The ELD compliance deadline is now only a few months away. Fleets are increasingly feeling the pressure to find a reliable ELD solution. For many, the key question is no longer which provider has the best solution. Instead, they are more concerned about getting their fleet fully compliant before the ELD mandate deadline.
While it is very easy to get lost in the compliance race, it is equally crucial for fleets to have an eye on the long-term prospect. Getting your fleet compliant is only half the job done. Yes, it will get you through the ELD mandate deadline, but what comes after that?
It is important to remember that December 18, 2017, isn’t the only day you have to be concerned about. Keeping your entire fleet compliant after the ELD mandate becomes mandatory is the real challenge here. For that, you need a reliable ELD provider.
Having this long-term perspective will help you divide companies into two categories:
- ELD providers that provide a weak, temporary solution to fleets.
- ELD providers that would help fleets with compliance as well as provide long-term fleet management benefits.
Now, here is the main question.
With so many new ELD providers coming into the industry, how can fleets identify the best companies to work with?
The amount of funding that a company has received is a strong indicator of how reliable it is going to be. The importance of funding and financial stability cannot be underestimated. The following point explains it in more detail.
The Importance of Funding and Financial Stability
Financial stability and a reasonable level of funding are prerequisites for reliable ELD providers. If a company is financially stable and has an ample amount of funding to back its operations, you can rest assured that it is going to stay with you after the ELD mandate deadline.
As a general rule of thumb, $10 million dollars is the minimum amount of funding a company needs to build a high-quality ELD solution. Anything less than $10 million dollars would raise big concerns that the company may fade away soon after December 2017. In such a scenario, fleets would be left hanging without any support from their ELD manufacturer. That would be a horrible situation to be in.
Before choosing an ELD provider, carriers have to do lots of in-depth research. However, just paying attention to how much funding a company has can have your work cut out. Investors are only interested in reliable companies with a bright future. They invest a lot of time, efforts, and resources to research a company, analyze its financial situation, study the quality of its products, and predict an upward trend. You can use these signals for your own research about finding a reliable ELD provider.
In the trucking industry, investors are only interested in an ELD company that has the following three areas covered:
- ELD mandate compliance
- Reliable hardware & software
- An active support system
Let’s discuss each of these categories in more detail:
ELD Mandate Compliance
Let’s face it.
The major component of electronic logging devices is to guarantee compliance. If an ELD cannot guarantee ELD mandate compliance to fleets, it’s useless — regardless of how many amazing features it may have.
The important point to note here is that any ELD provider that have raised substantial funds from investors have clearly demonstrated the ability to guarantee compliance. Investors wouldn’t invest in an ELD solution that does not meet the FMCSA regulations.
This is a strong signal that carriers looking for an ELD solution should consider. Additionally, they can always check the FMCSA’s list of certified ELDs to make sure they are picking the right solution.
Reliable Hardware & Software
Although ELDs may appear simple, they are complicated products. To make sure that fleets remain compliant after the ELD mandate deadline, wherever they drive, the hardware, as well as the software, needs to be 100% efficient and reliable.
For example, there are ELD companies that rely on cellular networks for relaying data between engine-connected ELDs and drivers’ mobile devices. FMCSA recently confirmed that this practice is a compliance risk, as cellular networks can’t be trusted in remote areas. On the other hand, for instance, KeepTruckin uses Bluetooth connectivity to sync data between the two devices. It ensures 100% connectivity even in remote areas with spotty or no cellular coverage. Moreover, now KeepTruckin has also added USB connectivity to their ELD solution.
These are little intricacies that can directly affect compliance. Many fleets don’t even pay attention to these little details when selecting an ELD provider. ELD companies with substantial funding ensure that everything is in perfect order. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have raised that much money.
Additionally, from a fleet management perspective, ELD providers with greater financial stability would be able to continue supporting their products with regular updates, fixes, and new features. So instead of worrying about drivers’ connectivity problems and compliance issues, you can instead focus on what features will be released next, and how they will improve your workflow and productivity.
ELDs are not limited to compliance anymore. Many popular ELD solutions offer useful features, such as automated IFTA calculation, geofencing, vehicle diagnostics, GPS tracking, messaging, idle-time tracking, driver scorecards, etc. Fleets should be able to have access to these amazing features to get ahead of their competitors, minimize operational costs, and maximize profits.
Last, but not the least, to offer features such as dispatch and fuel purchase tracking, ELD providers must partner with other companies. Those with more funding and a larger market share would be able to leverage those advantages to enter better partnerships. From a fleet management perspective, such partnerships would allow services such as fully automated IFTA reporting at no additional cost.
An Active Support System
During the process of ELD implementation and after the compliance deadline, active 24×7 support from ELD manufacturers would be the most important thing for fleets.
Regardless of how excellent and easy-to-use an ELD solution is, there will be instances when drivers or fleet managers need support. The ability to quickly reach out to a trained representative, who can instantly provide a solution to your problems, would be critical. An active support system would help you stay compliant.
On the other hand, untrained or hard-to-reach support representatives would lead drivers to abandon their attempts to connect to an ELD. That would cause all sorts of problems for fleet managers and carriers.
It is important to understand that the ELD support system does not work for drivers only.
Fleet managers would also need support frequently. The fleet management ELD dashboards often have dozens of customizable features. Fleet managers may need help understanding how to create multiple fleet administrators, how to assign vehicles to drivers, create groups to organize drivers by terminals, create custom views to improve workflow, and much more.
Maintaining an active support system is hard work, but it is essential. This is another reason why many ELD providers have a monthly fee structure. The regular influx of cash flow and the constant incentive for customer retention will always improve the overall support system.
The ELD mandate is all set to transform the trucking industry. It is not just about mandating drivers to have electronic logs. It is about creating an opening for technological improvements and connecting all the different cogs of the industry together.
Features such as GPS tracking, geofencing, driver scorecards, and IFTA calculation will make fleets more efficient and productive. Moreover, the data gathered by ELDs can be used to improve fleets’ operations and increase revenue for everyone.
Industry giants, as well as newcomers, are trying hard to make their mark in this evolving industry. While it’s good for carriers to have multiple options, too many options, however, can be confusing.
In such a scenario, don’t forget to see how much funding a company has. It could be the difference between getting abandoned after the ELD mandate deadline and having a full-fledged ELD solution with continuous support.
You may also like: KeepTruckin Raises Another $18 Million Series B Funding to Scale Operations
If you are interested in the KeepTruckin ELD solution, request a free demo now. You can also give us a call at 855-434-ELOG if you have any questions.