Electronic Logbook (eLog)

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Introduction 

Electronic logbooks (eLogs) record a breadth of information on a fleet vehicle and its driver. 

eLogs are mandated by law for some drivers of commercial vehicles in the United States and beyond. eLogs can help fleet managers and business owners increase their productivity and profitability while reducing their costs. 

In this article, we will outline what electronic logbooks are and the types of data they record. In addition, we will examine who is legally required to keep eLogs, describe the laws that regulate them, and analyze the benefits of keeping organized electronic logbooks. 

What are Electronic Logbooks (eLogs)?

Electronic logbooks—also known as eLogs—are used to record data on fleet vehicles and their drivers. They keep a digital record of a vehicle’s operations and its driver’s activities. 

Most drivers in the United States and Canada are legally required to record their hours of service (HOS) data with an electronic logbook. This legislation is intended to help prevent drowsy driving and keep drivers from falling asleep at the wheel. 

eLogs capture data on fleet vehicle engine run time and distance. In addition, they generally log the vehicle’s driver’s status. Electronic logbooks can also keep a record of driver safety, maintenance requirements, and fuel consumption. 

The device that records an eLog is called an electronic logging device (ELD). They are generally small GPS-enabled systems mounted inside of a truck’s cab and are connected to the vehicle’s diagnostic port to capture data on the vehicle’s engine. 

What Data do Electronic Logbooks Collect? 

eLogs collect a multitude of data points. Some of the information collected may include:

  • date and time
  • Location
  • vehicle miles
  • engine hours
  • user authentication
  • driver identification
  • motor carrier
  • vehicle 

Which Drivers are Required to Use an Electronic Logbook?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Association (FMCSA), motor carriers in the United States that are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) are also required to keep electronic logbooks. This rule also applies to drivers from Canada and Mexico who are working in the U.S. 

However, there are exceptions. Drivers who meet the following conditions are not required to keep eLogs: 

  • Drivers of vehicles made before 2000
  • Drivers who operate drive-away-tow-away enterprises 
  • Drivers who operate under short-haul exceptions 
  • Drivers using paper recordkeeping for records of duty status for no more than 8 of 30 days

What Laws Regulate the Use of Electronic Logbooks?

ELDs and electronic logbooks have been around since the mid-1980s. However, they weren’t mandated by law until over 30 years later. 

In July of 2012, the United States Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (also known as MAP-21) Act. This act pushed the FMCSA to create a rule mandating the use of ELDs. 

The final ELD mandate was published in December of 2015 and includes guidance regarding which ELD features are required on compliant devices and how to track HOS using them. There are also provisions that protect drivers from being harassed by their employers. 

December 2017 was the deadline for fleets to implement ELDs. However, fleets that were already using automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) before December 2017 could use them up until December 2019. 

Today, we are in the full compliance phase, which began on December 16, 2019. This means that all carriers and drivers in the U.S. are currently required to track HOS using ELDs and eLogs. 

What are the Benefits of Electronic Logbooks? 

Electronic logbooks can save time, increase productivity, and reduce overall costs for fleet managers. Let’s take a look at some of the many benefits of elogs: 

Reduces Driver Paperwork

Using eLogs allows drivers to focus on doing what they do best—driving. ELDs automatically capture data on HOS that the vehicle’s driver would otherwise have to manually record, meaning drivers spend less time dealing with tedious paperwork.

Using a digital instrument to record data instead of a human mitigates error, providing more accurate data records. This further saves time that would otherwise be spent finding and correcting these mistakes.

Speeds Up Inspections

eLogs also help speed things up for drivers at inspection points. Data can be clearly displayed for Department of Transportation officials to inspect when using electronic logbooks. Transferring eLog data electronically—if required—is quick and easy.

Raises Your Compliance, Safety, and Accountability Score

Electronic logbooks can help fleets increase their Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores. 

eLogs assist drivers in reducing HOS violations, such as driving too many hours. Commercial drivers are also often fined for outdated log violations and form & manner violations. Both of these issues are eliminated with eLogs as they record accurately and consistently.

Avoiding all of these HOS violations can help fleets to improve their CSA score. 

Improves Maintenance Scheduling

eLog vehicle data can help managers streamline maintenance and repair efforts. Electronic logbook data includes detailed information on a vehicle’s engine as well as diagnostics and fault codes. Managers can use this information to make more informed decisions when it comes to maintenance scheduling. 

Conclusion

Electronic logbooks are mandated by law in many parts of the world. If you are a commercial carrier in the United States—or even a carrier domiciled in Mexico or Canada who is passing through the states—it is more likely than not that your vehicle is required by law to be equipped with an ELD. 

Fortunately, eLogs offer many benefits to fleet managers and their teams. Drivers get rid of cumbersome paperwork tasks, have an easier inspection process, and keep more accurate records. Bottom line: eLogs record clear and accurate data on HOS compliance that can help fleets boost their productivity and reduce their costs. 


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Fleet Dispatching

If you manage a fleet, you probably already understand the delicate dance that is fleet dispatching. If not, you may not realize just how crucial this process is to the success of any fleet-based business. 

What Is Fleet Dispatching?

Simply put, fleet dispatching is the process by which commercial fleet drivers are sent out into the field to make deliveries, service customers, and handle other business-related tasks. But it involves so much more than simply telling drivers, “you go there.” Good fleet dispatching may also involve considerations for traffic conditions, road hazards, driver skill sets, customer preferences, and onboard equipment. When done correctly, it’s a skillful juggling act that helps a business reach its daily goals. When poorly handled, it can be a disaster for all concerned.

