✅Choosing the Best ELD – Back Office Factors
Welcome to Part 4 of our series on some of the considerations involved in finding the Best ELD for your business. In this section, we’ll look at factors that ensure that you find the back office functionality you need.
For the full list of ELD guidelines: The Best ELD Guidelines
As always, we offer a free ELD needs evaluation and recommendations: ELD Questionnaire
✅ELD Order Entry and Dispatch
We still have some clients whose Transportation Management System (TMS) runs on DOS. The transition to ELDs allows an excellent opportunity to jump into the 21st century. Many ELDs offer good quality TMS systems built into their ELD platform, for no extra charge. We’ve replaced TMS systems that originally cost $2 million with systems that come free with an ELD.
Efficient dispatch has, and always will be, the lifeblood of any trucking operation. We’ve been very impressed with some of the off-the-shelf ELD dispatch systems. A good dispatch system, combined with live visibility of HOS status and truck tracking, make a dispatcher’s job much easier.
Order entry is also an area where an ELD system may help, dramatically. Instead of taking customer orders on scraps of paper and passing them to the dispatchers, customers can place an order directly online. Some systems automatically create a dispatch order, BOL, and can complete invoicing after the load.
✅ELD Back Office
Almost all ELDs come with some form of back office administration system. This is required to centralize the HOS history of the drivers, process audits, set up trucks and drivers, view driver status, do live tracking, order entry and dispatch, IFTA, etc. Some systems are full TMS suites, others are basic.
It’s critical to spend some time and review what your current and future needs are. You need a system that meets all your requirements without becoming too burdensome.
There is a very wide range of IFTA features and complexity attached to ELDs. The best IFTA systems track each truck for fuel purchases and kms by each jurisdiction. The monthly data can be either downloaded to a CSV file, or directly into a preconfigured IFTA report.
For smaller fleets, the basic feature should be distance travelled in each jurisdiction. This greatly simplifies completing the IFTA report.
✅ELD Work Orders and Bills-of-Lading
For companies that rely on paper work orders and BOLs, ELDs are a good opportunity to go paperless. Look for systems that are simple: on-device forms that the driver can fill out. Or for a more streamlined process: the dispatcher creates the work order and BOL. It’s pre-completed for the driver when he logs in.
✅ELDs and Integrations
For larger carriers, with an existing TMS (Transportation Management System), the ability of the ELD to integrate smoothly and efficiently is critical. Some ELD systems have no integration capabilities. Others can integrate with most of the major TMS systems around.
If you have trucking technology that you’d like to retain, ensure that your IT people request the API documentation from any prospective ELD Provider.
✅ELD Back Office
ELDs come in the wide range of back office features, from the very basic truck and driver administration, to fully loaded TMS systems. While the driver app is critical, the back office can be a go/no-go for some carriers.
Look for robust reporting functions. One of the many insights that have come out of the US ELD experience is just what can we do with all that data being created. Even for 20 truck fleets, there is a wealth of operational and utilization data that can be used to create new and innovative management reports.
Timesheets are a nice feature for digitalizing driver pay data. Some ELDs systems allow for customizable forms, like timesheets. This is especially critical where the customer is billed from a driver’s timesheet. How many millions of dollars of driver time invoicing info are tucked under drivers seats and forgotten?
✅Check out our list of 227 ELD Providers, including Big Road, Garmin, Omnitracs, Gorilla Safety, Blue Ink Bit, Stoneridge, Keep Truckin, Rand McNally, Eroad, Switchboard, & Geotab: ELD Providers List
ELD Advice – Global Logistics Canada Ltd.
We offer free ELD needs evaluations and recommendations to small trucking operations. Why? Because:
- The trucking industry has been very, very good to us.
- We’ve already built a digital catalogue of 424 ELDs to use with our consulting clients. An evaluation for a small company takes just a few minutes.
- We’ve identified ELD systems that we can’t recommend, and tested ones that we can recommend.
- No one should have to deal with a crappy ELD, and there are lots out there.
Free ELD needs evaluation and recommendations: ELD Questionnaire
Disclaimer: The guidance and information provided in the ELD Canada site is offered for convenience only. For accurate reference, please consult with the Federal Ministry of Transportation or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Information is provided on a ‘best efforts’ basis.