From facing a serious driver shortage to complying with new regulations, the past few years have been challenging - to put it mildly - for fleet owners. So when it came to choosing an ELD solution, it’s not surprising many put budget over features, selecting basic plug-and-play devices with the minimum functionality needed to meet Hours of Service (HOS) requirements over integrated ELD solutions with more sophisticated performance. Trouble is, in the long run, these bare-bones options will cost you in the form of diminished profits and higher-than-necessary business expenses. Here’s why ELDs integrated with fleet management software are better for your bottom line.
Curbing fuel costs
While fuel prices are beyond your control, there are actions you can take to reduce fuel usage. However, per the FMSCA, ELDs are “not required to collect data on vehicle speed, braking action, steering function or any other vehicle performance parameters,” which are all essential to track if you want to minimize fuel-wasting behavior. Unlike basic devices, integrated ELDs do track those metrics, plus identify common issues like engine idling, vehicle maintenance problems and incorporate real-time traffic conditions to plan more efficient routing, which can all add up to major fuel savings. Fleet management software also detects unsafe driving habits that indicate fuel waste, including harsh acceleration, speeding and harsh braking, and notify fleet managers in real-time so they can provide targeted coaching.
Boosting vehicle health and longevity
No-frills ELDs record engine hours, giving fleet managers some insight into vehicle utilization levels, but that barely scratches the surface of what fleet owners can learn from their trucks that would make a meaningful impact on vehicles’ lifespans. An ELD combined with a fleet management system automatically monitors engine and vehicle systems and alerts you when it’s time to schedule both routine and urgent maintenance or repairs. This allows managers to catch problems that wouldn’t be detected in a daily inspection but could cause a sudden breakdown. Plus, having this knowledge in real-time means managers can schedule maintenance much faster, preventing problems from escalating and turning into far costlier repairs and profit-busting downtime.
The ELD Mandate was introduced to ensure drivers obey HOS requirements, contributing to safer roads. However, basic ELDs are not required to alert drivers when they’re about to reach their driving limits, meaning they’re at risk of racking up hefty fines and being pulled out of service, impacting revenue. Integrated ELDs feature intelligent compliance capabilities that proactively notify drivers via in-cab messaging systems before they exceed the permitted HOS. And when you invest in an ELD solution with fleet management software, it makes it easier not only to comply with the ELD law but with other federal regulations as well, including IFTA requirements and DVIR logs. ELD data, IFTA reporting, DVIR logs are all funneled into one system for seamless management, greatly reducing administrative work and ensuring compliance.
Many integrated ELD solutions also incorporate GPS fleet tracking to maximize routing efficiency, meaning you can better predict delivery times, schedule pickups and make sure freight is delivered on time. This is a major boon for customer service and will earn you a reputation for reliability and loyal customers, boosting revenue. However, a basic ELD will not help your business thrive in these ways. A fully integrated solution does more than just help you comply: it provides you with the tools you need to stay competitive. In this day and age, that’s an edge you can’t pass up.