Operators and managers for logistics operations must understand that managing your assets efficiently is crucial to the success of your company. This is especially true if you rely on trailers to transport goods and equipment. Indeed, the trailers themselves are valuable assets that might be at risk for theft, nevermind the products they contain. These trailers need to be tracked and monitored to ensure their safety and optimize their usage. Luckily GPS asset trackers are designed to help.
Increase Your ROI by Investing in AirFinder Everywhere
- Loss Prevention. Reduce the amount of loss that occurs during the supply chain process
- Location Coverage. AirFinder Everywhere uses a combination of GPS, Cellular, and WiFi to determine location everywhere
- Security Alerts. Know when a delay in shipment has occurred so the problem
can be addressed immediately.
How GPS Asset Trackers Work
GPS asset trackers are devices designed to track and monitor the location and status of valuable assets in real time. They consist of various components, including GPS receivers, cellular or satellite communication modules, and tracking software. These trackers can be used to monitor a wide range of valuable logistics assets, including vehicles, equipment, containers, and trailers. This technology can be used to provide businesses with insights into asset utilization, security, and operational efficiency.
At the core of GPS asset trackers lies the Global Positioning System (GPS), a satellite-based navigation system most well known for its use as a navigational device. GPS satellites orbit the Earth, continuously transmitting signals that are received by GPS receivers. By calculating the time it takes for signals to reach multiple satellites, the receiver determines its precise location. This positioning information is then used to track assets accurately, no matter where they might be headed.
Some GPS asset trackers, like Link Labs’ AirFinder Everywhere, are also designed to include other location technologies in order to better preserve battery while maintaining accuracy. For instance, our solution also incorporates WiFi sniffing and cellular capabilities to offset the high power consumption rates of GPS alone. Different technologies can look different, but they all seek to provide visibility for assets throughout the transportation process, including your trailers.
But how can you know if trailer tracking is right for your company? Well, let’s take a look at some of the common indicators.
Sign #1: You Lose Visibility of Disconnected Trailers
One sign that you should implement an asset tracking solution is that you’re commonly experiencing loss of location visibility of disconnected trailers. When you lose this visibility, you have no reliable way of knowing the location of your trailers and shipments, making it difficult to ensure timely and efficient delivery. Consequences of losing trailer visibility can include:
- Increased risk of theft or loss. When trailers are disconnected, they are more vulnerable to theft or loss. There’s also less of an opportunity to track down and recover trailers that end up lost or stolen.
- Delayed delivery times. If you don’t know where your trailers are, it can affect how quickly those trailers are deployed and how well they’re utilized. This inevitably affects delivery times and causes shipments to take longer than strictly necessary.
- Inability to locate and reroute trailers efficiently. If location visibility is lost when trailers are disconnected, you can’t make decisions about how to use those trailers, which is particularly detrimental in scenarios where you’re on a tight schedule and need to reassess based on immediate location and availability.
With an asset tracking system, you can remedy the issue of lost visibility with ease. After all, one of the primary benefits of asset tracking is location monitoring. If you need to keep track of the whereabouts of your trailers, asset trackers can help you do so in real time without needing to be attached to an external power source like most telematics systems. With this technology in place, you’re able to maintain full visibility of your trailers even when they’re not connected to a truck or when the truck that they’re connected to is powered off. There are no gaps in visibility – you can always locate your trailers with ease. This visibility is particularly useful when managing a large fleet of trailers, as it can be challenging to keep track of them and make the best utilization choices without some form of reliable data to inform those decisions. To prevent theft or unauthorized use, you can also set up your asset tracking system to receive notifications when a trailer moves outside a designated area.
Sign #2: You Need to Improve Trailer Utilization
If you’re looking to improve your company’s utilization of available trailers, asset tracking also has a solution in store. By monitoring the location and usage of trailers, businesses can identify which trailers are being used to their full potential and which ones are not. This allows them to make informed decisions about the changes they must make to ensure that their resources are allocated effectively. If you do not seek to optimize your trailer utilization, it can result in:
- Increased idle time of trailers. When trailers are idle, process efficiencies suffer. You need to know when trailers are available for use so you can take full advantage of your assets.
