KeepTruckin: ELDs are a platform to build upon

As the devices are adopted by truckers large and small, more capabilities will be built into them, says technology firm.

After recently securing another $50 million round of financing, which brings its total funding to $78 million, electronic logging device (ELD) maker KeepTruckin now has its eye on expanding into developing more transportation management system (TMS) offerings – using its ELD product as a “platform” for that development.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in demand for ELDs that started in the middle of last year, went insane in November and December, dropped off a little in January and February, and is now ‘re-accelerating’ as we approach the April 1 enforcement deadline,” Shoaib Makani, cofounder and CEO of KeepTruckin, explained to Fleet Owner during an interview at the Mid America Trucking Show.

“We’re shipping tens of thousands of our ELDs; we’ve got 200,000 of our devices deployed across 30,000 trucking companies right now and we expect we’ll get to 400,000 deployed ELDs by the end of 2018,” he added.

Makani said the recent pickup of $50 million more in funding “is going to help us with further product development; we’re just getting started with what we want to do. We’ve had a really razor focus on ELD compliance for much of the last year. Now we have a platform to build upon, to extend into more areas such as vehicle diagnostics, fuel economy, and geofencing. We offer some of that already, but now we’re going to improve it.”

He noted that KeepTruckin is to forge more third-party partnerships, especially with third-party logistics companies, as a way to “build value” for the users of its ELD technology. “We see it [the ELD] as the platform for a freight ecosystem,” Makani emphasized. “It’s not just about compliance with regulations; it’s about how to drive more value with the technology.”

For example, one insurance company KeepTruckin is working with is offering premium discounts to motor carriers willing to share their ELD data, especially if it highlights a strong safety record. “Some of our customers have said those discounts can be north of 15%; that’s thousands of dollars over the course of a year,” Makai noted.

But it’s not just about using ELDs to achieve “costs savings,” he stressed; it’s also about using them to improve “yield management” as well.

That’s one of the reasons why KeepTruck spearheaded a petition last year to extend the Hours of Service (HOS) clock for a commercial truck driver if they are “significantly delayed” while loading and unloading. “This was about starting a conversation on detention that is data-driven,” Makani stressed. “With ELD data, complaints about detention are no longer anecdotal – with connectivity, we know what is actually happening.”

He added that while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has not responded as of yet to KeepTruckin’s petition, Makani believes it is “on their radar” and will be addressed in some fashion “once we get beyond the April 1 enforcement deadline.”

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