Electronic logging devices are now mandated by law. However, there are many different options on the market that you can choose from, whether you are just now installing an ELD or want to upgrade the electronic logging devices in your fleet of trucks. Here are four things you should be looking for when choosing an ELD provider. We’ll also provide guidance on how to pick the best electronic logging device provider for your fleet.
An ELD provider must be certified and registered. You can verify that they are registered by checking the FMCSA’s list of registered electronic logging device providers. Don’t take someone’s word for it that they are registered, as it’s no defense if they’re not. Even the FMCSA says that the motor carrier is responsible for checking that the device is registered. The registration database will list ELD solutions in compliance with the law by device name, model number, software version, and give contact information for the ELD provider. Note that this is only the starting point for your search.
The ideal ELD solutions will have been in business for several years, since this increases the odds that they’ll continue to be in business for the next few years. After all, you don’t want to pay for electronic logging devices only to see software support disappear a year later.
A side benefit of limiting your search to established companies is that you can read a number of reviews by customers. This allows you to understand their level of customer service as well as the reliability of the product. Then you’ll know you’re choosing a reliable product backed by dependable service.
Ease of Use
Always consider what type of device the ELD runs on versus the needs of your drivers. If the ELD runs on a company issued smartphone or tablet they are already familiar with, then there isn’t a problem unless the software is hard to use.
If the ELD will require new hardware, this increases the cost of implementing the system and means you’ll have to train people in how to use both the devices and the software itself. Consider looking for a vendor that offers user training as part of the purchase price, though no amount of training makes up for a difficult to use interface. And make certain that people can handle predictable issues with the system, such as loss of cell phone service.
The Total Cost of Ownership
Don’t buy an ELD system based on the low initial purchase price. Consider all of the up-front and ongoing expenses. If you have to buy new hardware, there may be ongoing expenses and support requirements. For example, you may have to lease equipment and pay access fees in addition to software licenses and maintenance costs. We’ve already mentioned the value of finding vendors who include user training in the purchase cost. If you have high driver turnover, look for vendors who roll training into their ongoing support services contract.
Choosing the right ELD provider is not only essential for compliance, but to improve the efficiency of your fleet. Choose an ELD system based on what provides the greatest overall value, and consider it an investment in your fleet’s performance.