Are You Ready? The Time Is Now – ELD Rollout in Phases
After the planning and training are done, you will want to move into the actual execution or implementation phase of managing the change. To ease the actual implementation, you will roll out the use of the electronic logging devices (ELDs) in phases. The main reason for this is to beta test the devices, the data usage, and policies and procedures using a control group. Include your driver champions in the beta-testing phase. They can then serve as mentors during the full roll-out. During the beta testing phase, you will want to spend time reviewing your processes for sorting and using data. This is meant to be a summary of information contained in the rule. Be sure to review the rule and seek any legal advice from counsel. This material contains suggestions, and companies should find an approach that fits their unique operations best.
Are your employees seeing and using the critical data elements, and are they using exception reporting to see what they really need to see and act on?
Remember, these systems generate a tremendous amount of data. If the employees are overwhelmed by the data during the beta test, you may need to revisit your policies and procedures. If there is a trend related to errors or misunderstandings of certain things, this is your chance to revise your training program before going further.
Once the beta testing group has served its purpose, expand the implementation to include more drivers. At this point, you want to select good drivers and drivers that will appreciate the devices. The last thing you need is a driver, or several drivers, voicing strong objections to the devices during this early phase. Also, you will want more time to work with the drivers that are in only marginal compliance with the hours-of-service rules before placing them onto an ELD.
After everyone in this group has adjusted to using the devices, the next step will be to expand implementation to all drivers and supervisors. This phase may prove to be the most difficult, as this is when you may encounter the most resistance. This group will include the holdout drivers and drivers that have had a recent history of hours-of-service compliance problems. If you have multiple locations, this approach could be used at a specific location or on a fleet level. You could phase in the use of the devices at one location, and once that location is fully implemented, move on to another. The other choice is to move all locations ahead at the same pace. In other words, implement beta groups at all locations at the same time, then add drivers at all locations to the beta groups at the same time.
NOTE: If you decide to implement the use of ELDs at all locations at the same time, it will be important to have central control over the process. If each location self-manages, and you do not have central control, then implementing the use of ELDs at one location at a time is typically a more practical approach.
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