The ELD mandate, which went into effect last December, has been a point of contention for shippers and carriers alike. While most recognize that the use of ELDs makes the roads safer, change is usually met with at least some form of resistance. In the case of the ELD mandate, that resistance is being fed by the fact that ELD standards are slowing carriers down. It’s a growing pain, sure, but the effects can be mitigated using visibility technology.
ELD Standards Cause an Increase in Transit Times
Lanes in the 450 to 600-mile range are getting hit the hardest with increased shipping times as a result of the mandate. While the cost of securing the freight remains the same, it is caused the average transit time to jump. Drivers can no longer stretch their hours near the end of a route, meaning shipments are being delayed. What’s more is that drivers are unable to log as many hours, especially if loading and unloading takes longer than expected, so they’re asking for hire rates to make up for their lost hours. This could not be happening at a worse time when shipping desperately needs to gain efficiency, not lose it.
Good Tech, Bad Tech
The ELD mandate might not be the favorite subject of shippers or carriers right now—nobody likes losing efficiency or revenue to government mandates—but it is a good thing in the long run. Time limits exist for a reason, and using ELDs to ensure that those laws are adhered to makes the roads safer. But ELDs can actually increase efficiency if they’re leveraged properly.
ELDs can play a vital role in providing visibility, all you have to do is add some simple API integrations. Once an ELD is integrated into a larger suite of visibility tools, the tracking data that it transmits can fit into the larger visibility puzzle. You can’t increase the amount of time drivers are allowed to drive in a shift, but you can use that data for better planning and exception management.
Visibility Beyond Tracking is Crucial
Carriers will still have to gain back some of the efficiency being lost to ELD standards, and the best way to do that is to leverage modern visibility technology. Visibility means gaining full transparency into pricing, pickups, tracking, documents, and payments, providing you with fewer inefficiencies, and more time for everyone in the supply chain to devote to other tasks that need their attention.
The ELD mandate comes with growing pains, but technology as a whole is having a positive impact on the industry. While ELDs are increasing transit times, and impacting the cost per shipment, they also factor into providing visibility data the value of which outweighs the negative impact of the mandate. The key takeaway here is that shippers and carriers must leverage visibility to increase their overall efficiency. Once the majority of the industry is doing that, things will actually be more efficient than they were before the ELD mandate.