If you are in the business of trucking, transportation, logistics or shipping, you are likely aware of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandate that will take effect on December 18, 2017 (if you are not, this Quick Guide is helpful). Whether you are a driver, logistics manager or the president of a business, we want to be sure you are prepared for the changes rapidly approaching.
Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are not new to the industry. In fact, some organizations have been implementing ELDs for years. The overall goal of the new mandate is to improve safety and use technology as a means to track the regulations being implemented. This is very similar to the mandates that dictate the hours of service a pilot can complete in a row. There are several other benefits ELDs will bring to the industry; effortless logging and efficiency of inspections are two other ways in which this software will make life easier on the road.
Why the Push Back?
From the outside perspective, it sounds like the FMCSA should have implemented this years ago. However, those being directly affected by the new mandate are not as thrilled as one would think.
To better understand why, I sat down with Riley Larson of JMS Transportation, "ELD's can be both expensive and intimidating, but once the driver and office personnel are comfortable with operating them, they do make life easier for everyone involved."
JMS began implementing the ELD's almost 7 years ago, they knew implementation needed to be slow. They understand the frustrations of their drivers and how this impacts their business. JMS worked with PeopleNet for implementing their ELDs, a partner MobileDemand has worked with on several solutions.
Understanding the Software Component
There are many software companies that exist and specialize in creating applications for the ELD mandate. You need to be sure the application you implement covers the 3 requirements of the FMCSA. It must conform to set technical specifications, be certified by the manufacturer, and registered with the FMCSA.
MobileDemand's most recent partnership is with Geotab, a company that provides open platform fleet management solutions to businesses of all sizes. Geotab Drive is their FMCSA compliant solution for Hours of Service (HOS), Driver Vehicle Inspection Reporting, and driver identification. The smart driver app syncs data between the Geotab GO device and MobileDemand xTablet. This provides numerous functions, such as automatic duty status changes, violation alerts, among others, and complete end-to-end inspection workflow.
*image provided by Geotab, image is to show software only
The software for your ELD is only half the battle. You need a piece of hardware, tablet or cell phone, capable of handling the software. MobileDemand has created two packages for the upcoming FMCSA ELD Mandate to give you the option to choose which is best suited for your business needs.
MobileDemand offers the ELD Flex Package for $700 that includes the Flex 10A Windows 10 Pro tablet, carrying straps and non-powered vehicle mount. This is for drivers having light to medium conditions; their ELD software is cloud based and the tablet does not need to be LTE capable.
MobileDemand offers the ELD Tough Package for $1500 that includes the T8650 Windows 10 Pro tablet, carrying straps and powered vehicle mount. This is for drivers having medium to tough conditions; needing an IP Rating of 65 sealed, hot swappable battery, meets drop tests from 5 feet and is LTE capable.
Regardless of whether the driver or company is paying the expenses incurred to become FMCSA compliant by December 18, it is good to know what to expect. There are a range of options with both the hardware and software components. This makes your investment dependent on your specific needs.
MobileDemand has provided two packages that cater to various needs and price points. After researching other tablet options, we found tablets for this application can be upwards of $2000 alone, no software.
The software packages vary as well; usually including an app for your tablet, installation device for the vehicle and the components needed for connection. A lot of partners, like Geotab or Keep Truckin, offer bundles from around $200 for the installation components and a monthly subscription that ranges from $0-50, depending on your reporting requirements.
Based on our research you can expect to invest a minimum of around $700 upfront with a monthly subscription that includes the hardware and software necessary for compliance. If your needs are more robust, you could spend more than $2000 per vehicle to be ready for December.
If you need assistance preparing for the ELD mandate, don't hesitate to give the sales team at MobileDemand a call (1-319-363-4121). We will walk you through your needs and help you understand the best application at the right price.
For more information on the FMCSA, see the link below