Zonar has been in the business of electronic vehicle inspections for 14 years, but are relative new comers to the world of Hours of Service and ELDs. They launched their electronic logs product in late 2014, running on their android-based proprietary “2020 Tablet”. While ramping up a new technology in a new market segment involves some growing pains, they’ve had some good initial success (including signing Knight Transportation as a major customer).
While not directly related to electronic logs, the feature of Zonar that most catches the eye is their Electronic Verified Inspection Report (EVIR). This is basically an electronic DVIR, with one very cool innovation. Small scannable RFID tags are stuck on the truck and trailer at various inspection locations. In order to complete their vehicle inspection, a driver must take his Zonar device and scan each one of these RFID tags. This makes filling out each part of the inspection easy for the driver, while also ensuring that he/she is actually physically looking at each section of the vehicle requiring inspection. Fleets looking to enforce better Pre and Post-Trip inspections and improve their proactive maintenance get a lot of value from this feature. The EVIR system is available as a stand-alone device, or as an add-on to Zonar’s 2020 ELD system.
Beyond the EVIR system, the 2020 ELD is a product with a lot of potential, but some room for refinement. The interface is modern and sharp, though less tech savvy drivers may find it somewhat unintuitive at first. The tablet hardware is sturdily built, and the touchscreen is fairly accurate and responsive. Some customers complain of early units shipping Dead On Arrival, but the situation was always made right by Zonar support when this occurred. As of our experience, one weak area is the process of making log corrections in the back-office. The process is a little cumbersome for office staff, and the driver’s process for approving edits made to the log is confusing and tedious. But we believe the development team is working to improve this. Being new to the HOS / ELD market, customer support is still growing into its new role. Some representatives did not seem very familiar with trucking or Hours of Service rules. As time goes by though, we believe this will only improve.
A final consideration for some fleets is that installing the device is a rather involved process. It is a fully wired system that prefers to plug into the ECM backbone, rather than the JBUS diagnostic port. For fleets with a constantly changing lineup of Owner Operator or rental trucks, this may be a difficulty, particularly if also using the RFID tags for the EVIR system.
Overall, we have very high hopes for Zonar, and believe we’ll continue to see them refine their product and improve into a top notch solution. Having large customers like Knight on board will only help to drive progress. The solution is somewhat new and the company is a bit green in the HOS arena. But this is already a good ELD product, with the potential to become a great one.
UP FRONT COST
3-YEAR TOTAL COST
Pros & Cons
- New and modern
- EVIR system for vehicle inspections
- Sturdy display hardware
- Newer product, still working out some kinks
- Driver workflow can be confusing
- Log correction process is awkward and slow