The deadline for long haul truckers to start logging their hours of service (HOS) electronically within Canada is approaching fast. Many international Canadian carriers that travel to the United States will have already implemented an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) solution to stay compliant while south of the border. If you manage a long-haul fleet that stays within Canada, you should be researching the products you will need to be compliant when the Canadian ELD mandate comes into effect June 2021.
Every business’s fleet is unique and there is no one size fits all ELD solution that will be an optimal fit for everyone. The size of your fleet, nature of your business and industry, relationship with your drivers (owner op vs company driver), and overall telematics requirements will inform what the best ELD set up is for your business. Let’s take some time to analyze some of the differences between various ELD offerings to help determine what your fleet will need to thrive under the upcoming Canadian ELD mandate.
The size of your fleet will influence how complex you need your ELD solution to be. A small fleet of just a few owner operators will not necessarily need a system with a strong back end administrative portal for centralized monitoring of all the vehicles. Whereas a large fleet with a dedicated fleet manager would greatly benefit from the ability to view the real time HOS data of all their drivers to help anticipate potential HOS issues and plan accordingly. More robust systems with dispatching functionality can be beneficial for larger fleets that need to reroute drivers throughout the day or week as priorities and deliverables change. Managers of smaller fleets may also see value in a combined ELD, telematics and dispatching solution depending on the functionality they would like to fulfill.
The nature of your business and industry will inform the specific subsets of functionality you will need your ELD provider to satisfy today, as well as functionality you may need in the future. Important considerations include:
· Does the ELD provider offer a user interface with all the languages spoken by your employees and the roadside inspectors in your operational territory? If you operate in Mexico, Spanish language options should be a consideration.
· Does your business require IFTA reporting? Various ELD providers have differing levels of IFTA reporting capabilities. Ensure that your ELD provider has IFTA reporting that suits your requirements.
· How do you currently complete Bills of Lading? Most ELD systems offer some sort of electronic BOL system that can give businesses currently using paper an opportunity to go digital. Make sure your ELD provider has an easy to use BOL system that will be a good substitute for your paper records if going digital is something you would like to accomplish.
· Will you need your ELD and or telematics solution to communicate with other software? If your business is running other ERP type software, having the ability to push and pull data from your ELD platform to your other software can be extremely useful when looking for ways to streamline processes and increase overall administrative efficiencies. Inquiring about an ELD provider’s API and or SDK offerings is worth while.
Your relationship with your drivers, mainly whether they are owner operators or corporate drivers, will play a role in determining the best ELD fit for your organization and individual drivers. Owner operators may have special requirements to retain their own historical data, which means they may need administrative access to a shared ELD system, or would need to run their own ELD system if shared administrative access doesn’t work for your company. Anticipating how easily your drivers will transition from pen and paper logs to an ELD is an important consideration; If you feel your drivers will need a significant amount of support, then choosing an ELD provider with a user friendly interface and ample customer support will be of increased importance.
Overall telematics requirements are likely going to be a part of the conversation when searching for an ELD solution because many ELD providers are also telematics providers. If you do not already have a fleet tracking solution in place, now will be a good time to assess the value fleet tracking can bring your business. Or, if you have been using the same fleet tracking provider for some time, this could be an opportunity to evaluate if there is another combined telematics and ELD provider out there that would be a better fit for your business.
Implementing a new technology like ELDs, that involves training multiple parties on how to use the system and logistical considerations for deploying the hardware, will likely present some initial challenges before everything is fully set up and running smoothly. Working through the growing pains of setting up a new HOS system will be much less stressful if you have plenty of time to adjust to the new practice before it becomes mandatory. Start researching what you will need to stay compliant with the upcoming Canadian ELD mandate soon to avoid unnecessary headaches that can come with a rushed implementation.
Talk to an Advantage Asset Tracking Account Manager today for more information on Geotab's ELD solution. firstname.lastname@example.org