GPS trackers are revolutionary innovations that logistics and trucking companies are using to propel their operations into future-ready success. At the most basic level, they allow fleet managers and other operators to maintain full visibility and control over each stage of the logistics process and all their vital assets. This is accomplished through the use of a system that combines a number of useful features to provide operational data on what matters most for a given organization. Still, many operators don’t even realize what their GPS asset tracking system is capable of. Let’s dive into seven tips to unlock the full potential of your chosen GPS tracker.
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.
1) Ensure Real-Time Location Tracking
One of the best and easiest ways to unlock your GPS tracker’s full potential is to ensure that the GPS asset tracking system that you invest in has real-time location tracking capabilities. When you have access to real-time tracking data, your chosen solution’s ability to enable and inform a lasting positive impact increases exponentially.
For example, if your solution does not have real-time tracking, you can only use it to view an asset’s last known location. While this is helpful for locating lost or stolen items, it cannot provide you with a true representation of your asset’s daily use and operations. Furthermore, when location data is not available in real time, that data can only be used to make process improvements and to address challenges in hindsight. When you have access to reliable real-time tracking data, however, you can see the real-time impact of process changes or disruptions, allowing you to address any problem that arises before the issue escalates.
2) Establish Geofences Around Key Locations
Another way to make the most of your GPS tracking device is to establish geofences around key locations in your logistics or transportation process. Although it is becoming more common, not all GPS tracking solutions come with this capability, and not all solutions with this capability are as reliable. It’s important to ensure that the solution you select allows you to establish accurate geofences that operate for your use case.
Geofences are a feature in some asset tracking solutions that allow you to establish a digital boundary around a designated area, such as a yard, warehouse, or even remote landmarks like truck stops. When a tagged trailer or other asset crosses that boundary, you will receive an alert notifying you that your asset has arrived at or departed from the location. This is especially helpful to prevent theft or unauthorized access, and also to ensure that drivers are adhering to time constraints and rest regulations. It’s also helpful to have these boundaries in place because it informs you when a new asset has entered a facility that you manage. Based on this notification, you can dispatch workers quickly to connect, load, unload, or disconnect the trailer in a timely fashion. It also helps ensure that cargo individually outfitted with GPS tags does not leave on the incorrect trailer, sending alerts when a shipment leaves the facility.
3) Enable Product-Level Condition Monitoring
Set yourself up for even more benefits and even greater returns by selecting a GPS tracking solution that supports product-level condition monitoring for the critical conditions that impact your cargo. Although most trailer trackers and telematics systems will provide the interior temperature of a trailer for cold chain monitoring, these systems are not usually designed to provide temperature readings for individual products, units, or pallets. This makes it difficult to truly ensure the quality of each product, as the interior temperature might be within acceptable limits while certain products are not maintaining those temperatures due to blocked or damaged ventilation systems.
You can also select a GPS tracker that provides condition monitoring beyond temperature. Many asset tracking systems provide options for also tracking humidity, shock, tampering, and more. This means that you can track what matters for the safety of your projects. Shock and tampering in particular provide value regardless of what your company is responsible for transporting. These sensors can alert you if products have moved or been moved in such a way that they might have been damaged, allowing you to address the problem quickly before that chance increases by continuing with unsecured cargo.
4) Take Advantage of Alerts and Notifications
The key feature that allows you to take advantage of many of these benefits to their fullest potential is the ability to set alerts and notifications on your GPS asset tracking system. Alerts and notifications can be used to bring any deviations from planned processes to the attention of fleet managers, allowing you to respond promptly to minimize disruptions and other negative effects. This responsiveness is critical for using many of asset tracking’s key features, which is why it’s important to ensure that you not only invest in a solution that supports alerts and notifications, but also that you take full advantage of that feature at every opportunity.
