The ELD mandate has had manifold effects on freight markets in the United States, gradually tightening capacity by reducing productivity per truck, spiking turndowns and spot rates for ‘tweener’ routes, and generating an enormous wealth of data that has yet to be operationalized by fleets. It does not appear that a large number of over-the-road drivers left the industry due to the ELD mandate, and, if anything, carriers have started to learn how to manage their fleets in the ELD landscape—the April 1 ‘hard enforcement’ produced much less of a disruption in freight markets than the earlier December ‘soft enforcement’ deadline.
The ELD and telematics industries are becoming crowded—the FMCSA at one point estimated that over 130 ELD products existed on the market, not all of them compliant—and providers are looking to find an edge over their competitors, whether it’s through innovative low cost pricing structures, superior customer and technical support, or analytics services.
Last week, Coretex, a leader in compliance and fleet management solutions, announced the results of its post-mandate Electronic Logging Device (ELD) satisfaction survey, with responses from 303 U.S. trucking companies of various sizes.
Fleet owners are starting to come around to ELDs: 47% of respondents answered ‘yes’ to the question “Is the ELD mandate good for the transportation industry?” while 38% said no, and 15% were unsure.
Trucking appears to be in a transitional phase with regard to the adoption of ELDs: compliance rates are very high, but lingering negative perceptions about ELDs’ impact on driver satisfaction and retention point to an opportunity for further education. Most carriers do not take full advantage of the data their ELDs collect, failing to leverage the data to improve driver behaviors or hold shippers accountable. Only 51% of survey respondents, for example, said that their fleet’s CSA scores had improved since becoming ELD-compliant.
The vast majority of respondents—82%—are satisfied with their current ELD provider, but rated their vendor’s technical support an average of 3.73 out of 5. Fleets said that the most important factors influencing their decision to select a specific ELD product were user-friendliness (29%) and cost (28%), followed by customer service (10%) and real-time tracking (9%).
The most popular aspects of the ELD were real-time tracking, ease-of-use, and reporting capabilities, while the worst parts of the ELD experience included inaccurate data, connectivity issues, and poor technical support. Most respondents—82%—-said that they preferred an ELD solution they could self-install, and 55% preferred an in-cab screen that could be purchased through the ELD provider (30% wanted to source and buy their own screens, while 15% preferred using the drivers’ personal devices as a screen).
The survey produced some interesting findings regarding the business model of ELD providers: 75% of respondents said they were under contract with an ELD provider. Of that 75%, 54% said their contract was 36 months or longer, 35% had a 12-24 month contract, and 11% had a contract shorter than one year.
Coretex believes that the next step is using ELD data to achieve operational excellence in areas like safety and security, integrated data with TMS, process optimization, and reports automation.
“We conducted this survey in an effort to gain actionable insights from fleet operators directly impacted by this significant regulatory requirement,” said Craig Marris, Executive Vice President of Mixed Fleets at Coretex. “The survey illustrates that companies, especially those with small fleets, view the mandate as a burden. Yet, now that connected technology exists inside every cab, there is a huge opportunity to utilize this newly captured data to improve efficiencies and productivity for the entire supply chain. It is time for ELD providers to educate the industry on how to turn compliance into a business advantage.”
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