TIDEWATER EQUIPMENT SELECTS NEXTRAQ TO STREAMLINE ELD DOCUMENTATION FOR DRIVERS
Tidewater Equipment converts their fleet to NexTraq ELD to help streamline the ELD documentation process—making it easier and more efficient for drivers and administrators.
- Automated ELD logs
- Enhanced Documentation for ELD
- Improved Driver Safety
- Easier Reporting Capabilities
Based in the southeastern United States, Tidewater Equipment sells heavy equipment from its 20 locations throughout Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and North and South Carolina. The company provides new and pre-owned construction, agriculture, forestry, and industrial equipment from manufacturers such as Case Construction, Case Agriculture, Tigercat and Morbark.
Like many companies, Tidewater was affected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) electronic logging devices (ELDs) mandate, which went into effect at the end of 2017. The mandate requires carriers and fleets to install automatic on-board recording devices to track driver compliance with hours of service (HOS) requirements.
Tidewater originally used a solution from a NexTraq competitor but found that it didn’t offer all the features needed to keep up with the ELD requirements and its drivers’ busy schedules.
“Our employees need to be able to drive different types of equipment, and that required extra steps for our original solution,” explained Matt Howell, Tidewater product support manager. “Just moving from one vehicle to another required an employee to take his/her tablet out of one truck, reconnect it via Bluetooth to another one, and then log in. Plus, separately we had to buy relatively expensive tablets that could be damaged or dropped in the process.”
Tidewater previously used the cloud-based fleet tracking solution from NexTraq®—a MICHELIN® group company—to manage a range of fleet-related tasks in a small number of its vehicles. As the contracts with the competitor’s solution began to expire, the company began to expand its use of NexTraq by installing units in more vehicles, as well as integrating NexTraq’s solutions for ELD Compliance and Driver Awareness.
“NexTraq was a better fit for where we wanted to go,” Matt said. “We saw that it was a good solution for the updated ELD mandate, so we began to put NexTraq equipment in all our service trucks. The system gives us everything that we need as far as U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) requirements, driver safety information, or a potential audit. Plus, NexTraq included all the equipment we needed. It also uses a cellular network to connect, which was another advantage. Best of all, the switchover was seamless.”
NexTraq’s FMCSA-certified ELD solution provides HOS, Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) and Record of Duty Status (RODS)—also known as Driver’s Log—to help Tidewater employees stay ELD compliant and get back on the road as quickly as possible.
“Our team is constantly on the go. They’re in and out of the woods, and they’re constantly filling out paperwork to track their time, parts, repair orders, warranty information—there’s a lot of documentation involved with their job,” Matt said.
“NexTraq makes it easier for them by automating the process of documenting HOS logs, locations, mileage, etc. Now our drivers can jump into the truck, log in to NexTraq and go. They log out for breaks, and then make any adjustments in the log at the end of the day before certifying them. Then, all those logs are available in the cloud for our administrators back at the offices. It’s been really, really helpful.”
Tidewater has reaped other benefits from its investment in NexTraq as well.
The ELD mandate has met with some resistance from drivers who are unfamiliar with the technology. However, NexTraq has made the transition easier for Tidewater employees to maintain compliance.
“Our drivers jumped right on the NexTraq system and didn’t have any issues. Even our employees who aren’t as comfortable with technology understand it quickly. We show them how to log in and verify the right truck numbers, then they just go. It’s been so easy to explain,” Matt said.
Automated documentation and reports from NexTraq have helped administrators back at the Tidewater offices. For example, records are uploaded to the cloud at each branch, so now it’s easy to find data across the entire company.
“As you know, it’s not what you say, it’s what you can prove,” Matt said. “Before NexTraq, we had to worry about our drivers turning in their paper logs. Now they are saved digitally to a central location in the cloud. It’s helped us tremendously to be able to pull a report and export it at any point. Plus, we have the comfort of knowing if we did get audited, we could pull the data right out of the cloud. So that’s a huge benefit.”
OTidewater also recently enabled speed alerts with the NexTraq Driver Safety Scorecard. That’s had two major effects—drivers are more aware of the way they are driving, and, as a result, safety has improved.
“A speeding citation is an expense for us as far as paying the traffic fine and getting dinged by the DOT. Plus, it can flag you for a possible audit over time,” Matt said. “NexTraq reminds our team that they’re in a company truck, and it’s not going to benefit anyone by going over the speed limit. It’s in the back of their mind that the boss is going to get notified, so they are more conscious of driving behaviors. It’s really helped awareness.”
Tidewater also uses NexTraq Driver Safety Scorecard to improve fleet safety and protect the company from false accident claims. That information is extremely helpful when a company wants to avoid a lawsuit.
“We had an incident last year where one of our service trucks was in an accident and the other party claimed our driver was speeding. But we were able to pull a detailed report from the NexTraq log, and it showed he was well underneath the posted speed limit at the time of the accident,” Matt said. “When you have an incident with a company vehicle, people see dollar signs. NexTraq protects us from false claims.”
In addition to these benefits, Matt attributes Tidewater’s success with NexTraq to the exceptional customer support he has received during the transition, particularly from his NexTraq account manager.
“The installations happened without a hitch,” he said. “If we have an issue, it’s corrected immediately. It’s been a good relationship.”
And he sees that relationship between NexTraq and Tidewater continuing.
“That’s where we see the industry going. Everything’s electronic now,” Matt said. “NexTraq makes it easier for our employees—one less headache and one less thing to carry on a clipboard. It’s been really helpful.”
About TIDEWATER EQUIPMENT:
Established in 1947, Tidewater Equipment is the southeastern United States’ premier heavy equipment company. Tidewater Equipment serves all sizes and types of operations with its exceptional parts and service department; an extensive used equipment inventory; and as exclusive distributors for Case IH, Case CE, Tigercat, and Morbark. Tidewater Equipment has offices and inventory in 20 locations throughout Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, and Alabama.
“We saw that it was a good solution… so we began to put NexTraq equipment in all our service trucks. Best of all, the switchover was seamless.”
Product Support Manager