The ELD Mandate Aftermath: How Technology Can Battle Rising Freight Costs

The ELD mandate has had a larger impact on the trucking industry than most fleet professionals anticipated. A recent article by estimated that 3% of owner-operators left the industry following news of the ELD mandate. Driver shortage coupled with the reduction of hours a driver can spend on the road is driving up cost per mile for the fleet industry.

So how, in these current conditions, can trucking businesses offer their services at a competitive rate? The answer lies in technology.

Technology enables fleet businesses to run more efficiently — minimizing unplanned downtime, reducing wasted fuel and maintenance costs, eliminating time spent off-route and more.

Minimize Downtime

Unexpected downtime can cost trucking businesses thousands of dollars per hour. Once thought to be inevitable, unplanned downtime is becoming a thing of the past thanks to new breakthroughs in technology. The Internet of Things (IoT) has offered up a new revenue stream for fleet maintenance, allowing companies in the industry to plan out when their assets need to be shopped — even for unexpected reasons. This maintenance approach can result in up to 70 percent fewer breakdowns.

IoT connectivity combined with industrial artificial intelligence (AI) software can surface alerts and actionable maintenance recommendations days or even weeks before an impending failure will occur. By embracing this type of technology, fleet managers now have the opportunity to foresee catastrophic breakdowns and plan accordingly.

Eliminate Unnecessary Spending

Maintenance and fuel costs are unnecessarily high among the fleet industry. Fleets that use preventive maintenance run the risk of over-maintaining their assets and therefore overspending on maintenance costs. By leveraging IoT solutions, fleets can incorporate condition-based maintenance into their routine and optimize their maintenance schedules based on each vehicle’s individual needs.

Wasted fuel is another high-cost item. Even by reducing unnecessary idling, fleets can drive their fuel costs down. Technology can help indicate unavoidable versus avoidable idling by taking contextual data (like weather, geographic, and traffic data) into account. Knowing that a driver was idling because it was 10 degrees outside and they needed to keep their vehicle warm is important information that can help fleet managers understand where they are able to cut costs and where they are not.

Eliminate Wasted Time Spent Off Route or Stopped

In an industry where every driving hour counts, the recent ELD mandate has made it even more critical to eliminate unnecessary stops and detours. Eliminating, or even reducing, wasted time spent off-route or stopped can have dramatic cost benefits for fleets of all sizes. Industrial AI solutions deliver significant advantages to fleet managers by using machine learning to turn mountains of IoT data into actionable insights. They can provide optimized routes for their drivers, know in advance when a driver will need to perform active regeneration on a vehicle and strategically assign that vehicle to a specific trip. Additionally, features like breadcrumbing can help fleet managers identify whether or not the best route was taken upon trip completion.

Negotiate Lower Insurance Premiums

IoT solutions provide fleets with the leverage needed to negotiate lower insurance costs. These solutions monitor various aspects of driver behavior — like speed, seat belt safety, hard breaking events, etc. — paired with contextual data — like weather, traffic, and geographic data — to enable fleet managers and insurance providers alike to determine whether or not drivers are driving safely. These insights arm fleet managers with the leverage they need to negotiate lower insurance premiums.

Industrial AI solutions that capitalize on IoT are providing incredible opportunity to fleets of all sizes that are looking to reduce their costs. In order to remain competitive, trucking businesses will have to adapt and embrace these game-changing technologies.