Alerts and notifications can be triggered by a number of different predetermined conditions. In fact, some of the features we discussed previously can be used to trigger alerts. For instance, you can set up your GPS tracker to provide an alert when an asset crosses a geofence, notifying you when it either enters or exits a designated area. You can also set alerts for when an asset falls outside of established conditions. This is especially useful for temperature monitoring, as it lets you know when your cargo is at risk of spoilage. Other alerts and notifications that your asset tracking system should support include motion detection, which alerts you when an asset starts to move, and simple battery notifications, which provide a frame of reference for when the component devices require a battery change.
5) Set Up Custody Tracking for Cargo
To gain further benefits from your GPS tracking system, you should consider setting up custody tracking procedures for your cargo. Traditionally, custody tracking is simply completed through manual bookkeeping in order to maintain a record of what cargo is being shipped to what location on what trailer. Some companies might use barcodes or RFID scanners to complete this process, but this remains manual, which means it is both fallible and limited in its scope. You can only know what cargo is on what trailer if it is properly scanned during loading, and you can only know that the cargo has arrived at its destination if it is scanned during unloading, which you don’t always have control over.
Custody tracking through GPS tracking, however, is completely automated and reports location even if you forget to check it yourself. Essentially, both the trailer and its contents are separately tagged, with the contents reporting their presence to the trailer’s tag. The trailer tag then reports its location and all the assets in its immediate vicinity to the system platform, providing an accurate record of the cargo and equipment traveling within a given trailer. You should also set up alerts for when an asset leaves the vicinity of a trailer tag, letting you know that it has been separated either intentionally or unintentionally.
6) Track Everything from the Yard to the Final Destination
In order to make the most out of your GPS tracking system, you should use it at all stages of your logistics operations from the yard to the final destination. It goes without saying that the more ways you choose to use a given solution, the more benefits and more immediate ROI you’ll see from your investment. Even if you’ve only originally conceptualized using the solution for one particular stage of the logistics process, if your GPS tracker supports other uses, you should take advantage of as many as possible and strive toward complete visibility. When you do so, you can rest assured that you are getting the most out of your system.
Some areas of the logistics process that you can use your GPS asset tracking system to optimize that you might not have thought of include the yard and the warehouse. Many operators don’t see the need to track trailers when they’re stationary in the yard. However, by doing so, you can better enforce usage and maintenance cycles and ensure that no trailer is being overutilized or underutilized. In the long run, this helps you plan ahead and prevent unnecessary purchases. As for tracking within the warehouse, many operators don’t believe it’s necessary since warehouses and storage facilities tend to have their own management systems in place. However, it can be helpful to track cargo on a single system across every stage of distribution, giving you a better understanding of your processes.
7) Use Collected Data to Make Informed Operational Decisions
At the heart of unlocking the true potential of your GPS tracking system is ensuring that you’re using the data that it provides to the fullest extent of your abilities. While knowing where everything is at a given time provides you with a more immediate benefit, the true value of an asset tracking system lies in the data it collects and how that data can be applied to improve your daily processes. Using data to back the decisions you make takes the guesswork out of process improvement by providing a full picture of your daily operations, along with its strengths and weaknesses. It’s a more efficient way to make changes and the most effective way to use your asset tracking system.
To get as much value from your data as possible, it should be applied both to addressing daily disruptions and informing long term process improvements. For the first use to be effective, you need to have real-time visibility. When you have real-time visibility of your processes, you can quickly identify bottlenecks and other disruptions so that you can address them immediately and minimize their overall impact. In terms of using data for more long term, future-thinking effects, your asset tracking system will automatically record and store data during your regular operations so that you don’t have to. All you have to do is look at and analyze their contents, using it to make informed decisions about improving your company’s performance.
Invest in GPS Asset Tracking with Link Labs
Link Labs’ AirFinder Everywhere solution is a GPS asset tracking system that delivers all of these key features and more. Whether you’re looking to track a segment of your operations or everything from the yard to the final destination, our system is built to address your use case. With high scalability and a wide range of applications, you can also invest in what you need and can afford now and easily expand down the road. To learn more about how our solution can help you, book a demo with our experts today.