Frequently Asked Questions:
Question) Can I buy a complete system online?
Answer) Complete Omnitracs systems are available here.
Question) How do I get replacement parts?
Answer) Replacement parts are available here.
Question) Can I install this myself?
Answer) Yes, if you have the proper skills. An instructional video is located at the bottom of this page.
Question) I can't install this myself, is there someone who can?
Answer) Yes, Cetacea has full installation Service Centers located on Memphis, TN and Atlanta, GA. Onsite installations may be arranged by contacting us at sales [at] cetacea [dot] com
Question) Where can I learn more about the MCP50's functions and features?
Answer) This helpful video may answer many of your questions.
Question) How do I effectively monitor my owner/operator drivers’ logs?
Answer) The decision to implement an EOBR solution for driver logs can cause distress for drivers, especially if they are owner/operators. After all, many of them started in this business for the independence of being their own boss. Any attempt to monitor driver behavior is seen as “big brother” moving in on their freedom.
The truth is that electronic onboard recorder (EOBR) or electronic logging device (ELD) offerings from companies like Omnitracs can offer a broad range of efficiency and productivity benefits beyond simply tracking driving hours. Typically, an EOBR application is just one component of a broader mobile fleet management solution designed to help drivers and fleets improve fuel efficiency, navigate truck-approved routes, enhance driver-dispatcher information exchange, manage regulatory compliance, and much more. The key to winning drivers over is to ease owner/operators into the discussion and make them part of the process of choosing which features to integrate.
1. Start with a discussion in which you lay out the problems you are trying to solve: lack of communication on the road, inefficient routes, driver log errors, etc.
2. Explain the options you considered and how you decided on the recommended EOBR solution. Your drivers will appreciate knowing whether it was the simplicity of the logging process, the ability to avoid non-compliance citations, the freedom of not manually tracking hours, or all of these reasons.
3. Explain the features and benefits that drivers will care about, emphasizing that onboard technology will make it easier and quicker to log hours. Remind drivers that they can view, save, and print their logs for themselves. Discuss the additional applications and benefits that can help improve driver productivity and quality of life, such as real-time navigation, which takes traffic into account while still navigating the best route.
While you know all the benefits to an EOBR solution, you must be sensitive to the fact that your contracted drivers value independence. Presenting them with the facts and reasoning behind your decisions will give them a chance to feel consulted and get on board. They’ll thank you later.
Question) What is the advantage of onboard fleet GPS tracking versus mobile GPS tracking?Answer) Smartphones and tablets are a prevalent and seemingly cost-effective tool for GPS navigation and driver-dispatcher communication. Many fleets deploy these devices to perform common functions that are also performed by more expensive, feature-rich fleet management systems. Knowing when to upgrade from mobile GPS to a more comprehensive fleet management system can seem like a tough decision from a cost perspective, but it doesn’t have to be.
Consider what would happen if a driver is on the road and the smart device breaks or is lost. If you’re using the device for compliance and dispatch functions, this will put the driver out-of-service. Onboard fleet tracking systems offer a comprehensive suite of cost-saving and productivity-enhancing applications, such as driver performance monitoring and fuel management, which are not available on smartphones and tablets. Carriers that implement in-cab fleet GPS tracking systems are able to reduce fuel consumption, improve driver safety, improve asset utilization and CSA compliance scores, and enhance productivity—all of which contribute directly to the bottom line.
In a recent survey performed by Omnitracs, carriers reported these top five pain points of fleet operations:
1. High operational costs
2. Driver performance
3. Driver retention
4. Fuel management
5. Poor safety score
Mobile devices can’t help a fleet fully address all of these issues, but an in-cab fleet tracking system can. With today’s fleet tracking systems like Omnitracs MCP50, MCP110, and MCP200 it is possible to, among other things:
- Track and improve driver performance
- Improve fuel management by monitoring speed, idling, hard braking and reducing out-of-route miles
- Enhance fleet safety and improve CSA scores
- Improve on-time delivery
An investment in a fleet tracking system is a big decision. However, the financial benefits outweigh the upfront costs – most fleets that install systems report saving more than they initially spent. If your current mobile device approach is lacking, or your information needs are growing, it’s time to look into a solution such as Omnitracs. Give us a call, and we can help walk you through additional considerations to determine whether an upgrade is right for you.
Question) What kind of fleet management software comes with EOBR and ELD applications?Answer) In the face of increasing regulations, Electronic Onboard Recorders (EOBRs)—also called Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)--are beginning to play a critical role in helping fleets manage compliance by automating the maintenance and management of hours of service logs. In addition to driver safety and compliance, however, many systems that deliver EOBR applications can also help you reduce costs and improve efficiency, customer satisfaction, and even driver morale.
Automated driver hours tracking applications that are compliant with FMCSA hours of service regulations are now available—eliminating human error, maximizing driving hours available, and reducing the labor related to keeping manual logs. Fleet managers can access information about each driver’s driving and off-duty time, and remaining hours of service. And in fact, drivers who begin using EOBR application software report feeling relieved about not having to maintain paper logs anymore.
