Electronic Logging Device (ELD)

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Commercial drivers must log their time based upon the number of hours they are legally able to work in the US. Because of this, Electronic Logging Devices, or ELDs, have seen a dramatic increase in use over the past five to 10 years. But how do they work, and how exactly does the electronic hardware within log driving hours? Can ELDs do anything else besides log drive times? You bet.

In the simplest terms, an ELD is affixed to any individual commercial car, van, truck, trailer, or other vehicle for the purposes of recording the exact number of hours, minutes, and seconds a driver spends driving. As regulated by the Hours of Service, or HoS, in the US, ELDs help both fleet managers and drivers keep track of drive times, allowing both to understand when drivers need to break, when they need to get off the road, and when it is safe and legal for them to resume their trip.

How Does an ELD Work?

An ELD works by plugging into the Onboard Diagnostics (OBD) port of any commercial car, van, or truck. From here, it can capture very specific data, including the vehicle’s location, miles driven in total and per session, engine maintenance needs, and driving speeds during any specific period while in operation. 

While the primary function of an ELD is to track a driver’s hours on the road, they can also provide other functionalities, including monitoring engine wellness and vehicle location. 

With that said, the key job of an ELD for most organizations is to record Hours of Service — as there are strict federal laws enumerating precisely how much time any individual driver is allowed to remain on-duty within any given 24-hour period.

The Electronic Logging Device Rule

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the congressionally mandated electronic logging device (ELD) rule was passed in an effort to create safer workplaces for drivers and other technicians who operate field vehicles throughout their workday. 

The electronic logging device (ELD) rule was created as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, also known as MAP-21. This act helps make it easier for drivers and technicians to keep track of their mileage and hours than through manual methods or with paper-based time management tools. 

What's more, ELDs, according to MAP-21, also help drivers more accurately do other tasks, such as share their driving records with managers and other senior-level staff. ELDs make it simpler to manage time on and off the clock by electronically sharing a driver's duty status in an automated fashion. 

Finally, ELDs, the rule states, automatically synchronize a commercial vehicle's engine with a particular driver or technician's previously recorded drive time(s). This makes it far more likely that his or her hours of service are recorded as accurately as possible.

What Else Can an ELD Do for Vehicles in My Fleet?

ELDs are also equipped with onboard GPS tracking systems, accelerometers, and even gyroscopes, making it possible for them to log everything, including: 

  • The real-time GPS geo-location of any given vehicle in your fleet 
  • How efficiently fuel is being used during specific drive-time periods, so you can determine who is idling for too long, wasting gas, or operating skillfully 
  • The speed of the engine, both in real-time and as tracked previously by the ELD 
  • Specific events that pertain to driver safety, such as collisions, side-swipe accidents, harsh braking, and more 
  • The speed and load of the engine 
  • Fault codes and diagnostics for each vehicle outfitted with an ELD in your fleet

It's Smart to Use the Full Breadth of the ELD 

The majority of commercial carriers primarily use ELDs to electronically log hours of service for on-duty drivers and technicians. But using the breadth of the devices’ capabilities will cut out a lot of additional work for fleet and field managers in general. 

ELDs track a tremendous amount of critical information, far beyond drive times and HoS. When used correctly, they offer the kinds of insights that most managers want and need when assessing ways to increase profit margins and keep drivers safe on the road. The smartest fleet managers think of ELDs in a more comprehensive light, understanding that they can make fleet management easier while keeping assets and drivers safer out in the field. 

When considering compliance, maintenance, dispatch and routing, loss prevention, driver safety, and reporting, ELDs bring you more in-depth data than GPS on its own while offering a more efficient manner for tracking HoS.

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Multi-Drop Route Planning

A multi-drop route planner is a process that plans a route for a driver to make more than two deliveries in multiple locations. It uses vehicle routing software to collect and analyze thousands of data points and determine the best delivery route. This route planning software can plan, re-route, and reschedule without causing any danger to the driver, environment, or business. It considers many factors, such as the number of distribution centers, warehouses, or residential areas a driver has to visit, resource availability, and driver safety. 

How Does Multi-Drop Route Planning Work? 

The route optimization software tracks the vehicle while factoring in when deliveries need to arrive. Of course, a human being should ensure that everything has been planned out properly, but the process should be automatic. Both this person and the system should look at distances, travel time, and fuel consumption. 

Once a route is set, the route optimization software compiles data to choose the best vehicle and driver depending on the delivery. It uses data based on the route and the client’s needs. At this point, it also considers the driver’s hours and weather conditions to determine how much time is needed. These systems need to work in real-time to ensure that managers and clients can connect with up-to-date information. 

Benefits of Multi-Drop Route Planning

There are various benefits to multi-drop route planning. It maximizes productivity, keeps fuel costs low, promotes driver safety, and helps businesses stay compliant with federal driver hour regulations. Your business will save money by using its drivers effectively and not using as much fuel. 

Where to Get Multi-Drop Route Planning Software

If you’re looking for this software, you don’t need to search any further! Azuga’s route optimization software allows for multiple stops. It provides the best routes based on historical data, traffic conditions, weather conditions, and machine learning that helps it create the best routes for you in real-time. See what you can do with route planning software by trying out a demo today!

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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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