Electronic Logging Devices: 5 Ways to Exceed Your Fleet’s Goals
Like many industries, transportation is currently undergoing a transformation propelled in part by advances in technology. Gone are the days when drivers were isolated on the road for days or weeks at a time — and when fleets had little insight into the operation of their vehicles or day-to-day operations. Today, the best fleets realize that electronic logging devices are a natural part of progress, and utilizing this technology can help them meet their objectives.
Technology not only helps fleets understand how to set goals but also how to measure and meet goals. Electronic logging devices (ELDs) help fleets meet their goals in many ways, including:
- Increasing fuel efficiency
- Increasing driver productivity
- Retaining good drivers
- Increasing vehicle productivity
- Improving customer service
Let’s take a closer look at the five ways electronic logging devices can help your fleet exceed its goals.
1: Increase Fuel Efficiency
Fuel is one of the largest costs for fleets; it comprises up to 38% of total operational costs. Even if fuel prices are lower than historical highs, fuel will still make a major impact to the bottom line. Add in the environmental concerns of high fuel utilization, and it is as important as ever for fleets to slash fuel consumption.
Luckily for fleets, options exist. There are multiple ways to control fuel, and with proper planning, the amount of fuel, along with associated costs, can be reduced. While there are many best practices in reducing fuel, below are some of the major ways
- Reduce idling
Excessive idling burns fuel unnecessarily — up to one gallon of fuel per hour! Without a technology solution, fleets would not know how much additional idling occurs. ELDs offer the ability to monitor idle time and provide reporting to fleet managers about which drivers spend the most time idling.
- Reduce speeding
Generally, each individual mile per hour increase above 55 MPH leads to a .1 decrease in mile per gallon (mpg). Knowing which drivers are speeding, and knowing how fast they’re driving, can give fleet and safety managers the tools they need to properly coach drivers.
- Monitor proper tire inflation
Improper tire inflation can not only decrease mpg, but it can also lead to safety hazards. Access to real-time monitoring and reporting on tire inflation can help fleet managers take quick action to fix tire-related issues before they become a significant problem.
- Route efficiently
Out-of-route miles can contribute to up to 15% of a vehicle’s fuel consumption. While there will always be events that cause out-of-route miles, you can help reduce unplanned miles and reduce fuel expenditures by ensuring that vehicles have the best routes and stick to those routes.
- Measure driver performance
Many fleets would like to coach drivers on the best practices for saving fuel. But knowing the key metrics to measure, as well as how to interpret the, can be a challenge. The best ELD providers offer applications that not only measure drivers but also compare top and bottom drivers, allowing fleets to incent the top performers and coach the bottom performers. In addition, these applications provide tangible ways to help fleets improve driver behavior.
2: Increase Driver Productivity
Nobody ever said driving a commercial vehicle was easy. Not only must drivers deal with long hours away from home, but they must also deal with inattentive drivers on the road, road hazards, and inclement weather. Add in compliance and regulatory requirements, and it seems as if actual driving (a reason many drivers got into the business in the first place) is an afterthought. Luckily, ELD devices can help to increase driver productivity in key ways:
Truck drivers don’t choose the open road because they love to fill out paperwork. While paperwork is a necessary part of the job, there are ways to help minimize the toll this takes on drivers. The FMCSA estimates drivers will spend over 20 hours a year filling out driver logs and sending those Hours of Service (HOS) files to their respective carriers.
By using electronic logging devices instead of paper logs, fleets can save 15 minutes per driver per day in paperwork time. These benefits go beyond just time savings for drivers.
According to the FMCSA, it is estimated that fleets will save $705 per driver per year in paperwork savings alone. This doesn’t even account for other lowered costs, including decreased fuel costs, lowered crash rates, and simplified compliance.
Add all of this together and the financial benefits, as well as driver benefits, are substantial. In addition to the productivity savings in regard to an Hours of Service log, drivers benefit from:
- Productivity outside of the cab: While it is beneficial to reduce the amount of activities required outside of the cab, it is not always possible to completely eliminate them.
- Tasks such as Vehicle Inspection Reports and signature capture need to be completed outside of the cab. However, ELDs can help to make these processes easier through out-of-cab productivity applications that allow drivers to inspect vehicles, capture signatures, and many other tasks that would normally require cumbersome paperwork electronically.
- This not only increases accuracy but eliminates the burden of requiring drivers and fleets to maintain additional paperwork.
- Driver workflow: Anything that allows drivers to spend more time on their core job, instead of completing all the administrative tasks that land on their plates, is valuable for fleets.
- One such example is driver workflow, which allows fleets to automate driver tasks, reducing the potential of human error and increasing both fleet and driver productivity.
- In-Cab scanning: Allows drivers to transit important documents quickly from the truck cab to the back office, which reduces wasted time and out-of-route miles, and eliminates scanning fees.
Make Drivers' Jobs More Enjoyable
With all of the challenges fleets have in regard to keeping good drivers, fleet managers need to find ways to provide drivers with better work-life balance. Decreasing paperwork and workload can help to increase driver satisfaction, but it is only one part.
