A major factor in Southeastern Freight Line’s recent selection of PeopleNet’s open fleet mobility platform was the system’s ability to accommodate the carrier’s customized fleet management applications, including Innovative Software Engineering’s eFleetSuite Electronic Driver Logs and Driver Vehicle Inspection Reporting (DVIR) systems.
“ISE’s extensive knowledge of compliance software, the products’ ease of use and ISE’s ability to customize them persuaded us to work with them more than three years ago,” says Braxton Vick, senior vice president-corporate planning and development for Southeastern Freight Lines. “When we decided that we needed to upgrade our mobile fleet management technology, it was critical that the new system allow us to continue using the ISE driver log and DVIR solutions and other proprietary applications we had built.”
When Southeastern evaluated electronic log offerings several years ago, the company discovered that none of the products available met the large Lexington, S.C.-based regional less-than-truckload carrier’s needs.
“Our record of 99.6 percent on-time, next-day service requires operational flexibility,” Vick says. Drivers must be available to work both in linehaul and pickup-and-delivery (P&D) applications that operate under different regulatory requirements. The off-the-shelf options available to us simply didn’t do what we needed them to do and were not cost-effective.”
For example, a Southeastern driver might work almost exclusively in P&D but run a couple of linehaul operations a year as need arises. Or a P&D driver uses a truck that had been used last by a linehaul driver. ISE worked with Southeastern to customize the eFleetSuite Driver Logs application to meet the carrier’s specific needs without requiring a monthly fee for equipment or drivers that rarely required driver logs.
DVIRs were a similar story. “We might have four drivers in the truck over two days, and all of them touching the trailer,” Vick says. And like most LTL carriers, forklifts inspections were important, too. What Southeastern really needed was a DVIR application for straight trucks, tractors, trailers and forklifts that would work across multiple platforms – even a handheld Wi-Fi unit used by forklift drivers.
Southeastern deployed ISE’s Driver Logs in 2010, and it currently covers about 2,200 of the carrier’s 3,600 drivers who are routinely subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration logging requirements. The DVIR application, which also complies with FMCSA regulations, was fully deployed in early 2012 as an extension of the EDL application and handles more than 14,000 DVIRs a day.
The ISE Driver Logs and DVIR applications – as well as Southeastern’s proprietary applications for vehicle/driver tracking and real-time pick-up and delivery workload management – integrate with PeopleNet’s Vehicle Management data and other telematics information such as GPS location.
Having an independent driver log product like ISE’s Driver Logs application provides much-needed flexibility in choosing the best fleet management technology, Vick says. “A carrier that doesn’t have an independent log product is stuck.” Logs are critical because FMCSA requires drivers have to have records for that day and the seven days prior. Unless a carrier has its drivers maintain paper logs during the transition – and a growing number of newer drivers have never used paper logs – it can’t switch products, Vick says.
“ISE is honored not only to have provided Southeastern Freight Lines with critical fleet compliance tools like the Driver Logs and DVIR applications but also to have the carrier’s choice of fleet management technology rest at least in part on the ability to retain and use those tools,” says Hass Machlab, ISE’s founder, president and CEO. Machlab’s own expertise in fleet compliance software dates back to the mid-1990s when he was a software engineer for Rockwell International’s Tripmaster product.
“Southeastern is fortunate to have found a partner in a forward-thinking company like PeopleNet, which sees value in giving its customers the option to deploy third-party and proprietary applications – even when it offers its own solution,” Machlab says. “We believe other fleet operations will take advantage of this opportunity, and we stand ready to help them.”
In addition to offering its compliance system directly to fleets, ISE licenses its Driver Logs and DVIR software to about a dozen companies that market telematics systems to vehicle fleets of all types and sizes.