- Accidents due to overloading or improper loading. If you aren’t properly using your trailers, the additional shipments have to go somewhere else. If they end up in a trailer that’s already too full, it can cause accidents while it transit.
- Unnecessary maintenance and replacement costs. Improper utilization can result in additional costs concerning the maintenance of under-utilized trailers, as well as the replacement of over-utilized trailers.
Monitoring trailer utilization with GPS asset trackers prevents all these issues from occurring, as well as providing added benefits to your business. These trackers allow you to retain visibility of trailers, regardless of whether they are idle or in use. They can also help you maintain awareness of what’s in use and where those trailers are projected to be down the line, allowing you to prepare a more well-considered rotation of the assets at your disposal. This ensures that no trailer is being over-utilized or underutilized, which further extends the lifespan of each. Monitoring utilization can also reduce the need for last minute trailer rentals, which saves both money and operation headaches. Ultimately, GPS tracking allows businesses to meet customer demand more efficiently by ensuring that trailers are available when and where they are needed.
Sign #3: Your Trailers are Being Breached or Stolen
Another common sign that you could use an asset tracking system is that your trailers or their contents are being stolen. Asset trackers can help enhance trailer security by providing real-time location information and alerts in case of unauthorized movement, tampering, or access. Without these measures in place, your company risks:
- Costs related to loss, replacements, and investigation. Regardless of whether you pursue the thief or simply opt to replace what is lost, there are always financial costs associated with stolen trailers and goods.
- Higher risk perception by insurers. If stolen trailers and goods become a recurring issue for your company, your insurance premiums will be driven up.
- Impact on production and delivery schedules. Stolen goods must be reproduced; stolen trailers cannot be used to make deliveries. The time it takes to remedy these issues has an impact on your overall operational efficiency.
All of these issues are averted with the successful implementation of an asset tracking solution. An appropriate system, as touched on previously, can be configured to send out alerts when a trailer leaves a designated area. This means you can stay on top of potential theft or unauthorized use of vehicles. The RTLS location monitoring functions provided by GPS-enabled systems further help businesses recover stolen trailers quickly and prevent loss of valuable assets. You can simply check to see where the trailer’s location is displayed on the system and take the necessary measures to retrieve it. This helps save time and money on investigations and replacements alike, allowing your logistics operations to proceed with minimal disruptions.
Sign #4: You’re Spending Too Much on Trailer Maintenance
Asset trackers can help businesses reduce their trailer maintenance costs by providing real-time data on the trailer's location, usage, and condition. This allows businesses to identify when trailers will need maintenance and schedule repairs or inspections proactively. By addressing maintenance issues promptly, businesses can reduce the risk of breakdowns and prolong the lifespan of these vital assets. Without using trailer trackers to help you maintain a consistent maintenance schedule, yout company might have problems with:
- Decreased trailer reliability and lifespan. Lack of regular maintenance can result in trailers not lasting as long as they’re supposed to, requiring you to make more replacements than strictly necessary.
- Increased risk of breakdowns and accidents. Inconsistent maintenance can also lead to trailers having problems at unexpected moments, which can result in lost product, shipping delays, or even car accidents.
- Inefficient spare parts inventory management. Many companies maintain spare parts for their fleet of trailers. Without consistent documentation on condition and usage, it’s harder to ensure that parts will be available as soon as they’re needed.
All of these issues in turn result in too much maintenance spending – either you’re maintaining something that doesn’t need it, or you are fixing something that never would have broken in the first place if you had just monitored its usage, condition, and needs more closely. Trailer tracking software can provide greater insight into all of these areas, helping you formulate a structured preventative maintenance plan that should help alleviate reactive maintenance and extend the life of your trailers.
A GPS Trailer Tracker That Works for You
If you’re experiencing any of these problems with your company’s trailers, it might be time to invest in a GPS asset tracking solution for trailer tracking. With the right system in place, you can maintain complete visibility of your trailers while optimizing your processes for improved utilization and lower expenses. Our AirFinder Everywhere solution is designed to provide this visibility no matter where you are and where you go, with an affordable, scalable system that can grow and change with your company’s goals. To learn more about how this solution can help your logistics operations with all your trailer tracking needs, book a demo today!