The ELD Mandate – Points to Ponder

The Electronic Logging Device Mandate – it doesn’t need to ruin your life

Everybody’s talking about the ELD Mandate.  Electronic Logging Devices, what are YOU doing about them, and what can they do for you?  

For some businesses, it’s the elephant in the room, it won’t be addressed until it makes a mess.  Others are prepared, simply waiting to see the after-effects. Transportation professionals have been evaluating, analyzing and predicting for months how the ELD mandate will affect both carriers and shippers.

After December 19th, the effects of this mandate will manifest over the coming weeks, months, and possibly even years.  As these challenges materialize, solutions will need to follow in a timely fashion.  Ideally, you’d like to minimize the impact on your business from day one – and you can, with solid information, a plan, and a willingness to introduce change into your established routine.  A little help from your friends can’t hurt either.

From a shipper standpoint, doing what you can to minimize the delays in freight movement will go a long way toward keeping your costs from rising significantly. Reinforce the strength of your relationship with your carriers.  A highly collaborative partnership with your carrier can greatly improve the consistency of pricing and capacity.

Shippers – How to be ready

  • Trucks and drivers need to move in and out of your facility with minimal delay.  Reduce your detention, dwell and free time. A shipper that can turn trucks promptly will be far more likely to have sustainable pricing than one who can’t keep them moving.  Shippers who don’t consider timeliness an important factor will run into problems.  Eventually you will see higher costs and even worse, a higher percentage of uncovered loads.
  • Understand that carriers need a certain amount of revenue each day on their trucks, yet 2 hours of free time is expected for loading and unloading – this practice is not sustainable.
  • What can my location offer to drivers during their breaks?  Is there a place for drivers to spend the night, is there room to keep trucks, do I have comfort amenities that I can make available to drivers?
  • Make sure your time frames for loading and unloading are realistic and well communicated.  Review pickup/delivery procedures to ensure that best practices are in use, and when able, make adjustments that are necessary and warranted.  Again, if you can turn trucks, your freight life will be far less problematic.

Carriers – use the ELD to improve your bottom line

Obviously, you need new equipment. What else can you do prepare and, more importantly, use the mandate to HELP improve your bottom line?

As of today, the vast majority of carriers have not only considered the need (and let’s face it, COST) of new equipment, but they’ve most likely purchased and installed an approved ELD.  A large majority have also started to train their people on the use of new devices.  Many are ELD compliant already, and have been for some time. If you’re in that situation, CONGRATULATIONS! – you’ve already done just about everything possible to mitigate any difficulties.

So how can these changes aid your operation?  

  • Reduced paperwork – and who doesn’t love the sound of that?
  • Increased ease of communication with your drivers.
  • Integrated map/route solutions can improve navigation around construction, congestion and other road related difficulties.
  • Use of a smart phone or tablet – since nearly everyone owns one already, this is a great way to reduce the cost of new equipment. Search the app store. At least a dozen apps meet the ELD requirement, some for free. Find one you like, it is an excellent option for training. Bridge the transition until you can purchase permanent equipment to install and utilize in the years to come.
  • Real-time/near real-time information is available to dispatchers.  This will facilitate better initial planning and more importantly, the ability to make adjustments ”on-the-fly”.

There’s no doubt the ELD mandate will change your daily operating practices. Use these changes as an opportunity. Make them an advantage to run your operations more smoothly and efficiently. Just a little advice from your friends here at Burns Logistics Solutions. 

For more information on the ELD mandate, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.