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 can help you understand what is happening. Whether you are a driver, logistics manager, or the president of a business, we want to help you be 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. Larson told us, "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."
When 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 to implement 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 be 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 a 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
Selecting software for your ELD is only half the battle. You need a piece of hardware - a tablet or smart phone - capable of handling the software. MobileDemand has created two packages for the upcoming FMCSA ELD mandate to provide you the option to choose which is best suited for your business needs.
MobileDemand offers the ELD Flex Package for $700 that includes the xTablet® Flex 10A Windows 10 Pro, carrying straps, and non-powered vehicle mount. This is for drivers experiencing light to medium conditions; the ELD software is cloud-based, and the tablet does not need to be LTE capable.
MobileDemand also offers the ELD Tough Package for $1500 that includes the xTablet T8650 Windows 10 Pro, carrying straps, and powered vehicle mount. This is for drivers experiencing medium to tough conditions, needing an IP Rating of 65 sealed, hot swappable battery, the T8650 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 $2,000 alone, not including any software.
The software packages vary as well, usually including an app for your tablet, installation device for the vehicle, and components needed for connection. Many 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 $2,000 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 at 319.363.4121. We will walk through your needs and help you understand the best application at the right price.
For more information on the FMCSA, click here.