In a recent webinar with FreightWaves, Trucker Tools’ CEO Kary Jablonski and VP of Strategic Alliances Matt Silver took a deep dive into how ELDs can help simplify and automate real-time tracking to improve shipment visibility. The webinar, titled “Reduce Annoying Check Calls: Let Your ELD Simplify and Automate Real-Time Tracking,” focused on how ELD-based load tracking has grown more popular in recent years and the benefits of load tracking with ELDs for brokers, carriers and drivers. In the webinar, Jablonski and Silver also provided real-world best practices for engaging with truckers around ELD load tracking. The technical aspects of ELD integrations and ELD data privacy were discussed during the webinar, as well.  

The Evolution of ELD Load Tracking

Until relevantly recently, mobile apps were the preferred technology for freight visibility. Over the last few years, interest in ELD-based data and telematics has grown significantly. Tracking loads with ELDs has grown in popularity and many fleets and asset-based brokers now want to be able to offer their drivers the option of ELD load tracking in addition to tracking by mobile app. 

“I’m sure everyone in this webinar is aware of the shift towards ELDs that has happened over the last couple of years,” Jablonski said. “Trucker Tools started in 2009 actually as the first mobile app tracking application out there and we’ve grown with the industry as it’s changed and shifted towards using both ELD tracking and mobile app tracking. That’s where we’ve gone as well. Right now, we’re working with a number of brokers who are wanting to balance tracking loads between ELDs and mobile apps.”

The Benefits of ELD Tracking 

ELD load tracking is completely hands off for the driver, as opposed to an old school track and trace call or even mobile app tracking,” Jablonski said, “As a driver, once you set that ELD to send a track to a broker, you can forget it. You don’t have to ever touch it again, so that’s safe. You also have very few concerns about mobile data connectivity because the ELD is connected via GPS. The GPS connection means it doesn’t matter where you’re driving, which part of the country you’re in and which carrier you’re on, you’re always going to have connectivity through GPS and not have to worry about dropping coverage.”

If you’re a broker on Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity, you can still find loads with the platform’s digital freight matching technology – even if some loads are tracked by ELD. Integrated with your TMS, Smart Capacity is able to simultaneously engage drivers both on the mobile app and through traditional channels like e-mail. Even though some of your drivers may not use the Trucker Tools app for load tracking, they can still use the app for its other 17 features and tools designed for life on the road. With Trucker Tools’ free app, drivers can trip plan and find weigh scales, parking, rest areas, truck stops, food, reloads and more. 

“The final benefit I want to underscore here is privacy,” said Jablonski. “We know that is a top concern for many truckers out there, as it should be. The way that Trucker Tools is tracking with ELDs doesn’t include sharing personal data at all. We also don’t even track the vehicle. We’re just tracking the load. That means as soon as the load starts, we’re tracking via GPS with consistent updates. As soon as the load is dropped off, that all ends. Tracking with ELD is a super private and secure way to track.”

Best Practices for ELD-Based Load Tracking

“The way we see our brokers most successfully roll out large scale ELD tracking programs is to make sure that they’re working with an ELD provider who has existing connections,” said Jablonski. “For example, we’re announcing tomorrow the launch of our partnership with Motive, formerly Keep Truckin’. Our one-click integration with Motive makes it so that every carrier and driver you have tracking via Trucker Tools will have the option of tracking completely seamlessly through a Motive ELD. When it comes to ELD tracking, you should make sure that you’re working with a tracking provider who has those connections. It’s also important that the tech that you’re using to track ELDs is fully up to date and can identify where there are ongoing issues and inconsistencies in data.”

Another strategy Jablonski recommended is to consider co-marketing with ELD providers. Implementing an ELD load tracking strategy can feel like a massive cultural shift. The more that you can educate the drivers and carriers about the benefits of tracking with ELD, the more effective you’ll be in winning support for ELD tracking. Once drivers are educated and excited about ELD load tracking, it’s also crucial to make it very easy for them to onboard their ELDs with your brokerage.  

“It’s important to meet the drivers where they are, where they’re at comfort-wise with visibility,” said Jablonski. “Adjusting to this new way of doing things and having that option is really comforting from a cultural perspective. That is the feedback we get from our brokers. They love that we can seamlessly go back and forth between the two, between our mobile app and ELDs for tracking.” 

Watch the webinar “Reduce Annoying Check Calls: Let Your ELD Simplify and Automate Real-Time Tracking.”

Schedule a free demo of Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity, our carrier sourcing and relationship management platform.

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