Electronic Logging Devices: A Fork in the Road
by Alex H Stone
As of December 18th, 2017, truck drivers will be required to log their hours using electronic log books or ELD’s (Electronic Logging Devices). The mandate was passed in 2015 but companies were given a generous stretch of time to implement these technologies. In the United States, it is illegal for a commercial driver to drive for more than eleven hours straight. The previous way of doing things—using pencil and paper log books—allowed records to be manipulated in a way that circumvented the law.
ELD’s will make traffic stops go much faster. With ELD technology, a police officer can simply plug into the truck’s ELD and verify that the driver has been operating within confines of the law in just minutes. In the past, the police officer would need to read through a handwritten log book.
And while this is a step in the right direction in terms of safety, not everyone is excited about it. Costs associated with implementing these technologies are hurting smaller companies and some industry professionals are skeptical of the efficacy. President Trump has commented via Twitter, “ELD's are very unfair. Truckers voted for me, so mark my words. I will end the ELD mandate.” But with the mandate already in effect, freight companies can either comply or shut down.
It remains to be seen how ELD’s will affect the freight industry, however with advanced automotive technologies becoming more and more accessible, this change may be just the beginning of a much needed facelift for the industry. Demand for drivers is at an all time high and perhaps a bit of modernization could offer a quality of life improvement for these jobs that might make them more attractive to younger faces.
Big Things from Mills Fleet Farm
By Alex H Stone
If you live in the midwest, chances are you’ve heard of Mills Fleet Farm. They’re a one stop shop for just about everything under the sun—appliances, hunting gear, apparel, farm supplies, automotive products, you name it. They currently have 37 stores across the midwest but that’s all about to change soon. In February of 2016, the conglomerate KKR purchased the family owned chain and they’ve got big plans for it.
Mills Fleet Farm was founded in 1955 by Stewart Mills and over time has become a staple in midwestern rural communities. Their first store opened up in Brainerd, Minnesota but today they are headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin. Initially Mills Fleet Farm was a name primarily associated with farming and blue collar communities but as they’ve expanded, they’ve begun to attract more suburban customers as well.
KKR has plans to double the number of Mills Fleet Farm stores in the next six years. In order to support this growth, they’ve recently opened a massive distribution center in Chippewa Falls, WI. This will allow them to quickly and efficiently supply all of their stores with the daunting variety of products that they stock. Countrywide has been a proud supplier to Mills Fleet Farm since 1999 and is excited to see them grow.