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Learn how to transition your fleet to electronic logging devices with a five-step plan

Worried about the government's June 12 ELD deadline? These tips will help you execute a flawless transition from paper to digital

Two cargo professionals talking by transport truck

It's not too late for Canadian trucking companies to prepare for—and even leverage—Canada's impending electronic logging device (ELD) rule. That was the takeaway following our conversation with Marc Moncion, Vice-President of Safety, Compliance, and Regulatory Affairs at Fleet Complete. A 25-year industry veteran, he's an experienced trucker who has spent his career advocating for drivers while sitting on government regulatory bodies.

Moncion sees five key transitional phases companies should go through as they work towards the June 12, 2021 deadline, by which time all operators of commercial motor vehicles in Canada that are currently required to keep paper logbooks must adopt third-party certified ELDs.

The time for discussion and debate over whether a Canadian ELD rule has ended, with nearly everyone agreeing it will result in safer roads and increased business efficiency, eventually making the industry fairer and perhaps even more profitable for carriers that embrace all that ELDs have to offer. All that's left is to get it done.

To that end, Moncion has some great advice on how to go about making the transition. Whether you're still trying to figure out your company's vision for the ELD future, how to get all of your drivers and staff up to speed on the new technology, or looking to for innovative ways your chosen ELD solution can benefit your company, Moncion has some useful words of wisdom.

Which device is right for your company, vehicles, and drivers? Who should have input? When should you start executing the ELD deployment plan to provide enough time to run the transition for the entire fleet and train appropriate staff in their use?

Phase 1: Develop your ELD strategy

This is the phase that will shape the direction of your company for years to come, what your fleet wants to achieve and how deployment of ELD would give your company a competitive advantage in the marketplace. . Start by making company’s vision relevant and meaningful for your fleet and make sure your employees are engaged in the process of vision development.

Switching from paper logbooks to automated devices will make things much simpler and more efficient in the long run, but to get there as quickly and effectively as possible you'll need to think how you can use the data from ELD to achieve company’s objectives then devise a plan and make some important decisions.

Which device is right for your company, vehicles, and drivers? Who should have input? When should you start executing the ELD deployment plan to provide enough time to run the transition for the entire fleet and train appropriate staff in their use?

Figuring out the answers to these questions will not only ensure the following phases proceed smoothly, it will also help inform the updates you make to company policies and procedures to ensure the devices are used properly and leveraged for maximum benefit.

Phase 2 – Training drivers and office staff

Drivers are the most important part of the (ELD) equation

The best technology in the world can be useless in the hands of people who don't know how to properly operate it. Once you've chosen your ELD solution it is essential that all stakeholders—from drivers and maintenance personnel to office dispatchers, fleet managers and executives driving company decisions and policy—are provided the proper training on what an ELD is used for and how it works.

Drivers, of course, are the most important part of this equation. They'll need to know not just how the ELDs in their trucks work and what they record, but also when they kick into operation, which data can be edited, how to add annotations, what to do in the event of an ELD malfunction (tip: a backup logbook is essential), and what drivers need to do during road inspections and facility audits. 

This might sound daunting, but reputable ELD vendors ought to be able to assist by providing technical documentation as well as end-user training and collateral materials that can be distributed to appropriate staff, used in either online or in-person training sessions and referenced as needed in the future. With the right ELD partner, training shouldn't be a massive effort.

Phase 3 – Device deployment

Choose a handful of trusted individuals to participate in a pilot program

Deploying your chosen ELD solution isn't as simple as just dropping the devices in vehicles and turning them on. To ensure a smooth and pain-free rollout you'll want to schedule installation during vehicle maintenance to keep your fleet operating at full capacity.

You'll then need to choose a handful of trusted individuals to participate in a pilot program—a vital step that will help to identify potential wrinkles and iron them out prior to introducing the new technology and procedures to everyone.

Remember: Make sure you allow enough time to properly complete this phase so that that you aren't forced to rush through it as the June 12 deadline approaches.

Phase 4 – Monitor ELD use and data, make any necessary adjustments

Give (yourself) a chance to audit the data the devices are recording so you can ensure regulation compliance

Once your ELDs are aboard vehicles and your truckers begin using them you'll switch gears from training and deployment to maintenance and management. Ideally, this phase will begin well before the government deadline in June. This will give you a chance to audit the data the devices are recording so you can ensure regulation compliance.

This is also when you'll be able to begin monitoring and analyzing the data these devices collect, which is where the business benefits of ELDs begin to kick in. You'll be able to discover vehicle operation habits among drivers that you may want to alter, and figure out key performance indicators to keep an eye on. The data gathered will be different for each carrier, and it's up to you to make the most of this valuable information.

Phase 5 – Sit back and enjoy the ride!

This is the fun part. Once your ELD devices are in the wild, the deadline has passed and everything is running smoothly, take time to evaluate the results. Confirm your return on investment by looking at the additional hours your drivers spend on the road rather than scribbling out log entries and putting together documentation for inspections. Acknowledge and share anecdotes from drivers who are making the most of the new technology to inspire others. Look for other ways you can leverage ELDs to improve your business.

It takes a bit of doing to get to this final phase, but the results are well worth the work.

To learn more about how Rogers can help your company with its transition, visit our ELD hub or Rogers Fleet Management Solutions.