ELD solutions can help to bring the comforts that we are used to in our everyday lives into the cab, and help drivers feel more connected. Some examples of important technologies include:
- Web browsing: Which allows drivers to feel connected by getting the latest critical information from headquarters.
- Media delivery: Fleets can deliver training materials and updates electronically to drivers while out in the field. This avoids the requirement for drivers to spend time coming back to the home office to get trained and allows them to focus on driving.
3: Retain Good Drivers
According to the FMCSA, it typically costs $8,000 to replace a driver. This is a massive financial impact and doesn’t even take into account the loss of productivity, strain on other drivers and employees that must make up for the loss of resources, and impact on customer service. Retaining good drivers goes hand in hand with increasing driver productivity.
Drivers who feel connected to home, office, and family feel less burdened by non-driving activities, and are better trained tend to stay in their jobs. Through the use of predictive modeling, fleets are able to understand the reasons why their drivers leave. The best telematics providers offer predictive analytics as an additional layer of resources to help fleets hire and retain the best drivers.
There are typically three areas that cause drivers to leave their current position:
- Professional: A driver who fears termination due to job performance will leave prior to getting fired.
- Personal: A change in a life event, such as the birth of a child, where a driver wants to be home more often.
- Financial: A driver who may have financial issues and want to leave for another career.
Technology and Young Drivers
One often overlooked area regarding driver retention is how ELDs can help transportation companies hire and retain younger drivers. Not only is it difficult to keep drivers, but the percentage of drivers in the 45- to 64-year-old age range skews higher than the total workforce. The industry is in dire need of hiring younger drivers. One of the best ways to attract younger drivers is through ELD technology.
Technology is entrenched in everyday life, especially among younger generations. You don’t need to look very far to see someone walking down the street with a smartphone. In classrooms across the country, laptops have replaced notebooks. The idea of paper as the sole method of communication — paper logs included — is seen as antiquated in the eyes of today’s youth.
Technology is a natural part of life today and as such, transitioning to a more technology-focused way of operating will help the industry gain younger, more tech-savvy drivers.
4: Increase Vehicle Productivity
There are two major components that go into a commercial vehicle driving on the road: the driver and the vehicle. While it is vital to optimize driver productivity, it is just as important to optimize vehicle productivity. Many of the factors already discussed that help decrease fuel costs also assist with increasing vehicle productivity.
In addition, one of the major costs for fleets is in regard to fleet maintenance. Commercial vehicles are subject to more mileage, oftentimes on poor roads, or in hazardous weather conditions. All of this adds up to a lot of wear and tear on trucks. While normal wear and tear is unavoidable, fleets are always looking for ways to ensure that small problems don’t turn into large, expensive problems.
Since vehicles are often on the road away from maintenance centers for long periods of time, it is difficult to ensure vehicles are in optimal shape, and also difficult to keep small problems small.
Fault monitoring applications, such as Omnitracs’ Fault Monitoring, monitor thousands of faults and provide near real-time notifications in the event a fault does occur. With this level of insight into the vehicle, fleets can quickly diagnose and fix problems before they become severe. This information can help fleets to:
- Lower maintenance and repair costs by managing repairs proactively.
- Reduce expensive and time-consuming on-the-road breakdowns.
- Learn about issues early to direct vehicles to the optimal service location.
5: Improve Customer Service
When it comes to customer service, it is key to remember that taking the steps to meet your goals will have a halo effect — fleets that work to improve fuel efficiency, driver productivity and retention, and vehicle productivity will improve customer service in the process.
However, just because customer service will improve organically when improving other areas of the business, this does not mean that fleets necessarily need to stop there. Companies such as Omnitracs offer services that allow fleets to get the most out of their applications through:
- Integration: Applications and services from telematics companies are normally simple to use, and allow fleets of various sizes to gain the benefits that ELD technology provides.
- However, some fleets may want an additional layer of customer service, such as customized integrations into back office systems, customized training for drivers and back office staff, or some other level of integration.
- Telematics companies that offer this allow fleets to get the most out of the applications they purchase, and thereby increase the level of customer service to their end customer.
- Analytics: As referenced earlier, the best ELD providers are able to provide fleets with large amounts of data to help with driver retention. In addition to this data, the best ELD providers are also able to provide data around many other areas of the business.
- Access to this information allows fleets to know where they are doing well and where there are areas for improvement — which allows them to address gaps and increase the service they offer to their customers.
Why Choose Omnitracs?
This is an exciting time for telematics and for the transportation industry. Rapid innovation, best-in-class technology acquisitions, and ever-increasing device-to-device connection have changed the scope of what’s possible in fleet performance.
As the leader in transportation technology, touching more mobile assets than anyone else, Omnitracs helps fleets address transportation challenges and capitalize on the latest industry innovations.
Learn how you can use our applications, platforms, services, and ELD solutions to reduce costs, increase profitability, and stay competitive. Talk with a specialist today to learn how you can save time and money.