ELD Solutions & eDVIR: Avoiding FMCSA compliance fines is not the only ROI

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The FMCSA ELD Mandate is not only a matter of statutory compliance. Fact is, the benefits of a fleet tracking solution combined with e-logs deliver benefits far beyond simply meeting FMCSA ELD compliance requirements.  

As the December deadline nears, motor carriers are getting calls from their larger customers about the percentage of their fleet that is already fitted with ELDs. These shippers want to know if their carrier has a clear plan in place for 100% ELD compliance by the mandate deadline for ELDs only, by end-2019.

As per a published FMCSA study, fleets which have deployed ELDs report an over 50% reduction in HOS-related violations. The same study showed that there’s a lower crash rate among drivers who are using electronic logs ( nearly 12% lower). These numbers alone will justify the ROI from ELD Solutions.

From a business point of view, ELD and eDVIR Solutions have demonstrated that they make a big and positive impact on fleet operations. The information they provide is enabling fleet supervisors to make fact-based decisions, and they are also able to save time and allocate resources better because of better visibility about asset location and customer deliveries.

Trucking companies operate in highly competitive, profit margin challenged situations. They need to generate $8 in revenue to get $1 to the bottom line, assuming they have a 12% profit margin before taxes, which is actually a bit of a stretch! This gives new meaning to the saying: “A dollar saved is a dollar earned.”

How the eLog ROI adds up

Besides fleet safety, efficiency and profitability are the common goals that customers typically look for, and a survey of tens of thousands of vehicles operated by Azuga’s customers shows fuel savings of up to 15%, reductions in unauthorized vehicle use of 12% and productivity increases of 10%. Many of them have questions about new compliance requirements and aspects of the ELD mandate. They want to be able to put a timeframe to the ROI from their ELD Solution.

What’s remarkable about ELD solutions today is that it’s a really fast deployment. A single powerful, low-cost device enables both AOBR, ELD and DVIR and provides many operational efficiencies to different kinds of carriers. A major source of ROI from ELD solutions is that it enables fleet managers, dispatchers and maintenance people to stay clued into driver duty status and DVIRs, so they can assign vehicles to jobs more efficiently, even as they uphold safety and compliance.

Cometh the hour of service, come the man

Your fleet’s dispatchers can use the system to gauge driver availability in an exact way and will be able to assign drivers based on remaining HOS. It’s valuable to find a driver who can take up and deliver an assignment within HOS regulations, which you can do only if you know where all your resources are at any given point in time, so you have the power to pick from among them. It’s possible now to maximize the driver’s hours, without running foul of FMCSA limits.

ELDs also furnish precise information to a carrier on which of their customers typically tend to detain the fleet’s vehicles for longer. With the data in hand, a fleet can assess the lost revenue and will be able to negotiate with that customer.

As a Frost & Sullivan analyst advises, “Fleet operators should understand that ROI is progressive over time, first providing direct cost savings and then evolving to revenue increase from customer satisfaction and retention. Through vehicle telematics, fleets can become more competitive and improve their customer service.”

Operational Benefits and Savings

Avoidance of penalty and damages

‍The scope for error in maintaining a paper log is eliminated in an eLog system because the system automatically prompts for form errors. Carriers are to use the eLog data to advise their drivers and avert HOS violations, which in turn brings down the chances of a driver getting fined during a roadside inspection. Another major area is accident litigation where an eLog can prove invaluable as compared with a paper log.

Fuel Tax

An eLog system can store all data pertaining to routes and mileage as well as fuel purchase data and compile the IFTA reports – in less time and effort.

Operational Simplicity

You want a simple DVIR process in your ELD solution – one that fulfills all FMCSA requirements for electronic vehicle inspection records and does away with the bother of maintaining paper records. Drivers commence faster and save valuable pre-trip time.

Drivers also appreciate the neat clarity of the ELD display. Guided all the way during the equipment inspection, they not only have it easier, the entire recording and reviewing process takes place in compliance with the rule-book. There’s a handy eDVIR checklist for a rapid review of wipers, brakes, lighting and the steering mechanism and so on. There’s a chart for a quick glance at the HOS and driver’s duty status for FMCSA compliance.

The inspection report itself can be used automatically for scheduling repairs, and mechanics can start the process of attending to the repair requirements. The driver receives a notification when the repair has been carried out.

Thus fleets that have implemented an ELD Solution have instant access to critical issues that impact safety and uptime.

Fleets derive ROI from various applications of a comprehensive Telematics solution. Depending upon the nature and size of your own operation, you may get more of a certain kind of benefit, but here’s the overall payback. Here’s a breakdown of sources of ROI:

Risk-related ROI:

  • Greater safety leads to a reduced liability exposure
  • Fewer fines to pay because of better compliance
  • Driver HOS compliance and thorough DVIR enables a safer fleet operation
  • Lower insurance premia on account of safer fleet operation
  • Consignment security – a priority for customers – by tracking fleet vehicles

Revenue related ROI:

  • Higher driver availability through HOS updates and better scheduling
  • Timely maintenance leads to more vehicle utilization across the fleet

Operational cost related ROI:

  • Monitoring of idling time and modification of behavior to reduce harsh cornering and sharp acceleration brings down fuel costs
  • Remote monitoring of engine parameters brings down maintenance costs over the year
  • Dispatchers spend less time on the phone and incur far less in phone costs while managing drivers and cargo movements a lot better

Team related ROI:

  • Recognition of top drivers in the fleet
  • Training, recognition and incentives reduce driver attrition
  • Improve job content through automation of back-office functions
  • Better coordination because of information flow