When it comes to fleet compliance, information is power. The better a company is able to monitor and assess its fleet units, the better it can ensure fleet units are compliant and unnecessary risks are mitigated. Specifically in the US, companies must also comply with the congressional Electric Logging Device (ELD) mandate, overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which requires all commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to use such devices to record specific vehicle and driver-behavior data.
This is where telematics comes into play.
As fleet-management companies (FMCs), carriers and other companies with fleets look into different telematics providers and their vehicle-tracking systems, it’s critical to consider a few key factors before making a final decision.
To aid in this process, the ACERTUS compliance team has outlined the top three qualities companies should look for in a telematics provider.
1 – Deep Compliance Knowledge, Especially IFTA
There are quite a few different providers in the commercial telematics space, and some of them have much more extensive expertise than others. Companies with fleet-telematics needs should work with a provider with deep knowledge navigating compliance challenges to ensure they are well positioned to be successful in their business ventures.
If a provider isn’t familiar with IFTA and cannot help on that front, that should be a sign to the company in question that this particular telematics provider likely won’t be able to support its fleet-compliance needs. Quite a few telematics providers have Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities to help meet ELD-mandate requirements, but then their data reporting isn’t compliant with International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). To help companies with fleets stay in compliance with IFTA at all times, a provider must be able to provide telematics data that gives odometer readings, tracks fuel purchases and shows the relevant jurisdictional border-crossing information.
Additionally, the telematics technology should also give a clear read on all truck numbers, and the provider should be able to ping its GPS frequently for real-time data and location tracking – usually at least every five minutes – so they can achieve accurate and up-to-date reads. Knowledgeable and well-prepared providers will also have a backup system in place, such as paper logs, that can be utilized whenever the GPS fleet-tracking technology isn’t working properly. This ensures that critical compliance data is captured at all times, regardless of whether there’s a technical issue or delay.
While it’s a must that a telematics-service provider be able to support IFTA needs, ideally, that provider can help support with IRP and any applicable Highway Use Taxes (HUT) and Weight/Mile Taxes, as well.
2 – Well-Positioned to Support Large Fleets
While some telematics providers can work with carriers that have only one or two trucks, they may or may not be able to support larger carriers, FMCs and other clients with numerous fleet vehicles. Because of this, it’s crucial that prospective clients look into the infrastructure and capacity of telematics companies before deciding to hire them. A provider must be positioned with enough range and capacity to support a large operation with multiple locations, each managing their own trucks – otherwise, it just won’t be able to keep up with that operation’s compliance demand.
Beyond capacity, the telematics provider should be well-organized enough to support companies with large fleets and multiple sites. If a company has multiple locations, with multiple units at each location, then the provider should be able to break out groups of trucks into an overall hierarchy (such as COMPANY NAME > REGION > STATE > INDIVIDUAL LOCATION) within its specific reporting system. Unfortunately, some providers do not have such organization within their telematics systems, and as such, force their clients to manually search for individual trucks through long lists with no categorization or overall hierarchies.
3 – An Efficient, Easy-to-Use Customer Portal
A telematics provider can collect all the vehicle data in the world, but if it doesn’t have a strong client-facing portal, then its clients won’t be able to access the data easily – and that data will be far less useful. In instances like this, companies often have to request the data and insights directly from the provider every time they need it, which can be incredibly frustrating for companies hoping to move quickly and efficiently. This can also create unnecessary confusion or downtime, as there is often more back-and-forth between the vehicle telematics provider and the company in question with the company trying to obtain the exact information it needs.
Therefore, an efficient and easy-to-use customer portal can make all the difference in how well a telematics provider is truly performing for its clients. Ideally, a provider’s portal will allow a company to run its own reports for the data areas that make the most sense for its particular business, whether those be insurance mileage, IFTA mileage, International Registration Plan (IRP) numbers or something else entirely. Companies should have the ability to log on to a provider’s portal and run the reports they need, at any time or place they choose to do so.
ACERTUS Has Telematics Solutions
The compliance team at ACERTUS offers full-service consulting on telematics for all varieties of commercial vehicles and fleets. Partnering with expert third-party telematics providers, ACERTUS can leverage the best-possible telematics technologies to successfully assist its auto partners in getting their ELD needs met. In fact, this type of telecommunications support can be part of an overall compliance-optimization program for fleets – complete with IFTA, IRP, DOT and Driver-Qualification (DQ) file management services, as well.
ACERTUS’ team partners with companies to help create an overall compliance plan, which can include telematics support, and then implements that plan on behalf of its customers. In addition, ACERTUS’ technology allows for easy and efficient telematics platform management, and its strong working partnerships with Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) locations around the country ensure it can help navigate any DMV-related challenges that may arise.
FMCs, carriers and other companies with fleets that choose to outsource their compliance and telematics-related work to ACERTUS can simplify the workload on their end, establishing a more efficient and streamlined system complete with reporting, title-and-registration support, fleet-safety management, consulting and anything else they need to be successful when it comes to fleet compliance.
Learn more about ACERTUS’ fleet-management solutions – as well as its full range of vehicle maintenance, compliance and transport services across North America – at https://acertusdelivers.com. To connect with one of our team members or receive a quick quote, contact us here or call us at: 855-ACERTUS (855-923-2655).