What Is a Fleet Dispatcher?

A fleet dispatcher is a person in charge of scheduling and arranging dispatch for a commercial fleet. Small fleets may have a single dispatcher to manage all calls, while larger enterprise fleets may employ an entire team. 

A fleet dispatcher must clearly understand schedules and routes, job proficiencies, fuel management, fleet maintenance, and regulations related to hours of service and other fleet compliance issues. A good fleet dispatcher knows the drivers in the fleet well and can anticipate their scheduling needs and which jobs they are most suited to handle. Fleet dispatchers must be masters of communication and have elite organizational skills.

Fleet Dispatch Software from Azuga

Fleet dispatching is as much an art as a science, and it can be overwhelming at times. The best way to support the fleet dispatchers on your team is to give them tools and technology that make the job easier. Fortunately, Azuga offers the answers to all of your fleet dispatching conundrums

Our GPS Fleet Tracking software can keep track of all the vehicles in your fleet along with large equipment and other assets. Dispatchers can use this information to see which vehicles are nearby when a job pops up. What’s more, we offer top-notch route optimization tools to help guide drivers around road construction, accidents, and other hazards that might prevent them from getting to their destination on time. We can even help you schedule routine maintenance, promote road safety, and automatically deliver dispatch notifications to drivers in the field. 

Learn about all the ways Azuga Fleet can help your commercial fleet stay productive and efficient while simplifying maintenance schedules and creating a culture of safety on the road. Schedule an Azuga demo today!

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Last Mile Delivery

Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, such as a residence or a retail store. This step must be as quick and efficient as possible to ensure that customers are satisfied, and products move as much as possible. What is last mile delivery, and how can businesses perfect it? 

Steps of Last Mile Delivery

There are five steps to last mile delivery to go through to ensure it is accurate and efficient. 

  1. Enter orders into a centralized system
    You've been tracking the order all along. At this point, the customer is most likely also tracking it through a tracking number. It’s essential that you track the order to know precisely where it is if they have any questions along the way. 
  1. Orders arrive at the transportation hub. 
    Last mile delivery begins at this step. From here, the business must ensure that the order gets to the customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. 
  1. Designate delivery personnel. 
    Designate delivery personnel to deliver the parcel using a last-mile logistics solution. 
  1. Load orders onto delivery vehicles. 
    Scan each item before loading them onto the delivery vehicles. This is an important part of tracking as it updates the sender and the recipient as to the order's status. You don’t want anything to get lost along the way. 
  1. The order reaches the recipient. 
    Once the order reaches the customer, the last mile delivery process is complete. Be sure to update the tracking information to indicate the item has been delivered. 

Last Mile Delivery Challenges

Big-name companies like Amazon and Walmart are replacing last mile delivery with middle mile delivery. With middle mile delivery, the company owns the fulfillment, so the delivery process goes from the port to the fulfillment center. The problem with last mile delivery is that it is expensive: it can account for 53% of a shipment’s total costs. Supply chain inefficiencies are increasing as need grows, and so costs are only going up. It’s vital to optimize last mile delivery if you want to use it for your business. 

How to Optimize Last Mile Delivery

Technology is the answer to optimizing last mile delivery. Route planning software, for example, can minimize delivery costs and cut the time that it takes to deliver. Auto dispatching also helps to cut down on mistakes and time. Finally, gathering data and getting detailed reports can help identify problems in your operations and tell you how to improve upon your weaknesses. Fleet management software like Azuga offers all of these features and more to help optimize your last mile delivery options. 

Conclusion

Last mile delivery is still the standard way smaller businesses do their deliveries, and Azuga makes it possible to keep last mile delivery, even while competing with big retailers. Find out more about Azuga by reading our blog or visiting our website.

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Last Mile Carrier

Last mile carriers are the shipping companies that carry out last mile deliveries. Examples of last mile carriers include UPS, FedEx, USPS, and regional carriers. Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, which may be a residence or a retail store. Last mile carriers offer many benefits, which we will outline below. 

Tracking

Many last mile carriers allow customers to track their package on a map or see how many stops away it is. Other providers give customers a very specific estimated arrival time. Previously, it could only be estimated within windows of several hours, so this is an impressive and essential feat for customer service. 

Ability to Communicate with the Driver

If anything is needed when delivery drivers are on the road, it used to be impossible to get in touch with them. Now, apps allow customers to communicate directly with their drivers to update them on any changes that come up during the delivery window. 

SMS Updates

One benefit of tracking drivers is sending SMS updates if a package is ever delayed, and even update customers on when it arrives so they can plan their day accordingly. They no longer need to worry about expensive packages being lost or stolen, since they can pick them up right away. It’s ideal for keeping customers updated and satisfied. 

Delivery Ratings

Customers can rate how their deliveries went and leave feedback that delivery companies can use to improve their methods and improve customer service even further. Customers appreciate their voices being heard, and companies need to hear how their employees are doing. 

Conclusion

Last mile carriers are an integral part of the last mile delivery system. Last mile fleets must have the technology to track delivery drivers and update customers with necessary information. Azuga offers this technology and more to help streamline operations and keep everything running smoothly with the entire last mile delivery process. Find out more on our website.

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