Trucking management software (TMS) can have incredible benefits for companies. In addition to helping fleet managers streamline everyday operations, a TMS platform can also improve safety practices and maintain compliance with regulations, which ultimately reduces accidents and penalties.
Moreover, a robust TMS system can store records on all drivers, trucks, and trailers, creating a centralized hub for crucial information. This comprehensive database simplifies scheduling reviews and maintenance of trucks, tracking of document expiration dates, and due dates for the entire fleet.
In this article, we’ll talk about 5 key areas that a solid TMS can simplify:
- USDOT & Operating Authority documentation
- IFTA Compliance & Credentials
- Registration for UCR
- International Registration Plan services
- Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) Filings
USDOT & Operating Authority documentation
The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) requires multiple documents and permits for commercial motor carriers operating within the United States.
For a commercial motor carrier to get Operating Authority documentation, they’ll usually need to submit an application, meet specific regulatory requirements, provide insurance coverage, and comply with safety regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These documents are critical for carriers, as they show that you’re compliant and prove that you’re authorized for commercial transportation activities.
Trucking management software works to keep your company compliant with FMCSA regulations by storing and managing all the required compliance documentation in real-time. This can include data like licenses, insurance, driver information, and more. It serves as a comprehensive database that keeps track of data documents, expiration dates, and due dates for your entire fleet.
Quality DOT/FMCSA compliance software can be a one-stop cloud-based storage center for all the documentation needed to support an audit. With everything easily accessible and conveniently located in one place, you can efficiently manage and access critical documentation.
IFTA Compliance & Credentials
The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is a tax agreement between the US and Canada requiring carriers to remit fuel taxes to the states and provinces where they operate. This means that carriers need to perform routine tasks like tracking fuel usage, managing credentials, and submitting IFTA reports correctly and on time.
A quality TMS system can accurately map, document, and store your IFTA data, allowing for consistently accurate reporting. In the event that auditing needs to take place, all the data will be organized and managed for swift and easy review. It also facilitates the scheduling of reviews and maintenance on trucks based on this data.
Additionally, a TMS should integrate with all fuel cards, ensuring that carriers only pay fuel taxes on the fuel that they actually use in the participating states or provinces. Fuel card integration results in an automatically-generated, accurate IFTA dataset that makes sure taxes are being paid when needed.
A TMS can also store and manage IFTA credentials, like decals and fuel tax permits. This helps to ensure that carriers have the right credentials for each state or province where they operate.
Registration for UCR
If a truck transports goods across state lines or between the United States and Mexico or Canada, it falls under the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Act’s jurisdiction.
The problem is: many trucking companies encounter challenges around UCR, like understanding the requirements (which vary from state to state), keeping up with compliance deadlines, data management, regulatory changes, and the administrative burden of the registration process.
A quality TMS can help. It can manage and organize the data needed for UCR registration, like carrier details, vehicle information, and mileage records. A TMS can also automate various parts of the registration process, help with compliance checks, provide renewal reminders, and generate reporting and documentation needed for registration. It can also integrate with accounting systems to seamlessly synchronize financial records.
International Registration Plan Services
International Registration Plan (IRP) is a cooperative agreement between the US and Canada that allows commercial vehicles to be registered in one jurisdiction and then operate in other jurisdictions without having to obtain separate registrations.
Once a carrier receives apportioned licensing through IRP, it’s required to file an annual IRP report that shows the number of miles that the vehicle has traveled in each jurisdiction. The IRP report is then used to determine how much the carrier must pay in registration fees and taxes to each jurisdiction.
Trucking management software can help with data management of necessary records like fleet and ownership details, vehicle identification numbers (VINs), and jurisdiction-specific requirements. TMS can also help with tasks like compliance monitoring, document generation for needed permits and forms, audit support, mapping integrations, and the complex calculations needed to determine registration fees and licensing.
Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) Filings
Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) filings are required for certain heavy vehicles that operate on public highways in the US. Many companies find that HVUT filings are complex and time-consuming, creating burdens for the team and difficulties keeping up.
That’s why many seek the help of a TMS system. While these systems can’t do the filing, they can help in numerous ways, like generating relevant reports to send to different agencies. Additionally, they can improve efficiency by organizing critical data and automating complex computations, making the daunting task of HVUT filings significantly less challenging.
Make life easier with a quality TMS
No matter the size, function, or business goals, every trucking company can benefit from having high-quality trucking management software on their front lines of operation. By automating safety and compliance (in addition to all the other benefits), you’re better able to save time and money, all while maximizing your operations and reducing issues and obstacles.
From route planning to performance monitoring to document management to real-time alerts, there’s no shortage of advantages in making the investment. All that’s left to do is find the right TMS software for your needs.