With the federal ELD mandate nearing, the demand curve of electronic logging device is seeing a sharp rise. The mandate has fueled the demand for such products which has encouraged a slew of new vendors to enter the market. The website of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lists about 80 self-certified products from vendors.
This list is growing by the day with new vendors exclusively dedicated to ELDs, established telematics companies, truck manufacturers, trucking software and other transportation related companies offering their own electronic logging devices. These new vendors mainly target small fleets and owner-operators as these truckers are less likely to have already made the transition to ELDs.
Can these vendors ramp up the supply to meet the demand?
Even with so many ELD vendors operating in the market, the demand is speculated to be so high there may not be enough supply to meet it. As the deadline nears the demand curve may witness a dramatic rise. This is because surveys indicate that many carriers are planning to wait till the third and fourth quarters to make the transition. Making it worse is a part of the industry which is holding out in the anticipation that the mandate will be relaxed or cancelled.
Industry insiders and experts insist that the sooner the the trucking companies make the transition the better it will be. This may be because of a logjam of work due to insufficient supply is anticipated, especially around the deadline. Fleets that have not chosen an ELD provider run a high risk of facing such logjam of work with demand exceeding the supply.
Why you should make the transition to ELDs sooner
Holding out the transition in the hopes of the mandate being cancelled, relaxed or postponed may be unfruitful and only land you in more trouble. American Trucking Association President Chris Spears insists that this time the mandate is highly unlikely to be delayed and that it will be enforced on December 18, 2017 as planned. It is to be noted that the rule was finalized by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in late 2015 which gave carriers 2 years time to make the move to ELDs from paper logbooks.
Making the transition also allows carriers to access the additional trucking software features that come with ELD systems such as driver vehicle inspection reports and IFTA fuel tax reporting. Telematics companies now offer ELD systems as part of telematics package including trucking software like asset tracking, fuel consumption, engine diagnostics and driver behaviour management. Why delay the transition when you can make the move now and enjoy these features, while avoiding any logjam caused by demand supply imbalance?
Are self-certified products compliant with the mandate
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration allows vendors to self-certify their products has not gone down well with testing agencies. Yves Provencher, Director of PIT Group, says that there is no guarantee that the self-certified products listed on the FMCSA website are compliant with the mandate. Many fleets turn to independent testing agencies like the PIT Group to verify if the ELD is compliant with the mandate’s specifications.
The FMCSA requires the vendors to perform over 200 tests on the self-certified ELDs. Some vendors go beyond self-certification and acquire third party validation to audit their products in a move to win the confidence of the customers. Shoaib Makani, CEO of KeepTruckin, insists that carriers should consider the operating history of the vendor and test the ELD firsthand with its drivers before signing the contract. This will help the carriers in making right purchase decisions. Some new vendors associate themselves with trusted brands in the transportation industry like mobile trucking software companies as part of their credibility strategy.
ZED Connect, one of the new ELD vendors to take advantage of the demand created by the mandate was established by Cummins Inc. Cummins is an independent engine maker well known in trucking industry circles with a credible history of operation. “Being ‘powered by Cummins’ not only supports the launch of a new company but also helps ZED customers know we’re stable, reliable and intent on solving additional fleet needs beyond ELD” says ZED Connect Ceo Skip Kinford.
Transportation management systems taking over the trucking scene
With the ELD Mandate it is evident that trucking software like electronic logging devices is the way forward. This has surged the need for such software encouraging new players to enter the market. The competitive landscape of the trucking industry is expected to become a level playing field with electronic logging systems being mandated.
Along with the ELDs, telematics are also gaining more and more traction. Many telematics companies offer ELDs as part of their packages offering all round convenience and efficiency. More and more carriers are opting for enterprise trucking software to optimize their business operations. With the mandate deadline just few months away you need to upgrade your business to ELDs as soon as possible for seamless operations.