Since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate late last year, transportation companies have had no choice but to begin grappling with how to implement the changes necessary to stay in compliance.
All professional (CDL) truck drivers and commercial motor carriers required to keep a record of duty are also required to have a device that tracks and records hours of service electronically. To ensure compliance, drivers must also be prepared to present this information log upon request by law enforcement. This is where mobile printers can provide value, efficiency and convenience.
6 considerations when selecting the mobile printing component of your onboard logging system:
- Printers should be compact in size
- They should be rugged enough to withstand the rigors of over-the-road travel
- They should be fast and easy for drivers to learn and use
- They should be highly reliable over a long service life, without a lot of maintenance and upkeep
- Documents should print clearly, legibly and be sustainable
- Compatibility with major operating platforms (iOS, Android, Windows, Windows Mobile) is a must
Preparation Makes Sense
Many truck fleets have already implemented electronic onboard recording devices and commercial fleet management systems to automate routing processes. These systems are designed to capture and record data, such as time on the road, location and a driver’s duty status. For example, some systems provide graphic mapping displays and efficient routing applications so drivers can avoid delays caused by construction zones or heavy traffic. Some systems are set up to monitor and record driver behavior so management can maintain oversight of company safety directives regarding speeding, idling and hard breaking. While it may seem daunting to start, fleet companies that have transitioned to onboard computing are already seeing improvements in productivity, safety, driver morale and retention.
Over the past year, my team has had the pleasure of working with Omnitracs in developing an onboard digital communications solution for Englander Transportation, specialists in coast-to-coast refrigeration transportation. When we began working on the project, communications between Englander’s drivers on the road and the company’s headquarters were conducted via phone and fax. As owner Carl Bumgarner described it, “the inefficient manual processes drivers had been following were obviously a huge waste of time and money for our company.”
Englander selected Omnitracs Mobile Computing Platform (MCP), equipping each of its 22 truck cabs with a laptop computer, screen and location-based software to enable bi-directional, real-time communication between the drivers in transit and the company’s headquarters. Our team played a role in completing the setup with our PocketJet full-page thermal printers that were mounted in each cab, allowing drivers to print required documents anytime, anywhere. The new system saves time and labor by automating the way drivers keep trip logs, hours of service tracking, and pre-trip checks.
You can read more about the project and our relationship with Englander and Omnitracs in the case study below: