Mary Dartez, Omni senior DOT compliance manager, points out how picking the right vendor may be vital in cases like filling in the gaps where cell service is sparse.  -  Photo: Omni Environmental Services

Mary Dartez, Omni senior DOT compliance manager, points out how picking the right vendor may be vital in cases like filling in the gaps where cell service is sparse.

Photo: Omni Environmental Services

When shopping for a platform to help you make sense of all the data, whether that’s a TMS (transportation management system) or one more specifically targeted to areas such as safety or maintenance, ask potential vendors if they have integrations with all the vendors you’re doing business with — and how they present that data.

“Take a look at current vendors and involve them in the process,” says Michael Lasko, vice president of safety for Boyle Transportation and sister company Skelton. Vendors may be able to share information on the integrations they have and what those could do for your fleet.

Vendors Should Meet Your Data Needs

Think about the unusual or unique needs your operations may have that need to be considered when looking for data and tech vendors.

For Omni Environmental Services, there were needs relating to the connection to the device in the truck.

“For us, it was important to find a vendor that was tied into the ECM permanently,” says Mary Dartez, Omni senior DOT compliance manager, when they were looking for an in-cab solution.

“We go to these well sites that are in the middle of a field that are really remote and off the grid, and cell service might go down. So it was important to us to find a vendor that could provide that stable connection, and actually backfill in that data when they got into a better cell service area.”

In addition, she says, they needed a timecard report that accurately reflects the time of night drivers. A night driver might start a shift in the evening and finish in the early hours of the following day. Omni needed a timecard report that would reflect that and not split the hours by date.

Get Drivers Involved 

“Most importantly, you’ve got to involve your drivers,” Lasko says. Boyle and Skelton, for instance, have a professional driver advisory committee that they can turn to for evaluations of potential new tech.

“If your drivers are on board with it, and you know that they believe in it, and they’re involved, and they believe that you cared enough to involve them in the process, it’s going to make your program that much better.”

About the author
Deborah Lockridge

Deborah Lockridge

Editor and Associate Publisher

Reporting on trucking since 1990, Deborah is known for her award-winning magazine editorials and in-depth features on diverse issues, from the driver shortage to maintenance to rapidly changing technology.

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