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Moving From Paper to ELDs Saves Time for Midwest Carrier

ELDs made it easier for everyone from drivers to dispatchers to operations at R&M Trucking, which has terminals in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas.

October 2017, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

by Deborah Lockridge - Also by this author

Mike Narvaez, safety and compliance director for R&M, talks about the benefits of getting rid of piles of paper. Photo: Fleetmatics
Mike Narvaez, safety and compliance director for R&M, talks about the benefits of getting rid of piles of paper. Photo: Fleetmatics

R&M Trucking decided to act sooner rather than later in meeting the ELD mandate, and implemented ELDs in November 2016. Moving from paper to electronic hours of service tracking has made it easier for everyone from drivers to dispatchers to operations at the company, which has terminals in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas.

“We knew we needed to get on the ball and find a solution when we saw the regulations went through,” says Mike Narvaez, safety and compliance director for the 200-truck fleet of company-operated and owner-operator trucks.

R&M handles a variety of freight, from local cartage to intermodal to air freight. Using a combination of Fleetmatics' (a Verizon company) Reveal and LogBook, they are able to comply with their own safety policies by receiving real-time alerts for any driver behavior that may cause problems in the future. “LogBook has helped us keep our safety scores down by ensuring that any time a driver is stopped on the side of the road and his hours of service are checked, he’s fully compliant and there’s not a shadow of a doubt whether his logs are current. The solution has helped with any negative safety scores we might have had,” Narvaez explains. Fleetmatics Reveal helps R&M see exact driver location and if they’ve run into any problems along the way.

“If a customer calls and wants an ETA or is worried about where a driver may be, I can log into the solution and see where they are. It gives me accurate up-to-date information on driver location,” says Corey Christensen, dispatcher at R&M.

R&M, like many companies, was used to navigating around stacks of driver logs, reports and paperwork – all of which were transferred to an Excel spreadsheet and manually analyzed. Eliminating those manual processes increased productivity company-wide. R&M was able to free up employees to do other tasks they couldn’t do before since so much time was spent pushing paper.

R&M handles a variety of local freight. Photo: R&M website
R&M handles a variety of local freight. Photo: R&M website

“Not everybody has the cleanest writing, so [before ELDs], sometimes it was hard to match the name with the truck, and hours of trying to separate paperwork and keep it in order,” says dispatcher Jason Krawczyk.

Narvaez says ELDs have made it easier on drivers, too. “They don’t have to struggle with filling in lines on a log book form from the seat of their truck. You’re always current, your form and manner is perfect – you’ve got nothing to worry about. It’s one less thing on the driver’s mind when he’s got a million things already going on,” says Narvaez.

“I’d rather go back to flipping burgers in a burger joint than fill out paper logs again.”

Drivers noticed a different in their day-to-day activities. “Before we had e-logs, we were wasting time filling out a paper log book and it’s possible a lot of mistakes were being made,” says Wayne Marchant, driver at R&M. “LogBook makes the process more efficient, less time consuming, and you get your job done a lot faster with less interruptions.

“I’d rather go back to flipping burgers in a burger joint than fill out paper logs again.”

Having LogBook has helped change driver behavior at R&M. Narvaez and his team use the solution to closely monitor what drivers do on a daily basis, down to the minute. This helps them stay ahead of the game and make sure they remain compliant when it comes to driving hours, eliminating the need to back track and review past driver logs.

“I don’t have to worry about a driver making a mistake or not keeping his log book current,” Narvaez says. “On the back end, the filing is amazing. What were mountains or driver logs and receipts in the past are now on file in the cloud. It’s great,” he says. “Reveal will tell you all your violations. You don’t have to hunt them down, you don’t have to have someone auditing logs.”

For any company still trying to decide on a provider to comply with the ELD mandate, Narvaez says the time to act is now. “It’s here. You have to comply and you have to follow the law. The sooner you get on board, the better you’ll be. It’s a process, not a light switch. A company that waits to the last minute to be compliant, won’t be. That’s the bottom line.”

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