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ELD Implementation: Lessons Learned From a Carrier Perspective

ELD Implementation: Lessons Learned From a Carrier Perspective | The Road

As December 18 draws closer, many carriers are currently facing important decisions about electronic logging devices (ELDs) in order to comply with the federal mandate. My company, Transport America, was at the same point four years ago.

With over 1,000 trucks in our fleet and even more drivers to get up to speed, it was a slow process initially and certainly a learning experience. But the electronic logs have become an integral part of our business, and we have found the technology comes with many advantages as well.

Lessons learned after ELD implementation

Lessons learned after ELD implementation | The Road

Initial concerns were soon dissolved.
It’s human nature to be wary of the unknown. Initially, our team had a fair amount of anxiety about switching to electronic logs: How will it impact productivity? Will drivers still be able to make a living? What if I’m five miles from home and I reach my hours of service maximum? But as it turned out, a lot of those fears were unfounded. We did see a slight dip in productivity when we first implemented the devices, but have since regained most of it through some operational adjustments.

Drivers quickly saw the upside.
We implemented ELDs slowly at Transport America. Once a few drivers agreed to try them, they quickly realized how easy the technology was to use and, in some cases, they actually got more time back. For instance, with paper logs, there is a 15-minute minimum for stops. But maybe you’re only stopped for five or six minutes—the electronic logs record that time accurately, and it can add up.

Once we had the devices available and the team started to understand how it all worked and what the ELDs could do for them, more and more of them were eager to implement in their trucks. In fact, when we went out to talk with drivers a month later, we asked what they would say if we told them we are going back to paper logs. The overwhelming sentiment was that they could never go back to paper—our drivers say the ELDs are easier, save them a lot of time and headaches trying to maintain accurate log info, and take the potential for human error out of the equation completely.

Overall business can benefit, too.
Our day-to-day operations continue to evolve since we implemented electronic logging devices. We have found it useful for both our fleet managers and planners to have access to data that allows them to see the complete picture for each truckload and each truck’s activity.

In some cases, the data has actually helped us understand where we can improve productivity. For example, we identified transit times and delivery expectations that were unrealistic given regulatory limitations. We were able to use the electronic logs to have productive conversations with customers, because the data shows that in order to move freight legally, changes needed to be made.

As an industry, we have some work to do to find ways to make freight pickups and deliveries more efficient. ELD data is just one tool to help identify opportunities to improve and create those efficiencies to make us better.

Don’t wait until December to implement

Don’t wait until December to implement | The Road

The best advice I can offer is if you haven’t implemented electronic logging devices yet, start exploring your options now. There are a lot of choices out there, and it could take some time to determine which is the best one for your business.

Some products might not be available at the last minute, especially if you have a large fleet to equip. Perhaps most importantly, don’t underestimate the amount of training required to get drivers and employees comfortable with the technology. It could take three months or more to install the hardware, educate drivers and staff, and ensure they know how to use the ELDs properly.

I would also recommend involving your drivers in developing the training—they understand the different situations and circumstances they may encounter and will need to address on the road better than anyone. You can’t over train when it comes to electronic logs. Bottom line: If you wait until December to start, you’re going to be too late.

- Retired, Transportation Executive

Comments

Belkys Rodriguez

Don't think is good we try for a week and it was hell with that ELD 🤐😔☹😖

9.20.17

Reply

Roger Oliver

The logic used in this article is ridiculous,
the driver has no flexibility with the ELD. Once the truck is started and rolling the driver needs flexibility in today's driving environment .
More flexibility is the answer not less and when is the driver ever stopped for five or six minutes in the example he uses , The driver knows best when to proceed and when to stop to rest, avoid rush hour traffic, etc.

9.20.17

Reply

STEVE FJERSTAD

WHAT DID YOU DO WITH THE GUY THAT WAS 5 MILES FROM HOME AND RAN OUT OF HOURS?
HOW ABOUT IF YOU HAVE A LOAD OF FEED FOR A FARMERS CATTLE AND THEY CAN'T BE FED BECAUSE YOU'RE OUT OF TIME? OR THE FARMER THAT NEEDS HIS SEED, FERTILIZER OR CHEMICALS AND HAS TO SHUT DOWN BECAUSE THE DRIVER DOESN'T HAVE TIME AND IT IS SUPPOSED TO RAIN.
HOW ABOUT THE GUY THAT GETS HELD UP IN TRAFFIC IN MPLS AND CAN'T GET TO THE ELEVATOR IN TIME ON FRIDAY CAUSE HE IS OUT OF TIME, AND NEEDS TO GET HOME FOR FAMILY DOINGS?

9.20.17

Reply

    C.H. Robinson

    In order to more effectively avoid situations like this, ELDs will force both professional truck drivers as well as trucking companies to become a lot better at planning than we are today. We can't leave our drivers in a situation where they are 5 miles from home.

    -Keith Klein

    9.25.17

davi

no to eld's more than likely i'll get off the road

9.20.17

Reply

sarah

we are the small fleet. do you know where I can find a good ELD for us?

9.20.17

Reply

    C.H. Robinson

    Hi Sarah,

    How many trucks do you have? For 1-10 truck fleets, this option could be a good fit: http://one20.com/chr/

    Thank you,
    C.H. Robinson Social

    9.21.17

    Steve Campbell

    I highly suggest avoiding the Rand McNally System. We have been trying to use their system for over a year. Way too many technical issues and loos of signal issues.

    10.18.17

Roger C

If you make a 6 minute stop why would you paper log it?? What about the guy 5 minute from home and runs out of time??? Can I unplug it and go home?

9.20.17

Reply

John nokk

Less money away from home more. Change the pay to hourly .say $100 to $140 for oo's and $30 for drivers.plus 8 hours minum pay for every 10 hours layovers
.how many hours a week are drivers working for free.at the dock ,in traffic, getting repaired ECT. Start the eld start the pay

9.23.17

Reply

Dmitriy

There isn't place to park overnight at all any more. It can't accept another 1 million trucks to park at the same time-this is a major problem with ELD mandatory as I think. I experienced 20 years as OTR driver and definitely I will quit

9.27.17

Reply

ELVIN

Everything in life is about "Adjusting and Satisfaction"
I can get adjusted to ELD but I will never be satisfy if have to pay for something that is being forced into the industry by the authorities and WE have to pay for it.
How about a TAX BREAK at the end of every year for having this devices install in our trucks.
With only one truck and all the regulations that are already in place, I can never think about getting more trucks and becoming a small fleet, it would get me bankrupt. I don't make enough the way we are right now and on top of it I HAVE TO PAY FOR SOMETHING THAT IS NOT GOING TO HELP ME!!!

10.11.17

Reply

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