Attacking Inefficiency and Improving Service with ELDs

The benefits of an ELD extend well beyond just hours of service. Here are 5 ways to use your ELD for maximum productivity.

Published On: 09/10/2021
Truck driver talking to fleet manager
J. J. Keller Senior Editor Mark Schedler

Written by:

Mark Schedler

Sr. Transportation Management Editor — J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

The benefits of an ELD extend well beyond just hours of service. Analyzing the GPS data from your ELDs can help you find opportunities to increase productivity and enhance profitability, letting you do more with the same number of drivers.

Most ELDs offer the following data points that you can use to uncover significant cost reductions:

Customer delays

Use the electronic logging system to identify dock delays, and more importantly, support problem-solving to reduce the delays. Fewer delays allow drivers to be more productive, which increases the driver's pay and the company's revenue. What is the opportunity cost of a one-hour delay for your company and your driver?

On-time delivery & exceptions

Customers demand real-time tracking and advanced notice of service exceptions. Typically, they understand that delays occur, but they don't understand the lack of notice. Vehicles equipped with an ELD, such as J. J. Keller ELDs are likely capable of providing GPS location information when integrated into a dispatch system, which can help identify potential late deliveries. If you can't offer this essential customer support either on-demand or proactively, you risk losing business.

Out of route miles

Vehicle miles that exceed the miles compensated by the customer are wasted miles unless the miles are driven in support of maintenance or to get drivers home. Each additional mile costs approximately $1.14 when operating a heavy truck, based on a 2020 update of an American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) study of trucking costs for Class 8 vehicles. "Out-of-route" exception reporting can highlight meaningful cost-reduction opportunities daily.

Fuel efficiency

Idling a standard sleeper-berth-equipped big rig consumes roughly one gallon of fuel per hour. So idling for an eight-hour sleep period and with fuel at $3.00 per gallon can burn $24 per night, which is over $120 per week.

Two more reports to find improvements in fuel efficiency are:

  • Excessive-speed trend reports by driver and real-time speed alerts, and
  • Drivers who are not using progressive shifting and consistently exceed optimal revolutions-per-minute (RPM).

Mile per gallon (MPG) reports by driver only show the outcome. You need reports that measure inefficient behavior. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that driving 65 mph instead of 55 mph can consume up to 20% more fuel. Also, the EPA found that driving at excessive RPM can waste several gallons of fuel each hour.

Driver & vehicle utilization

Drivers' on-duty hours per day is an indicator of how well load planners are using the valuable resources of the truck and driver. The drivers who are below a minimum level of drive hours or total on-duty hours per day are not productive for a reason. Either the work planned for the driver is inadequate, uncontrollable delays are excessive, or drivers are not making efficient use of the time available. The 14-consecutive hour driving window forces drivers and carriers to be as efficient as possible with available on-duty hours.

A vehicle that has not generated miles over a certain threshold can be a costly outcome of having too few qualified drivers. A truck payment for a Class 8 truck can easily exceed $2000 per month, and a new 53-foot trailer that is idle can represent a $700 per month cost. Smaller specialty work vehicles are also a substantial cost per day when idle. Every day, actions must focus on seating those idle vehicles and generating more revenue with the vehicles that are operating.

Improving Driver Performance with Encompass

Improving the performance of your current drivers is the best way to protect your bottom line and create a desirable safety culture. And it's easier with J. J. Keller® Encompass with Elogs. ELD data provides timely alerts of risky driver behaviors like speeding and hard-braking so that you can target your training.  Driver scorecards allow you to communicate areas of improvement to drivers easily and reinforces positive behaviors. Plus, our reports give you visibility to out-of-route miles and idle time, helping you keep fuel costs down and optimize delivery routes for faster customer service. Talk with a compliance specialist and learn how Encompass can help you improve your business.

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Try J. J. Keller's Quick Comply Program

Are you looking to change your ELD provider? We make it easy with our Quick Comply program. Plus, get a 60-day trial of the Encompass Fleet Management Platform.

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