When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration began requiring the installation of electronic logging devices (ELDs) on large commercial vehicles, many motor carriers and companies operating large fleets discovered something interesting. While new regulations are often accompanied by new headaches, this regulation – intended to protect drivers and promote safety – actually brought unexpected positive benefits.
One of these benefits was that pre- and post-trip inspections became easier.
These inspections previously needed to be conducted manually by drivers. As such, they were paperwork-intensive and unnecessarily time-consuming. Because it was a manual process, there also was a lag time between when the data was captured on the inspection forms and the point at which this information made its way to fleet or maintenance managers.
With ELD and digital inspections, it became easy to capture data like driver hours behind the wheel, ignition status, GPS location data, information about asset maintenance needs, and more.
There are additional advantages to digital inspections, including:
• Alleviating the inspection burden on drivers and operators
• Identifying needed repairs
• Tracking routine preventive maintenance
• Gathering and sharing real-time, actionable data with fleet managers, maintenance team members, and others
• Having the ability to easily obtain an enterprise view of assets and their utilization status
Is an ELD Really Required for Your Fleet?
Given the benefits to carriers and companies with fleets of trucks required to be equipped with ELDs, it might be tempting to conclude that an ELD package represents the best investment for all fleets. This is simply not the case.
For example, a construction company will have fleets comprising different types of assets they want to be subject to digital inspections. While, in some cases, these assets will include commercial vehicles that are required to be outfitted with ELDs, most of their assets will not need to be ELD-equipped.
Recognizing this, they also may conclude they need to invest in a separate digital inspection package from a separate vendor to have digital inspection capabilities across their mixed fleet. This raises the likelihood of integration headaches and trouble getting technical support if the solution was sold through a third-party vendor.
The bottom line: while ELD systems capture valuable data, they aren’t customizable, aren’t always required, and aren’t the best digital inspection solution for mixed fleet applications. By doing your homework, you can identify a solution that will provide digital inspections across your entire mixed fleet without having to invest in ELDs for vehicles that don’t require them.
Getting to the Right Solution
While you may not need to have ELDs on all your assets, a single telematics and data platform that can be flexed and customized to your needs as a mixed fleet owner is your best option for reaping the advantages of digital inspections.
You have made a significant investment in your equipment. Choosing the right technology to help you monitor and maintain that equipment through digital inspections can help you get the maximum value out of your investment.
In the next blog in this series, we will look at how digital inspections can be customized across fleets and industries with unique needs.