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Why Early Adoption of ELDs Matter

Early adoption of ELD

Some Carriers are Adopting Early. Learn why.

4/8/2016 by Sarah Barbod

Mandatory implementation of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) throughout the transportation industry has become law. And some carriers are less than happy about the change—giving early adopters an advantage over the competition.

ELDs traverse a spectrum of needs for both drivers and carriers. They protect drivers from pressure to forgo their rest breaks and eliminate the need for time-consuming paperwork. The devices give carriers information they can use for more efficient fleet management to improve productivity and lower costs. Its purpose is wide reaching and simultaneously interconnected in the inner workings of a fleet business.

In practice, carriers consistently see a small but very real drop in productivity when they switch over to ELDs. If the company actually had a serious problem with fraud, the switch could be extremely disruptive, requiring massive changes in the carrier’s business plan. For example, if a driver’s hours ran out 15 miles shy of the destination, it was simple for the driver to just complete the day’s work, take a slightly longer break somewhere else to compensate, and adjust the books as necessary. With ELDs, the only option is to stretch that trip into a second day.

Naturally, some carriers are dragging their heels on conversion. As the 2017 deadline for ELD adoption looms, these companies will be forced to do one of two things: either rush to make the conversion last-minute and endanger productivity. Or simply choose to go out of business.

Shippers do not want to be stuck with late-adopting carriers when the deadline hits. Some have already begun distancing themselves from carriers that have either not converted already or put a conversion plan in place. Drivers may soon start making similar choices, for while some drivers find ELDs intrusive, once operating their vehicle with the devices becomes inevitable, working for an early adopter is going to seem a lot more appealing.

For carriers, some do have legitimate reason to hesitate when implementing ELDs. But delaying the inevitable could cost them both business and talent. Furthermore, productivity losses is always relative; early adopters risked losing market share, but late adopters face competition that has already gone through the adjustment and come out the other side.

Ultimately, the best bet may be to use the grace period for what it was intended--a long, carefully planned transition to a new way of doing business.

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