In addition to the time savings and reporting accuracy offered with an EOBR application, fleet management becomes more efficient at large: Most solutions that offer EOBR or ELD applications can also deliver applications that enable you to view truck-approved routes, accurately gauge arrival times, monitor vehicle performance and driver behavior and re-route vehicles to optimize driving time—increasing your entire fleet’s productivity and ability to provide superior customer service without compromising driver safety.
From better management of driving time, to improved information exchange between dispatchers and drivers, mobile fleet management technology is giving fleets the necessary tools to remain competitive.
Question) Do I need trailer tracking in addition to my fleet tracking solution?Answer) Your fleet tracking solution—both the in-cab hardware and software—is a critical tool for monitoring everything that happens inside and outside the cab—and has likely become an integral part of your business. With all the valuable information you now receive about the location, status and condition of your fleet’s tractors, what you’re not receiving is accurate, detailed information on your trailers. And if you’re like most carriers, you have two to three times more trailers than tractors—so imagine the financial benefits you might experience with a trailer tracking system.
By manually tracking your trailers, your business is vulnerable to poor trailer utilization, excessive trailer inventory, lost trailers, cargo theft, and reduced driver and back office productivity. For example, when a driver arrives to drop off a trailer, with manual trailer tracking, he needs to physically locate an empty trailer to get back on the road. Spending just two hours a week on a “trailer search” can cost your company over $650 per year, per driver—not to mention driver concerns about lost time, lost wages, and the impact those have on morale.
In addition to the trailers themselves, the best trailer tracking solutions can monitor sensitive or hazardous cargo inside. Systems such as Omnitracs’ Trailer Tracks 100/210 allow you to monitor temperature ranges for refrigerated trailers and receive notifications when temperatures go out of range.
Question) Are there affordable GPS fleet solutions for owner operators?Answer) In short: Absolutely. And as you probably already know, implementing a GPS solution can keep you competitive by providing information you need to increase efficiencies and reduce costs. Why should you miss out on the benefits of having GPS in your own truck just because you’re not required to implement it?
You are likely familiar with fleet tracking solutions aimed primarily at large fleets that include everything but the kitchen sink. There are wonderful end-to-end solutions for these companies that have many routes, assets, and customers to manage all at once. For a single owner-operator though, those systems may be overkill. You may prefer a more basic mobile computing platform that includes not only the track and trace functionality of a GPS system, but can also help you monitor and manage safety and compliance, streamline navigation, and manage fuel consumption.
In fact, managing compliance and CSA scores is becoming increasingly important, as shippers have begun to correlate scores with potential liability issues—and often seek GPS feeds from the owner-operator who drive for them. Having in-cab technology with GPS on board helps you manage compliance in the face of changing HOS rules and also sets third-party logistics businesses at ease, knowing what their liability potential is with you as a contractor.
When you’re looking for a solution to meet your needs as an owner-operator, you’ll need a mobile computing hardware platform with web-based apps that include in-cab navigation, automated hours of service management, and performance monitoring to help you track XXX. Since you serve as both the driver and your own back-office staff, no one will be privy to what you track except you. And you will have all the information you need to reduce log violations, reduce time at scales for log inspections, plan more efficient routes, and increase your overall mileage.
Question) How do new hours of service regulations affect my fleet?Answer) Remaining compliant with the myriad of regulations within the trucking industry presents an ever-increasing challenge for carriers and drivers. The new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations regarding driving hours of service not only add to the challenge, but they also add confusion. The new Hours of Service rules are as follows:
- The previously required four-hour reset will become a weekly reset – at least 34 hours off once per seven days with two consecutive periods off between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
- Drivers must take a 30-minute rest break per eight hours on duty.
The 11-hour driving and 14-hour on-duty limits remain unchanged, as does the 60/70 hour on-duty weekly limit.
The 34-hour reset seems to cause the most confusion and concern, as it requires drivers to be off-duty for a minimum of 34 hours every seven days. This means routes and schedules will need to be planned in a way that won’t delay deliveries.
Although the FMCSA enacted these measures in an effort to improve driver health and safety, some may argue the new CSA regulations will cause more stress than ever for fleet operators and drivers since they have new, tighter regulations to follow.
One significant way to remain CSA-compliant and reduce driver stress is to adopt an Electronic Driver Log (ELD) solution. If you’re not already using electronic driver logs, now's the time to start. Regulations have become too complex and enforcement has become too strict for drivers to continue to use paper logs.
Carriers that implement electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) will gain near-real time visibility of available driver hours, resulting in better load times and reduced administrative costs. Drivers may improve time management and experience reduced stress, knowing hours are logged accurately and simply. Bottom line: Time saved by eliminating paper log processes becomes time drivers can spend on the road, without being concerned about compliance or forgotten logs.
