Even with the April 1 enforcement deadline of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate now past, Wally Stegall, technical fellow with Morey Corp., believes many smaller fleets and owner-operators could still benefit by shopping around.
Stegall said in a telephone interview that some truckers might have initially only considered the price of the device, when they should have been asking themselves “what else can they get from that device?”
There is still plenty of time to discover “what else [an ELD] can do for you,” said Stegall, whose company is based in Illinois, and makes electronics and telematics equipment.
The ELD mandate should be viewed as an “excuse to improve enterprise systems and make your operations smoother,” Stegall said.
That can be accomplished by asking telematics providers to show fleets and truckers how to get a strong return on investment “that goes beyond the ELD.”
Stegall also recommended executives ask to test units from different telematics providers as a way validate the ROI claims, and to speak directly with other customers to get their candid feedback.
He said there is really no limit to the savings possibilities, from maintenance and fuel purchases, to providing onboard scanning and assistance with compliance reports.
“The ELD is just an add-on to an existing system,” Stegall stressed. “The bigger guys already have these systems. Smaller fleets should see embrace this and find ways to make it valuable.”
In looking at ELD performance, he recommended the user interface should be “completely intuitive,” so a driver could use it successfully without fully understanding hours-of-service rules.
The device also should feel natural to the driver without the need for a significant training, and be as easy in a short amount of time as paper logs, even for those that tend to be leery of technology.