✅Choosing the Best ELD – Operational Factors
Welcome to Part 2 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 capture your operational concerns.
For the full list of ELD guidelines: The Best ELD Guidelines
As always, we offer a free ELD needs evaluation and recommendations: ELD Questionnaire
✅Type of Operation
The size and nature of your trucking operation significantly impacts choosing the right ELD. If you’re a single driver, single truck operation, you don’t necessarily want all the bells and whistles. A multi-truck, multi-driver, multi-terminal company will probably require much broader backoffice capabilities, and in-truck functionality.
Larger operations usually have some form of electronic messaging, communications, tracking, Bill-of-Lading automation, etc. that need to be either part of the ELD system or able to integrate with current systems. If you need to integrate the ELD with your current system, it is critical to have the API documentation reviewed by your IT guys.
If the drivers have to share devices, eg. fixed unit, the number one problem is ensuring that drivers completely log out when they’re done their shift. Or drivers forget to log out, and the next driver forgets to log in – he ends up running on the other driver’s log. Carefully think through the log-in/log-out process you want the drivers to follow.
✅ELDs for Your Owner Operators
If you use Owner Operators as part or all of your fleet, they have special requirements. They have to keep their own HOS history available for audits. This means that they may require backend access to the office system.
Another reason to use plug-and-play ECM modules – O/O’s usually aren’t keen on having their dashboards torn apart, or holes punched through their cabs.
✅ELDs for Rental Units
If you rent trucks, ELDs become an issue. In the US, if you rent a truck for less than 8 days, you don’t need an ELD. In Canada, it will probably be 30 days. Even if you rent trucks within those windows, from an operations standpoint it makes sense to be able to run your ELDs through the rental period. Otherwise, your drivers will have to run paper logs when they’re in the rental unit, then have to manually enter the history into the ELD when they return to a company truck.
Rental trucks are another reason why plug-and-play ECM modules are so practical. It takes 10 minutes to add the rental truck to your fleet. Drivers log in as they normally do. You have full system connectivity and continuity.
✅ELD Live Tracking and Directions
Nothing, other than maybe bad office coffee, frustrates a dispatcher more than not having any idea where his trucks are. Most of the ELD backoffice systems come with live GPS tracking and history. When a customer calls, looking for his load, the dispatcher can see exactly where the truck is. Some ELD apps have live directions for the driver.
GPS geofencing is another great function. When a truck crosses a pre-configured ‘fence’, the dispatcher and/or customer gets a notification.
✅Current ELD or Logbook System
A key factor in choosing an ELD is what your logbook starting point is. If your drivers are using paper logbooks, with no in-truck technology, then a complex, multifunction driver device is probably going to be a tough sell.
Several ELD Providers are offering an interesting solution to driver acceptance: you can run the system, with the full backend, but without the ELD app being connected to the engine. Drivers can set their own duty status. This lets them, and the dispatchers, be introduced to electronic logs and HOS management. When you want or have to use fully functional ELDs, it takes just a few minutes per truck to plug in an ECM module and configure it in the backoffice. For the latest: ELD Offer
ELD pricing is slowly stabilizing, but it’s still the wild west out there. You can get a fully compliant (FMCSA) ELD for $10 to $15 per truck per month, all the way to upwards of $100 per month per truck. Hardware ranges from free to $3,000 per truck and beyond. The highest cost systems often use satellite communications. Cell coverage is so good these days, that the need for sat com is only for very specialized needs. Also, many systems work fine offline, or via wifi.
✅ELD Customer Support
Another very important consideration is the nature and capacity of the ELD Provider’s customer service system. Some only have a email help desk running office hours. That’s not going to cut it when your driver needs a data reset at 3 in the morning.
Really drill your potential Provider about their help desk and get their answers in writing.
In both Canada and the US, having a second language in the ELD is a benefit for many carriers. Most ELDs do support a second language. Some have Spanish versions. Few have French versions. We have several recommended Providers who have a French version.
✅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.