Using Technology to Increase DOT Compliance and Reduce Fleet Costs

The Situation

Hertz Equipment Rental (HERC) provides daily, weekly, monthly and long-term rentals, tools, and supplies, as well as new and used equipment for sale. Through careful analysis, they discovered that the volume of requests due to rapid growth for delivery and pickup was so great that their current paper-based process was inefficient and not cost effective. They also understood how inefficient processes could impact customer service down the line. They turned to Donlen, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation, for our IT expertise and proven methodology and technology infrastructure for help. They needed a tool that would allow them to electronically dispatch deliveries and pickups, help them with reporting to remain in DOT compliance, and route their trucks more efficiently.

DOT Compliance Issues

The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) requires that drivers of commercial vehicles document his/her duty status for each 24-hour period. If requested by FMSCA, drivers must produce their Record of Duty (RoD) or incur fines. They must also carry two copies of the previous seven days’ records.

That means every driver needs to carry, at minimum, 14 records to remain in compliance with federal regulations. Additionally, the company must keep up to six months of records for each driver. So, if a company has a fleet of 100 drivers, they are storing and filing extensive paperwork: 100 drivers x daily forms x 6 months.

RoD-required information is extensive: time on/off duty, time driving, total miles, truck/tractor number, carrier information, driver certification, and shipping documentation to name only a few of the requirements.

The Solution

Working collaboratively, Donlen’s IT group and HERC’s business and technical teams systematically streamlined this process and developed Donlen Logistics, a comprehensive program to help companies increase DOT compliance and fleet productivity. Donlen Logistics eliminates an archaic, paper-centric process, and the benefits are immediate: less administration time, increased productivity, fewer safety violations, and fewer fines.

“Donlen Logistics was a true joint venture with HERC,” said Dennis Straight, Donlen CIO. “They know firsthand the challenges facing truck fleets, and having a partner in this project who could provide that insight was invaluable. For Donlen, this product has far-reaching application as we begin to offer it to our customers. Cost reduction is their number one priority, and Donlen Logistics will not only help them reduce DOT violations and subsequent fines, it will also improve their bottom line with increased productivity.”

Key features of Donlen Logistics include:

  • Electronic Record of Duty (eRod) reporting: immediate mobile access and no cumbersome paper trail
  • Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) safety reporting: mobile functionality and fewer US DOT safety violations
  • Dispatch Tool: know where the fleet is at all times; decrease overlap and redundant routes
  • Drag and Drop Capability: assign jobs to trucks/drivers for the most efficient delivery routes

Now, if requested while out in the field, RoD and DVIR records can be accessed via a handheld device or tablet, and sent immediately in email or copied to a USB drive, and managers can locate the fleet and dispatch to increase overall efficiency.

Donlen Logistics Rollout Plan

Phase 1 of Donlen Logistics was rolled out to a limited market in June 2012 for beta use. Included in Phase 1 were Electronic Record of Duty (eRod), Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR), Dispatch Tool, and Drag and Drop Capability.

Phase 2, planned for 2013 beta Q2 release, will include additional management tools, including full integration with Donlen’s state-of-the-art DriverPoint™ Telematics system. Fleet managers will have the capability to monitor commercial vehicles’ engine speed, distance, and driver location (GPS) data. Distance is also recorded as miles traveled in each state to facilitate the motor carriers International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) compilation.

This telematics integration further increases a fleet’s driver productivity, will help fleets control fuel spend with proper routing capability through GPS information, and give insight into driver behavior that can impact several key areas including safety.

Integrated Technology

Seamless integration of Donlen Logistics into our online fleet management tool, FleetWeb®, further illustrates the best practice methodology that Donlen’s IT group has implemented for all of our tools and products. By giving drivers necessary compliance reporting tools via a handheld device, companies will not only reduce safety violations and penalties incurred for incomplete or missing reports, it will improve driver morale as well. What was once a cumbersome process for drivers is now streamlined and efficient. Imagine having to keep multiple copies of seven days’ worth of reports in the tight quarters of a truck cab. This is no longer an issue.

Soon, this product will be available to Donlen truck customers.* Because Donlen Logistics is a multi-faceted compliance, productivity, and cost reduction tool, customers will quickly see the benefits of using a completely integrated tool to manage their fleets.

The entire development of this project from spec creation to implementation was less than nine months. To accomplish the goal of supplying management and driver tools that would integrate with Donlen’s fleet management platform and adhere to DOT compliance and submission criteria, this project included a wide range of technologies including in-browser HTML5 and smartphone Android development.

It was critical that drivers were able to access, input, and forward DOT information as required while out in the field, and management could have the information they needed for auditing purposes. Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2 show the manager dashboard. Information shown reflects the data feed from the driver mobile app. (Please note: certain information has been blurred due to confidentiality.)

*Donlen Logistics is currently in beta testing and will be made available to truck fleets in late 2013.

FleetWeb® Tips

donlen-fleetweb-mileage-by-vehicleSee the accumulated mileage of any of your vehicles in FleetWeb.

  • Type “Mileage by Vehicle” in Smartsearch field
  • Enter date range, and any identifiable information, and click “Next”
  • Click Excel icon if you wish to export an Excel report

Hertz Value Lease™ Deal of the Week

donlen-hertz-value-lease-ford-escape-01132012 Chevy Equinox LT*

  • Estimated Mileage: 20,041
  • Exterior Color: Silver
  • Hertz Value Lease Base Price: $23,797

*Vehicle was available at the time of posting to FridayFleet. The exact vehicle may not be available after this date. Photo of vehicle is for illustrative purposes only. Contact your Donlen Account Manager to learn more about Hertz Value Lease vehicles that may be right for your application.

Driver’s Corner

Do you know what to do when driving and the weather takes a turn for the worse? The series of tornadoes that touched down in the Southeast this week led to extensive property damage and dangerous driving conditions. Travel during inclement weather may be unavoidable, but there are a few things to keep in mind if you must be on the road.

  • Never attempt to out-drive a tornado
  • Evacuate your vehicle immediately and find shelter in a nearby building
  • If nearby shelter is not available, get out of your vehicle and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle

And Finally…

And finally, the buzz about the Corvette continues. With the Corvette Stingray recently named Best in Show at the Detroit Auto Show, and a 2014 Corvette Convertible set to debut in March at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to slow down any time soon. But how much do you know about the iconic performance machine? Take this quiz and let us know how you did.

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on February 1, 2013

About Donlen
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), Donlen (, with headquarters in Northbrook, IL, is the fleet industry’s most comprehensive and integrated provider of financing and asset management solutions. Since 1965, Donlen has offered its clients highly personalized and responsive customer service, and their workplace excellence has been recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “List of 20 Best Places to Work in Chicago” each year from 2009-2011, a Leader on “The Global Outsourcing 100®” list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) for six of the last seven years, and a National Association for Business Resources “101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago” each year from 2007-2012. Donlen’s innovation has been awarded with the Computerworld “2012 Honors Laureate for Economic Opportunity,” named to “2012 InformationWeek 500” for innovative technology; the Stevie® “2012 Gold Award for Business Intelligence Solution,” the Silver Award for “2012 Front Line Customer Service Team of the Year,” and the “2011 Corporate Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year.”