Hours of Service (HOS)

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Hours of Service (HoS) is a term used in the commercial motor vehicle industry to note how many hours a fleet vehicle driver or technician is allowed to operate a single vehicle or group of vehicles over a given period. HoS measurements typically reset every 24 hours, each week, or in some cases, per month. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) determines the laws that dictate how many hours an operator may drive a commercial motor vehicle. This agency sets the limits on the legal number of hours drivers can legally be on-duty (actively driving) before they must go into off-duty mode.

The History of Hours of Service and How HoS Rules Have Changed In Recent Years 

In the earliest days of commercial driving, operators did not even keep logs of their on- and off-duty hours. It was not until the 1940s that companies understood that they were underwriting an unnecessary risk associated with allowing drivers too few breaks. Around this time, the government passed laws mandating the use of paper logbooks, which were still common through 2017 when the rules began to change. 

On February 16th, 2016, the federal government enacted laws specifying the proper use of electronic logging devices (ELDs), and by December 16, 2019, all fleet businesses had to be in compliance. This meant that drivers who wanted to could continue maintaining a paper log, but their hours must also be recorded automatically by ELDs installed aboard all commercial fleet vehicles. 

The logs created by ELDs are called eLogs and are widely known to be far more accurate than paper logs. This high level of precision makes ELDs desirable for fleet service management companies who want precise, unimpeachable records. They are also well-liked among drivers who wish to ensure they get the pay and recognition they deserve for all the time they have worked — right down to the nanosecond.

Proponents and Opponents of ELDs for Tracking HoS 

As discussed above, most companies and drivers appreciate the newfound accuracy offered by ELDs. But there are still some companies and drivers who continue to oppose their use. Mainly, drivers oppose the use of ELDs because they provide tremendous insights to field managers about precisely where drivers and technicians are, what they are doing, and whether they are en route to a job or taking a break. ELDs even tell managers exactly when and where fleet drivers brake too harshly, idle for too long, or otherwise endanger their vehicles’ engine health. 

Some companies also oppose the need for ELDs for tracking hours of service. They claim their drivers are capable of managing their HoS manually without making mistakes. But not only is this untrue, but it also covers up a bigger story, which is that some companies would prefer that their drivers' hours not be accurately logged to keep them on the road longer than is legal. 

This practice creates hazardous conditions for drivers and those who share the road with them. Overly tired drivers can cause accidents and may resort to consuming dangerous amounts of caffeine and other stimulants to keep their bosses happy. Even so, their reaction times slow, and they risk the possibility of falling asleep at the wheel.

With ELDs and the ELD mandate in place, the commercial drivers and others on the road are all safer. What's more, ELDs ensure that field service-based companies avoid the very severe liabilities they could face without this accurate tracking.

Many organizations suggest that going over hours of service is dangerous for drivers and other motorists and wholly unnecessary now that there are so many ways to make fleet vehicle routing so efficient. 

Organizations that strongly support the use of ELDs for tracking HoS include the Trucking Alliance for Safety and Security, the American Trucking Associations, and the Advocates for Highway Safety, among others. The main reasons for this support have to do with roadway safety and a collective desire to move fleet-based businesses into the 21st century with safety-enhancing technology.

Hours of service is one of the most important metrics a fleet-based business can track, and ELDs are the most reliable way to do this. To learn more about ELDs and how they work with fleet management software or more comprehensive solutions for field service management from Azuga, get in touch with us today.

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Fleet Dispatching

Dispatch software is a lifesaver when it comes to organizing your dispatch process and keeping operations streamlined. It offers a variety of features that make daily procedures so much easier, from fleet tracking to reports that help businesses make decisions. What features does dispatch software offer, and how do these features benefit fleets? We will break this down for you. 

Assign and Monitor Jobs

It is easy to assign and monitor jobs with dispatch software because it uses fleet tracking. Fleet tracking allows you to assign jobs to crews in the field. If you need a lead technician for a job, it’s simple to attach that lead tech to any job you need. You can even sort jobs based on their status, whether they’re one-time, recurring, or multi-day, or based on urgency. 

When workers finish jobs, they can mark the job as complete on their end. This way, you can know when each job concludes and when your technician moves on to their next task. 

Easier Communication

Back and forth calls between technicians and managers are no longer a problem. With dispatch software, you simply input the job you want your technicians to address. Your technicians access it from their phones and know what to do from there. When they’re done, they can mark it complete and view their next job right away. They can track their time, update their schedules, and input notes all while on the go. Everything you need to know will be on your screen when you need to know it, no need to track the information down. 

Improve Customer Service

Dispatch software can improve your business’s customer service reputation in a variety of ways. Firstly, GPS tracking allows for route optimization software, which gets your technicians to their destinations quickly and efficiently. No more late technicians making your customers wait. Furthermore, dispatch software allows you to assign technicians to customers they already know, building an improved relationship with your business. And with all of your customer information in one place, it’s easy to respond to disputes and issues in a timely and personal manner. 

All of your client and order information is available in a field service CRM that details everything you need to know about your customers and the jobs you’ve done for them. 

How to Get Dispatch Software

Azuga offers state-of-the-art dispatch software that your business is sure to benefit from every single day. These benefits will improve your fleet’s daily operations, boost customer service, and maximize productivity among your workers. These features and more bring your fleet to its maximum potential, allowing you to focus on making important decisions to help the business grow and thrive. Find out everything you can do with dispatch software by trying out a free demo today. You’re certain to be impressed with the improvements.

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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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