How Shippers Can Help Offset the Impacts of the ELD Mandate
There's been a lot of talk about how carrier companies and drivers have had to adjust their practices due to the recent electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, which began being phased in on December 18, 2017. Businesses and facilities have been affected as well. As always, the trucking industry is a two-way street. As drivers adjust to stricter hours of service (HOS) regulations, so too must the shipping community. So, what are some changes shipping and receiving facilities will need to address?
Be Proactive with Carriers
If you do business through a third-party logistics company (3PL), the 3PL should assess which of its contracted carriers utilize ELDs or have a transition plan in place. The 3PL should be proactive about ensuring its contracted carriers are preparing for the change. In general, companies that choose to adopt the technology later than others will experience an adjustment period that could lead to a loss of productivity. To avoid any break in operations due to issues with ELD implementation among carriers, maintain a dialogue with your supply chain service providers about ELD compliance strategies and which technology is available to assist with routing to help address disruptions.
Adjust Expectations of Transit Times
With the ELD mandate in place, the time it takes to move freight from origin to destination may rise, as Hours of Service (HOS) restrictions will be more effectively enforced. Drivers may find themselves sitting with a full load awaiting a reset to their HOS, so careful planning is a must. In addition, carriers and shippers alike must be sure their transit expectations align with legal driving hours. Asking drivers to exceed legal requirements could be considered driver coercion, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Be Aware of Price Increases
Following implementation, freight capacity shrinkage may be due to the number of carriers who are not in compliance with the ELD mandate. Of course, when capacity shrinks, prices increase. The exact percentage of anticipated increase varies by a number of factors, but businesses should be prepared to experience continued capacity strain due to implementation and a number of other industry-related factors.
Streamline Operations to Maximize Driving Time
Shippers can help offset the capacity shortage brought on by the ELD mandate by utilizing best practices when working with carriers. In a white paper titled "660 Minutes: How Improving Driver Efficiency Increases Capacity," J.B. Hunt offers suggestions for streamlining operations in order to shorten the amount of time drivers spend on duty, but not driving. These include:
- Reducing loading/unloading times
- Utilizing "drop & hook" vs. live loading
- Using flexible pickup and delivery times
- Creating safe, legal parking at pickup/delivery locations
J.B. Hunt estimates utilizing these best practices across the industry could increase driver efficiency by as much as 44,375 more miles per year, per driver. The increase in driver efficiency in turn creates additional capacity and lowers overall shipping costs. For more on shipping best practices, download the white paper.