New Omnitracs/McLeod offering aids HOS compliance

Sept. 16, 2013
SCOTTSDALE, AZ. Fleets utilizing McLeod Software’s LoadMaster and the Mobile Computing Platform (MCP) from Omnitracs, Inc., will now have increased visibility into Omnitracs’ hours of service (HOS) and driver workflow applications, according to a joint announcement made in Scottsdale, AZ at the McLeod Users’ Conference today.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ. Fleets utilizing McLeod Software’s LoadMaster and the Mobile Computing Platform (MCP) from Omnitracs, Inc., will now have increased visibility into Omnitracs’ hours of service (HOS) and driver workflow applications, according to a joint announcement made in Scottsdale, AZ, at the McLeod Users’ Conference today. Thanks to new integration capabilities, users will also have access to enhanced navigation and dispatch integration, developed to enable improved fleet management, customer service and driver safety.

McLeod now captures driver hours directly from Omnitracs’ HOS application and delivers greater visibility via its web service portal. This gives fleets virtually seamless access to up-to-date driver logs based on actual hours worked.  Additionally, McLeod’s Feasibility module—available with LoadMaster version 11.0—aligns reported hours from Omnitracs’ HOS application with current position data for improved driver planning, helping fleet managers match drivers with available load assignments, while taking new regulations, such as the 34-hour HOS reset provision, into account.

“We have a long-standing and strategic collaboration with Omnitracs, and their solutions are very reliable and robust, yielding measureable improvements to our customers’ daily operations,” said Tom McLeod, president and CEO of McLeod Software. “Our latest integration enhancements help our shared customers navigate the increasingly complex regulatory landscape, while improving the driver and fleet manager experience at the same time.”

“People are not fully grasping the impact of a good compliance program on their operation as a whole,” Adam Kahn, director, product marketing for Omnitracs, told Fleet Owner. “There is a ripple effect into my organization of compliance program.”

The latest changes to HOS (the 34-hour reset and required 30-minute rest breaks) have added additional complexity to the route planning process, he illustrated. Being able to pull more information into the planning process helps to deal with that complexity and the resulting inefficiencies it can create. 

“There are so many considerations that now impact routing,” Kahn said. “It has become a very complex process.”  For example, fleets have to consider the total driving time required to complete a delivery or pick-up, the required 34-hour reset, the maximum 11-hour driving time, the required 30-minute rest breaks, the location of safe places along the route to stop and take those rest breaks, fueling requirements (and any related fuel purchasing contracts), route optimization to manage costs, driver safety and satisfaction, shipper expectations and historical detention times with that shipper.

“You don’t HAVE to take all these things into account,” Kahn said, “but if you don’t, then you are not as good as the fleet that does. Without technology, you can hardly manage today.”

“Fleets have lost productivity [with the new HOS provisions and CSA],” Eric Witty, staff product manager, Omnitracs, added. “Now they are trying to find new efficiencies.”

For example, Witty told Fleet Owner, it can easily take almost an hour of total downtime to take a 30-minute rest break, by the time a driver finds a place to pull over and stop and then gets back on the road again after the break.  Drivers and fleets have lost flexibility. Sometimes that equates to a real loss in terms of productivity, sometimes it is just an inconvenience.

Shippers are also feeling the effects of new carrier regulations. “There is a tremendous amount of shipper visibility [due to CSA],” observed Kahn. “Shippers are very worried about exposure, about vicarious liability.” This is causing them to avoid using carriers with questionable safety ratings or even to terminate contracts with carriers that have been cited for certain CSA violations.

The changes to HOS regulations are also impacting shippers, Witty noted. “If you did not embrace the changes to HOS and you show up late at a shipper’s using HOS as an excuse, it may not go over very well,” he said. “Carriers have had plenty of time to prepare and shippers know that.  The new rule provisions may be overturned, but in the meantime, you have to comply.”

This new joint offering from McLeod and Omnitracs is designed to make the job of regulatory compliance easier, while helping fleets to recover lost efficiencies and maintain expected levels of customer service at the same time.  “We continually collaborate with our colleagues at McLeod to develop additional capabilities that will bring greater value to our shared customers,” said Norm Ellis, vice president of sales and marketing at Omnitracs. “Together, we’re evaluating the latest segment needs and exploring integration enhancements to streamline operations for greater profitability, while improving the driver experience and customer service.”

McLeod has also created a workflow template for Omnitracs’ MCP that is designed for both LoadMaster truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL) customers. It is intended to streamline the driver experience and ensure direct access to critical data for auto-dispatch updates. The new Driver Workflow interface is easier to use and simple to install, the company noted, providing a complete step-by-step process for trip stop, arrival and departure tasks, automating many driver functions and delivering more accurate information to the dispatch system.

The Omnitracs/McLeod LoadMaster Portal also offers additional information for improved efficiencies and performance, including hub-odometer readings from tractor position updates received by LoadMaster and load dispatch data received from Omnitracs’ NaviGo powered by Telogis In-Cab Navigation.

About the Author

Wendy Leavitt

Wendy Leavitt joined Fleet Owner in 1998 after serving as editor-in-chief of Trucking Technology magazine for four years.

She began her career in the trucking industry at Kenworth Truck Company in Kirkland, WA where she spent 16 years—the first five years as safety and compliance manager in the engineering department and more than a decade as the company’s manager of advertising and public relations. She has also worked as a book editor, guided authors through the self-publishing process and operated her own marketing and public relations business.

Wendy has a Masters Degree in English and Art History from Western Washington University, where, as a graduate student, she also taught writing.  

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