Balodis Inc. simplifies IFTA reporting and safety with Geotab telematics

Published on April 15, 2024

Knowing the Canadian ELD mandate was approaching, Balodis Inc. wanted to get a jump start by implementing telematics early in their fleet of 18-wheelers. A transportation company based in Westville, NS, many of its trucks travel throughout the province and into New Brunswick. Balodis came to Northern BI after researching telematics companies online after using a different provider in the past.

Early preparation is key during a telematics implementation

Recognizing the ELD mandate was on the way, the team at Balodis knew it was important to beat the rush. The Canadian ELD mandate came into effect in January 2023, with provincial mandates varying nationwide. While the Nova Scotia ELD mandate was pushed back indefinitely, they’re still taking advantage of knowing where drivers are on the roads.

Balodis
A Balodis truck (Photo provided by Colby Mackay). 

Telematics provide valuable information and safety during treacherous weather

Nova Scotia’s Pictou County is no stranger to winter weather, and this past February was no exception. A winter storm dumped significant amounts of snow in northern Nova Scotia. Many roads were impassable or heavily snow-covered for several days after the storm. Office Manager, Dawn Matheson, used Geotab to ensure her drivers were safe on the roads. “It’s good for knowing where our drivers are, especially in weather like this. I watched them on the map to see the speeds of how fast they were going,” said Dawn. “Yesterday, a driver was late making a delivery, so we were able to check on him, which was a big help”.

Winter driving is an unavoidable task that comes with challenges. According to the National Collision Database, 30 percent of collisions in Canada happen on wet, snowy or icy roads. There are similar numbers in the U.S. as well. While preparation and driving according to the road conditions can mitigate the risk of an incident, it’s not always guaranteed. Should an incident occur, the Geotab GO device can detect near-misses, harsh braking, sharp cornering and even accidents through g-force data and sent an alert to the database administrator.

Overcoming the ELD learning curves

While there are many benefits to using an e-log system, there are also challenges and learning curves to overcome during the implementation process. “A lot of drivers are old school and prefer tracking their hours by pen and paper. We’ve had some issues with running out of hours long before we should because they forget to log out,” said Dawn.

Balodis’ Service Manager, Colby Mackay, recognizes the value of the telematics system. Despite Nova Scotia’s provincial mandate on pause, Dawn and Colby are still trying to help drivers get the most out of the Geotab HOS solution. “There are still a few challenges right now, but once everyone is on the same page, it’ll be beneficial.”

Balodis cab
The inside of a Balodis truck (Photo provided by Colby Mackay). 

Complete accuracy for billing with trips history

Geotab’s trips history feature is heavily used by Dawn. “I use it a lot for billing. With the trip history, I can go into Geotab and know exactly down to the minute when we pulled into the site. This is a big help because if there are any questions, I can show them the data. I can see the truck pulled in at 10:52 a.m. and pulled out at 11:53 a.m.” Before adding telematics, a driver may have claimed they worked at a certain time but might have rounded it up. “It’s very precise”. Tracking a vehicle’s trips history through Geotab provides fleet managers an overview of vehicle location, speed, idle times, driving habits, and any exceptions that might’ve occurred.

Geotab reduces mistakes and saves time with IFTA reports

If you’re familiar with completing IFTA reports, you’re aware of how time-consuming they can be. But running IFTA reports with Geotab eliminates a lot of guesswork for fleet managers. Dawn runs an IFTA report quarterly and has saved a lot of time not chasing drivers for receipts. “It takes me 10 minutes to run. Without the report, I would’ve been asking drivers for their kilometres, which sometimes I’ve forgotten to do. Now I can type it in and get the exact numbers I need. Once again, it’s very precise,” said Dawn. Geotab simplifies the process by tracking the vehicle location and odometer through the GO device. The fuel costs can be tracked through the Geotab Drive app or MyGeotab platforms. Providing accurate IFTA data reduces the risk of being audited as well.

Zones show how long a driver is at a site

Geotab’s zoning feature is another frequently used tool for the Balodis fleet. “We have some frequently visited sites so this way, we can see how long a driver has been at a site. I can see how long someone’s been at a site loading and unloading”.

To the opposite effect, it helps to signal if a driver has entered a zone they shouldn’t be in. “There’s a road we’re not allowed to take. If a driver takes that road, we get an email automatically to notify us”. Balodis also set up reminders for drivers to log out of Geotab when they enter the yard. This configuration helps to cut down on the number of HOS errors they receive.

Mapping features are used heavily among staff

For Colby, the map is one of his most frequently used features. Colby uses the map to track the whereabouts of his staff. Instead of trying to determine who’s been dispatched to a particular area, he can find this out with a few clicks of a button. If he needs parts picked up, he can see which trucks will be in the area so he can contact the appropriate driver. For Dawn, she appreciates using the map to check speeds. The ability to see drivers on the map provides peace of mind while ensuring their safety.

Support is available quickly with Northern BI

Colby and Dawn have both benefited from the fast support that comes from working with Northern BI. “We’ve never had any issues where we’ve had to wait days for an answer,” said Dawn. Needing help with IFTA in the past, Dawn waited days for a response from the previous telematics reseller. “When your IFTA report is due the next day, that’s not going to work. The NBI team is great for getting back to you whether you call or email them”. And that’s the Northern BI difference. Unlike other Geotab providers, Northern BI invests in client support personnel who know the Geotab system inside and out.

If you’re looking for an efficient and knowledgeable team for your Geotab implementation, or have yet to implement ELD, reach out to Northern BI today. We’ve helped many clients overcome ELD hesitation and obstacles throughout the mandate.

Company:

Balodis Inc.

Fleet size:

26

Vehicle types:

Transport trucks

Industry:

Transportation

 

“The NBI team is great for getting back to you whether you call or email them”.

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Torrie Rogers

Marketing Coordinator
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