Fleet panel: Experience with e-logs overwhelmingly positive

By Jack Roberts on

photoFleet executives speaking at the CCJ Summer Symposium in La Jolla, Ca., today said their experiences implementing electronic logging devices have been overwhelmingly positive for their businesses, customers and drivers.

The panel was moderated by CCJ‘s Technology Editor, Aaron Huff, and consisted of Neil Smith, Vice President, operations, Western Area, Con-Way; Jim Gomez, Jr., Vice President, operational compliance, John Christner Trucking and Scott Baker, Vice President, recruiting and driver development, Swift Transportation.

The first point all three participants agreed upon was that the process of implementing e-logs was not cheap and did not occur quickly. In the case of Swift – an admittedly large carrier – Barker noted that the process to introduce e-logs took six quarters – a full year and a half – to complete.

Smith noted that a mandate is likely coming and, based on Con-Way’s experience, said he would recommend that fleets get ahead of the curve now before they “have a gun to their head” and have to meet government-implemented deadlines.

“It’s a lengthy, complicated process,” he noted. “And it’s hard enough to do without having to worry about meeting a deadline to be in compliance with federal regulations.”

Training and equipment installation were two implementation bottlenecks all three panelists experienced.

“We wanted our own technicians trained to install the equipment,” Barker said, “so that added some time to the process. But once they were ready, we began installing equipment as our trucks came through the shops for maintenance. It was a constant flow of activity over a year and half. But even though it was a very extensive process, that went off very well. Honestly, after a time, even most resistant drivers saw what e-logs could do for them and today, they don’t like it all if the system goes down and they have to go back to keeping paper logs.”

According to Gomez, e-logs have become a powerful management tool for John Christner in that they allow quick and accurate matching of drivers with available hours and loads.

“To better manage our data flow, we contracted with a third-party company that provides a service platform showing us our driver’s virtual hours in real time,” he says. “We can also use this system to project those hours out over coming days to see what a particular driver’s hours look like right up unto the load is delivered. We’ve never had that capability before.”

Smith agreed, adding that initially drivers pushed back against the e-log initiative drivers.

“They felt it was a ‘Big Brother’ issue and wanted to know why we needed the government watching everything we did,” he said. “But, they found that it actually enhanced their productivity and paychecks. Because it allowed us to manage them better by matching them up with loads while they still have hours left in the day.”

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts is executive editor for CCJ and equipment editor for its sister magazine Overdrive. Roberts joined Randall-Reilly in 1995 as associate editor of Equipment World magazine and began covering both heavy-duty and light trucks in 1996. In 2006 he was the founding editor of Total Landscape Care before joining CCJ's staff in 2008.

5 comments
Karl
Karl

Just like the post below. E logs are great BUT.  If they are great then there shouldn't be a BUT.  Im not sure what size most fleets are but Im going to go out on a limb and say most fleets are 15 or less trucks. Why is it always the big fleets that tout all this BS get the attention.  I just checked Swifts FMCSA Snapshot.  They have KILLED 44 People in the last 24 Months. Im a small fleet that has had accidents, all minor, but still accidents.   So I have no E logs or driver training school so Im unsafe and Swift is the shining example of Safety.   WTF people.     Check these so called pioneers of safeties Snapshots.  Facts people Facts.  


Look at all the big companies that are saying how great it is and check their records.  If the ELOGS are so great and the life saving tool the big fleets and governments claim then when a truck is in an accident if the logs are legal there should be no recourse.  


Check to see how many people die in hospitals from bad decisions yet Drs, interns, nurses, etc can work until they collapse. 


Ive never been asked my opinion and when I offer to let someone go in my trucks, discuss the issues there are never any takes. Yet the big fleet execs are catered too.   How may Swift execs where truck drivers?

Brenda
Brenda

This big fleet didn't say how much it cost, nor did the small fleet. e-logs are so wonderful why aren't they operating the truck - why would you need a driver.   All this is a corporate greed put on the independent owner/operators, and people in government who wouldn't know how to operate a semi if they tried.  How many years driving experience does Ferro have?

smallfleet
smallfleet

We are a small fleet and I feel the e-logs have helped, but we only have teams and local drivers. But I do believe that this was pushed by the larger companies to help eliminate the smaller fleets.

mrtvtruck
mrtvtruck

Another story about how great e-logs are going to be.  Funny how they never talk to drivers who are racing a 14 hour clock everyday, taking hours when they are not tired because the e-log "knows best", and forcing yourself to drive tired because you have available hours.  It looks like someone would be smart enough to put together that the Walmart driver involved in the fatal crash likely was "maximizing" his driving time and rushing to get parked before his 14 hour clock expired.  All of these executives and the FMCSA just do not get it; such a shame for the motoring public.

old lady trucker
old lady trucker

@mrtvtruck

And the smaller fleet or Owner/Operator who does not have the extra profit to purchase all that and keep running the loads for a client they have worked hard to secure.  That driver knows what is safe and what is not because their whole life depends on it.  The e-log has no benefit to them profit wise, and their business is about profit and getting the client what they ask for.  Who will be helping that client when the e-logs say NO.  Distorts the transportation of goods factor our whole American society is being built on.  So now we are going to rearrange it all for whom?

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