For too long, some carriers pushed the envelope on hours of service and in some cases used two sets of paper logs to hide violations. Therefore, for the trucking industry, the ELD mandate creates a level playing field and promotes safer practices on the road.
Manufacturers must pay close attention to the ELD mandate. This represents a long overdue, substantial change to how truckers operate. Here are some tips:
Survey your carriers. Find out if your carriers are already following the mandate — if not, they’re late to the game. Through March 31, noncompliant carriers may be fined. Therefore, the carrier may be placed out of service. Your cargo could be sitting at a DOT inspection station for some time. If you receive push back from your carrier, consider it a red flag.
Be prepared for price increases. If your shipper hasn’t followed the hours-of-service rule in the past and has been running over hours, the ELD mandate will put that to a halt. Remember: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Look at your delivery lanes. Determine their distance. Ask whether a truck with a single driver could really make the delivery within 11 hours of drive time (taking into account traffic, rest breaks, and other factors). If you have experienced unrealistic travel time, that is over. Some manufacturers may need to look at revised delivery times.
The ELD mandate is a win-win for both the trucking industry — by upholding safety — and for shippers/manufacturers — who will have complete access to where their trucks are at each moment. The ELD mandate could compound truck capacity problems, especially in an improving economy. Shippers who proactively secure capacity are far less likely to feel the capacity crunch. Be sure to select your core carriers — make commitments and expect reciprocal commitments in return. Here are some tips to remain an attractive shipper of choice:
- Extended pick-up and delivery times. Tight delivery windows and long loading delays impact productivity.
- Drop-and-hook freight can be more efficient and driver-friendly.
- Have cargo ready when the professional driver arrives. Understand that the driver makes his/her money driving — not waiting.
- Communicate often and provide volume forecasts to help capacity planning.