The AOBRD to ELD deadline is less than 4 months away. Despite the fact that the industry has been aware of this deadline for years, recent research found 91% of small carriers still using AOBRDs plan to wait until the last 3 months of 2019 to make the switch.
Much has already been said about why postponing will only make the transition harder, but let’s face it: if you’re among those who are delaying the inevitable (and it really is inevitable - there won’t be a last-minute change to the law), trying to persuade you otherwise won’t work at this point. The best that can be done now is to prepare as best you can to minimize the most common issues we’ve seen customers face when transitioning to ELDs:
1) Build a good relationship with your ELD vendor.
Contact your vendor ASAP to discuss the transition and for guidance on how to prepare your fleet. Mapping out a plan for how the transition will go is the key first step. Through discussing your fleet’s business and needs, you’ll be able to decide on factors such as whether it’s best to roll out the new devices in phrases, or replace them all at once.
Also, most reputable ELD providers have educational and training videos and other materials available to their customers. If your vendor doesn’t offer them to you upfront, ask.
Finally, this goes without saying, but do your best to build a positive relationship with your provider’s customer service team. They may very well represent an operational change you’re not excited about making, but done right, your provider can be a true partner to you and a source of valuable insights on your GPS fleet tracking journey.
2) Plan for downtime.
Communicate with customers proactively to let them know what to expect. Send them information explaining why you’re legally required to make this technology transition and giving them a sense of how it will impact their business, with a timeline. Tell them you anticipate delays, and be as realistic and transparent as possible. When the first ELD migration phase happened in December 2017, it wasn’t uncommon for delivery schedules to be impacted well into 2018.
3) Become an ELD expert.
In an ideal world, your ELD vendor’s customer service team would be at the ready in real-time to address every issue your drivers or admin staff encounter during the transition. Reality, unfortunately, doesn’t permit that - especially since your vendor will be swamped with an onslaught of customer service calls from other fleets in the same boat. That’s why it’s critical that you become as much of an ELD expert as possible.
Many of the customer service calls we received here at Teletrac Navman during the first phase of the ELD transition revealed fundamental misunderstandings of how the devices worked. For example, many managers claimed their ELD was malfunctioning, when they were actually trying to get it to do something it wasn’t designed to do. Or, they were having data transmission problems, but they were due to network connectivity issues, not the device. Understanding how the devices work and how they differ from AOBRDs so you can be the first point of troubleshooting in your fleet will help make the transition smoother.
It’s an unfortunate reality that no matter how prepared you think you are, there will inevitably be some hiccups during the transition - as there is with any new tech. Around the first ELD deadline, we saw too many fleets who assumed the switch to ELDs would be seamless and easy because they were already used to working with AOBRDs. They were ultimately disappointed to find that the organizational changes required to support ELDs went far beyond what they expected. In reality, it’s a little late to expect to make all those changes perfectly by the December 2019 AOBRD deadline, but all is not lost. Embrace the fact you won’t eliminate problems, but resolve to be as equipped as possible to minimize them.
To learn how you can avoid issues when switching from an AOBRD to an ELD, read our blog on common AOBRD to ELD transition pain points.