By now you are aware that electronic logging devices (ELDs) are on their way to the trucking industry for good. The change means the average truck driving job will be somewhat different by virtue of the fact that electronic devices are replacing paper logs. Most of the experts are saying that trucking companies should expect a drop-off in productivity as a result. By the way, ELDs will be mandatory by the end of 2017.
Some companies that have already embraced electronic logging have reported an immediate 10-15% drop-off in production while drivers get used to the technology. Most say that production levels even out eventually, resulting in an overall loss of just 5%. But any loss of productivity is a negative thing.
It is probably not possible to eliminate lost productivity in the ELD era. The entire reason ELDs are being required is because the electronic devices do not lie for the most part. Assuming that some drivers stretch the limits and get away with it using paper logs, doing so will be a lot more difficult with ELD technology on board. So, how do you maintain productivity in the ELD era? Through excellent training and better time management.
Training Drivers to Use the Technology
One of the biggest productivity problems relating to ELDs is one of training. Though the truck driving job itself will not change a whole lot by switching from paper to electronics, drivers still have to learn how to use the new technology property. This can be intimidating to older drivers, especially those on the cusp of retirement.
This is unfortunate, especially given the fact that electronic logging is not all that complicated in a day and age where most of us use smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers. It is more a matter that people just do not like change. Training can go a long way toward alleviating the stress of change by gradually introducing drivers to ELDs and allowing them to get used to the idea of no paper.
Perhaps the best thing trucking companies can do for their drivers is to install the technology as soon as possible and then gradually introduce it to their workers over the next 18 months. A gradual implementation is a lot easier to swallow than a crash training course in December 2017. As long as training is thorough, companies can take as long as they need to get it done within the deadline window.
Better Management of Driver Time
Once ELD technology has been installed and paper goes away, maintaining productivity is all about better management of driver time. Trucking companies are going to have to do a more efficient job of scheduling loads, planning deliveries, choosing delivery routes, and so on. They may even have to find ways to reduce the amount of time drivers spend waiting for loading, unloading, and other time-wasting exercises.
Better time management can more than make up for any lost production realized by the implementation of ELD technology. There just has to be a will among dispatchers, shippers, and receivers to make it happen. If everything is left in the lap of drivers to work out by themselves, productivity will suffer.
As a side note, many large carriers including C.R. England has been using electronic logging for years now, and we’ve found a way to make it successful. The ELD era has arrived in this country, so now is the time to figure out ways to make it work – before the deadline arrives.