Ever since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandated that all trucking companies add electronic logging devices (ELD) to their fleets, it’s not uncommon to find high-tech pieces of tracking equipment in the cabin of a semi-truck. However, many companies hoped to cut costs by settling for the most basic tech to fulfill the new regulation. These types of systems often just track drivers’ hours and report driving logs. But by going for a limited option, these companies have overlooked some of the major advantages of a more complete tracking system.
GPS monitoring is about more than just following shipments and complying with government regulations. GPS monitoring should be seen as an investment meant to elevate trucking businesses. Upgrading to a full package will not only keep you in compliance but also cut costs, improve driver safety, improve job security, and make record-keeping far more effortless.
In this article, we will look at just a handful of the ways that adding a full-package monitoring system to your fleet of trucks can benefit the overall business. With this information, we hope that you’ll feel more inclined to make the most of the new mandate. If you’re ready, let’s begin.
While the FMCSA mandate doesn’t expressly state that trucking companies have to track their fleet’s exact location, any ELD will include some sort of tracker. Therefore, we must understand why FMCSA implemented this new regulation. To keep it short, the mandate was intended to keep motorists and the public safe. Logging hours can ensure that driver isn’t on the road for too long, but tracking goes beyond that.
Today’s tracking systems can log bad employee driving habits such as sharp turns, harsh braking, or speeding. Keeping detailed logs on how drivers perform will help to hold them accountable. If they continue to make similar mistakes, managers can then address the issue with data to back them up. Drivers will be compelled to drive more carefully and uphold their responsibilities to the company.
Of course, not every driver is looking to drive like a madman. The overwhelming majority of employees stick to the rules and do as they are told. Still, it’s nice to know that your fleet is where it is supposed to be. With tracking, you’ll be able to keep drivers on their routes and guarantee that shipments arrive on schedule.
Now, it’s not so much a question of monitoring which or where motorists are making pitstops. After all, everyone is entitled to pick up some lunch on the long haul. But if motorists are going too far out their way to pick up a hamburger or are adding hours to the journey for a break, these costs slowly add up for the business. In shipping, time is money, especially when you have to pay for the fuel. Keeping motorists to their intended routes and managing their speeds will help reduce excess fuel expenditure, keeping profits in the company’s coffers.
Help Out the Driver
If a driver does seem to be veering too far off their intended route, it may not be because they just want a specialty burger. Drivers are only human and it’s easy to get lost in an unfamiliar area. As the trucking industry continues to lose veteran motorists, younger, less experienced workers are looking to fill the void. Unfortunately, younger motorists lack the same experience and may need help getting to their destinations.
Luckily, monitoring helps managers keep their fleet on course and, if a driver does begin to stray from their route, managers can send out an alert to correct them. This feature is also useful for predicting traffic jams and roadwork. Unplanned interruptions can throw the entire fleet off schedule, so having access to a global network of information can help businesses better estimate their expected dates of delivery.
Better Record Keeping
And, last but certainly not least, having access to a constant stream of monitoring data helps keep business records in order. FMCSA regulations mandate that motorists electronically log their hours but, without tracking, it’s hard to honestly judge if drivers stopped driving when they logged out.
GPS systems should provide real-time monitoring as well as historic logs of every trip. This way, you can track not only hours that have been driven, but also the distance that employees covered and the date and time they did so. You’ll not only increase drivers’ efficiency but also cut down on any overtime or fines for breaking regulations.
Choosing the Right GPS Tracking System
With these benefits in mind, we hope that you’ll agree that upgrading to a full system can do more than just keep in line with government regulations. Don’t just settle on any system, though. The best monitoring systems should include the following features:
- Mobility — Look for a service that allows managers to stay in constant contact with their delivery team. Without the option for a mobile app, managers will not be able to send out alerts or messages to help keep motorists on track.
- Simplicity — A GPS monitoring system should be intuitive. An overly complicated platform will take too long to implement effectively and cause more frustration than is needed.
- Detailed Records — To keep accurate better records, you need a system that can record distance traveled, speed, time spent idle, and real-time location. This data should also be compiled into a digital record.
- Cloud Capabilities — For the sake of security, look for a system that will store your data in an encrypted digital cloud.
- Geofencing — If you are worried about motorists veering off their routes, you can add geofencing alerts to warn managers whenever a driver goes too far off their intended course.
Secure Your Fleet
If you’re using tracking equipment just to meet the recent FMCSA regulation, you are not getting the most out of your investment. Upgrading to a full GPS monitoring system can help boost efficiency and keep your drivers safer on the road. Don’t waste money on the most basic tech. Upgrade today and make the most of your business’s future.