Vehicle-Installed ELD vs. BYODWhich Is Best for Your Business?
The ELD Mandate is official and you will soon need an HOS solution. Before you do that, you first need to decide which method of obtaining E-logs is the best fit.
Once you start researching ELDs, you will find that there are really two types of solutions available, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or vehicle-installed ELD. In case you are not familiar with BYOD, it refers to companies or employees providing their own tablets or smartphones and downloading an app to monitor HOS. Whereas vehicle-installed ELD is an HOS-dedicated device that is tethered to a GPS device and is installed into the vehicle.
Because the use of ELD is being mandated by federal regulation, it’s safe to assume some buyers are looking for the easiest, least expensive option. Instead of settling for any system just to be compliant or because it costs the least, why not take this opportunity to select the right technology that can improve your fleet management practices the most?
You Get What You Pay for with Technology
Almost every business sets a price point according to budget when purchasing new technology, and that’s completely normal. While being conscious of budget, it’s crucial that you assess the overall cost of ownership before making a decision. Although BYOD may appear to be the less expensive option up front, you need to account for the total cost of ownership, potential return on investment (ROI) and other benefits gained by using a more comprehensive ELD solution.
Ask yourself this, do your customers come to you because you’re the lowest price? Or are they coming to you because you provide the best service for the money?
Potential disadvantages to BYOD
BYOD options appear to be a lower cost of entry. If your drivers already have smartphones, you can just download an app, right? There is much more to the story than that. Before selecting this type of system, make sure you consider these potential disadvantages to BYOD options.
It’s not actually cheaper
You may pay monthly for ELD service per driver instead of per vehicle – typically you have more drivers than vehicles.
Limited device choices
You will have to choose between Android or iOS devices (not all vendors support both operating systems).
Not designed for harsh environments
Consumer grade BYODs are not designed for harsh commercial automotive environments.
Distracted driving leads to fines
CDL drivers are not legally allowed to hold or interact with a phone or tablet while the vehicle is in motion, so large fines are likely.
Paying employee's data plan
How large of a data plan will you need? Your company will likely foot the bill for every driver’s data plan.
Paying for lost or damaged devices
This is a big risk to take when your company is required to have a compliant device in the cab.
Forgetting the device
What if your driver leaves his/her phone or tablet at home? They will be unable to collect E-Log data.
Easily turned off or not charged
If devices are off and not collecting data, drivers are not supplying up-to-date E-Logs upon DOT roadside inspections.
Advantages of vehicle-installed ELD solutions
Vehicle-installed ELD solutions help fleets get ELD compliant and receive many benefits beyond compliance. Fleets pay less in the long run with a vehicle-installed option vs. BYOD and receive more bang for their buck.
More value, less costs overall
The monthly price for vehicle-installed ELD is calculated per truck and not per driver, which typically is less expensive.
Data plans are included
Data is typically included with this option. Be sure to ask potential ELD providers this question upfront.
Installed ELDs are the safer option
Usually, ELDs have a lockout feature to prevent interaction while the vehicle is in motion. This increases safety, along with preventing fines.
Receive the benefits of GPS tracking
GPS is often a component of an ELD, so there’s no need to buy another device to receive the benefits of GPS tracking.
Choose the Best ELD Technology for Your Business
Watch: Hours of Service ELD Solution
With telematics products, ELD hardware may appear to be similar between vendors, but the service offerings beyond that can vary considerably. Along with assessing the ELD hardware, it’s important to ensure the system and vendor meet other important requirements.
Meet FMCSA Regulations
First, the system needs to meet the basic ELD functional needs and FMCSA requirements. Along with meeting these requirements, it is also important to look at the provider as a whole before choosing a system. How will they support you, is onboarding and training available, do they provide implementation guidance and resources?
Experience Equals Better Results
Before making a decision, you should also consider the provider’s experience level in HOS and ELD platforms. Going with a newer player to the Telematics marketplace is risky because they are less experienced and will likely be less reliable. Selecting a provider with a proven track record in telematics and ELD technology will prevent challenges down the line, from either a compliance or software/hardware standpoint.