Question) How can fleet tracking improve customer service?Answer) A near-universal fact of life is that customers — no matter what demographic or industry you’re serving — want your help to save time and money. For many businesses, this means that satisfying customer service demands relate to on-time deliveries, accurate reporting and competitive pricing.
By streamlining logistics and improving end-to-end communication, a fleet tracking system can help you improve customer satisfaction and engagement while ensuring legal compliance with regulations. Here are some core considerations:
Advanced capabilities such as navigation and automated hours of service tracking can improve operational efficiencies. Reducing wasteful processes and maximizing resources are core elements for good business. A fleet tracking system can improve on-time delivery rates, enhance customer access to real-time delivery details and shorten time-to-response to customer needs.
Truck-specific navigation applications boost road safety and delivery time. By providingdrivers with turn-by-turn directions, fleet tracking tools ensure drivers never need to take their eyes off the road to find the best route. This can improve driving efficiency and help ensure that trucks arrive at their destinations as quickly (and safely) as possible.
Automatic time tracking eliminates paperwork errors and helps drivers stay complaint with hours of service regulations. By integrating data into your fleet operations system, mobile fleet tracking and management systems can automate processes that were once paper-intensive, including load assignments and work process forms. This reduces the need for drivers to manually complete paper forms — and errors — which cause delays, frustration and potential fines and other types of avoidable expenses.
Providing customers with near-real time information via email or your website helps you manage expectations and satisfaction. Location of deliveries, ETD and ETA can be shared with customers electronically and automatically, keeping customers informed and limiting phone calls between drivers, your company’s back office and customers.
Integrated fleet management software makes it easy to add a new pickup or delivery to a route. Fleet tracking technology keeps everyone in the loop and connected moment-to-moment. This means, when a new load needs to be picked up, you can easily find the best driver for the work, notify that driver, and make the route change — seamlessly, without ever picking up the phone or introducing a driver interruption.
Ultimately, fleet tracking technology keeps drivers driving and loads moving as efficiently as possible. A fleet tracking system can turn time once spent planning routes, navigating, taking phone calls and filling out forms into time spent driving. It can also comfort your customers by letting them know what's happening in near-real time. All this translates into more efficient use of time and resources, which leads to improved profitability.
Question) What are a few of the best practices for getting drivers on board with truck tracking.Answer) Implementing a mobile fleet management system to track the location of your trucks and manage your mobile assets is a business-altering decision and can be overwhelming. You may be considering adopting such a fleet management system and wondering how to keep drivers satisfied who are skeptical about tracking devices. If you’re like many other forward-thinking fleet managers, you may be wondering how to get your drivers to work with the system and complete the necessary actions on their end to ensure that the company gets the most mileage from its investment in the software.
After all, if your drivers don’t use the system, the potential efficiency gains to your business will likely fall short. Truck tracking—and other advanced fleet management capabilities that accompany many of today’s telematics solutions—is only as effective as the people who use it. Efforts to push a system on resistant drivers can negatively impact your employee culture and your ability to maintain a satisfied workforce. Getting driver buy-in is a critical aspect to successfully adopting a mobile fleet management and tracking solution.
An important point to your internal messaging is that today’s fleet tracking systems are so much more than a track-and-trace tool. The technology available with these systems can actually increase driver satisfaction, retention and productivity. Here are three steps you can take to ensure that even the most skeptical drivers get on board.
1. Involve them. Ask drivers to tell you what causes them delays and frustration on the job and what they think would help them perform their jobs better —and then choose a system based on the features offering that best meet their needs as well as yours. For the long-game, the most important thing about this process is to really listen to what drivers tell you. Demonstrate that you hear them and take their perspective seriously by incorporating their experiences and suggestions into your selection process and implementation plans.
2. Leverage driver benefits. Knowing that driver perceptions of fleet management systems typically center on the big-brother aspect of oversight, point out how the technology makes life better for drivers. For example, many telematics solutions incorporate an electronic logging device (ELD), which offers specific perks for drivers:
- Eliminates need to maintain paper logs
- Generates accurate data on available driving time
- Ensures drivers are paid for hours worked
Plus, with the built-in two-way information exchange capability and location tracking tools on many onboard computing systems, drivers can also rest assured that they have company support on the road. This means quick help with emergencies and repairs.
3. Address legitimate concerns. Many drivers are attracted to the trucking lifestyle precisely because of the freedom and autonomy that this career offers. So it’s not surprising that many drivers are worried about how the job may change if office managers begin watching their every move. One way to overcome this obstacle is to acknowledge this concern and communicate clearly about exactly what the company will—and will not—be monitoring … and why. You may also want to be clear about who will see the information collected by a fleet management system and how the information will be used to improve business —for the benefit of everyone within the company.
More information about Omnitracs MCP series can be found here.
If you have not found an answer to your question, please call us at 800-489-1759 for assistance. 8-5 M-F CST