuel usage up to 3%.

Idling is also a big problem. More than ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine. Consider how often trucks idle in the real world. Idling a heavy truck consumes nearly a gallon of fuel per hour and a standard size truck idling for one quarter of the truck driver’s workday will consume $2,500 annually.

Retaining Top Talent

What is the one thing fleet managers want to do more than anything? To retain their best truck drivers. The last thing anyone wants to do is sink a ton of money into a new truck driver only to lose them later. But how do you do that? Try metric based ELD workflow solutions.

The competition is heating up. As such, fleets need to get creative in how they address keeping top talent. One method to improve retention is to implement a truck driver incentive program. Incentive programs based on metrics delivered through your ELD solution allow you to reward the best of the best.

Even better, these programs are easy to administer by simply basing the incentive payments off solutions focused on truck driver performance monitoring.  How does this compare with how truck drivers are being treated in today’s transportation environment?

Consider that truck driver pay rose 33.6% from 2012 through 2017, and with the COVID pandemic, the number continues to rise today. Nearly 80% of most fleet operators are offering truckers sign-on bonuses, with some being offered more than ten grand and up. There are a lot of enticing offers out there for an enterprising truck driver. And yet fleets often forget that it typically costs approximately $8,000 to replace a driver.

Focus on Safety

There are far too many advanced features in modern ELD solutions for 21st Century trucking companies to not take advantage of them. Although fatalities are down with far less people on the roads, there are still safety gains to be made and the numbers support it.

Did you know that four out of five accidents on roads and highways are caused by distracted driving? So how does a smart trucking company avoid becoming a party to that statistic? Consider an advanced ELD solution: In-motion interface technology and hands-free text-to-speech capabilities. This may sound like science fiction, but it will help your truck drivers reduce in-cab truck driver distraction.

Here is some more food for thought. A full 30% of commercial motor vehicle-involves accidents are the result of speeding. But that doesn’t have to be you. Integrate a critical event reporting application into your ELD solution. This way you can reduce speeding by monitoring behavior in near-real time.

Fatigue is also a big problem. Truck drivers spend a long time behind the wheel. It should be no surprise ten that 10% of crashes are caused by someone who is too tired to be behind the wheel. ELD solutions with built in drowsy driving alerts will keep truck drivers awake if they start to get tired.  Prevent the crash before it happens.

Above all, you want to ensure your truck drivers get home safely and soundly with a load delivered on time. There is no reason why you should have to separate your safety considerations from your desire for efficiency and a thicker bottom line. Safety should not be viewed through the lens of a cost.

Look After Your Reputation

Technological solutions are not always about what is going on in the cab as the freight is delivered. There are many aspects to your operation that impact customer service.

Providing exceptional customer service is vital to the growth of any business and trucking companies are no different. With the most up to date ELD technology, fleet managers can view truck driver location, delivery status, available drive time, and vehicle health in near-real time and deliver excellent customer experience. When your customers are happy, your entire company is happy.

But how specifically can something like ELD technology help you up your game? Let’s start with asset allocation. Are you specifically allocating your loads based on the location of your truck drivers in real-time? There are many ways that a wrench can be thrown into your operation. Will you be ready?

What happens if you have a job that needs to be picked up, but you don’t have the resources available? With vehicle availability and location data, you can quickly identify available capacity based on location, hours, and delivery status. This way you keep customers and truck drivers happy. A smooth operation results in more opportunity for everyone.

Fleetwide ELD flow management solutions allow motor carriers to quickly respond to customer service inquiries. When you have access to GPS data, vehicle data, and available drive time information, you can handle all your customer needs in one fell swoop. Get ready for all those five-star Google reviews!

Finally, consider your team. Wouldn’t it be great to vastly improve driver-manager-customer communication? When you have access to the wealth of information provided by advanced ELD solutions, your team better aligns various tasks and projects. Things get done much quicker and with far less confusion.

Even more, it is less taxing on your truck drivers’ time and enables your fleet managers to coach and instruct efficiently and quickly. This improved communication and problem-resolution capability will take your trucking company’s overall level of customer service to an entirely new level. When you spend less time resolving internal issues, you have more time and energy available to show your customers how much they mean to your business.

In the end, a quality, well-used ELD solution can provide fleets with a necessary tools and systems combined with a wide array of fleet optimization options. The capabilities advanced ELDs provide to motor carriers should not be taken lightly. They may be just what your fleet needs to take your operation to the next level.

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