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Carriers: ELDs Exposing Inefficiencies in Supply Chain, Save Small Fleets Money

Electronic logging devices can save fleets money and pay for themselves, says David Carruth CEO of 55-truck LTL fleet ONE For Freight.

In an interview with Fleet Owner, he says ELDS have made make recording hours of service (HOS) information simpler and more accurate for both his full-time company drivers and contracted owner-operators.

“One of the stresses we found with paper logs is that drivers really never knew when their day was going to end,” Carruth told Fleet Owner. “By moving over to electronic logs, they know exactly when their day must end and allow us to plan around that accordingly. It holds everyone else in the company accountable to the driver’s time and puts them all on a level playing field, including the dispatcher and the technician.”

This also created a level playing field with ONE For Freight’s shippers, too, he added. It forced them to recognize—with data in hand—which lengths of haul were legal and which ones were not.

ONE For Freight said electronic logging devices can reduce monthly business costs by $500 to $1,000.

“We’re able to use the information to create value and drive the value statement with our clients,” Carruth explained.

Aside from the overall benefit of getting customers to recognize lengths of haul, Carruth discovered his fleet was saving money in several other areas as well, such as fuel tax reporting.

Mike Ham, vice president and general manager of Omnitracs Canada, added that just eliminating the use of paper logbooks themselves generates a savings for fleets and drivers alike.

“Simply put, at $2 or $3 a logbook—and everybody’s carrying two or three logbooks—the cost of paper logbooks is more than the cost of automating logs with ELDs,” Ham explained, “When you look at the paper exercise today, everything rounds up to 15 minutes, when actually some of those events may be just five, six or seven minutes in length. “

He added that by more accurately noting such smaller time increments can probably save a driver from two to two and a half hours a week in paperwork versus drive time.

While many small fleets and drivers might decry what many call the “intrusiveness” of collecting and reporting HOS data for all to see via ELDs, Jim Griffin, COO and chief technology officer for Fleet Advantage stressed that in reality trucking operators are “driving blind” if they don’t have such data close at hand on a regular basis.

“You really need ELD data to make sense of it all,” he said. “In today’s world, any business that is not making data-based decisions is not making good decisions.”

ELDs are “bringing to a head” inefficiencies in the supply chain, specifically those that drivers bear the brunt of, inefficiencies at loading docks and inefficient loading times themselves, noted Stephen Laskowski, incoming president of the Ontario Trucking Asso­ciation.

“What’s happening now is that motor carriers, drivers, shippers, and 3PLs (third-party logistics companies) are having real conversations about removing those inefficiencies,” he said.

“[About] the cost of these inefficiencies, their impact on drivers, and how the supply chain needs to be adjusted to eliminate these inefficiencies, because they can simply no longer be absorbed,” Laskowski stressed.

“ELDs make things transparent for everyone and let the drivers do what they like to do the best and that’s drive [while] letting [motor carrier] management and shippers deal with making decisions based on shared and accurate information,” he said.

Read the full Fleet Owner article here.

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