Fleet managers are constantly seeking ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs in their operations. After all, the more money that you save on matters of efficiency and logistics asset management, the more money you have for growth and quality improvements. One of the most effective tools fleet managers have at their disposal for addressing these challenges and meeting these needs is logistics tracking devices. These devices, powered by GPS and IoT technology, offer a range of benefits that can lead to significant cost savings for fleet management. But how do they work, and how exactly do they save you money? After all, isn’t spending money on an IoT solution an increased cost? To clear up these questions and more, we’ll look at just how asset tracking serves logistics operations for ongoing cost savings and strategic operational improvement.



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How Does Logistics Tracking Work?

Logistics tracking devices utilize GPS and IoT technology to provide real-time tracking information. GPS technology allows for precise location tracking, while IoT technology enables devices to communicate with each other and with central servers. Different solutions might use additional location technology in tandem with GPS to provide expanded visibility and battery life. Our AirFinder Everywhere solution, for example, utilizes GPS, WiFi sniffing, and cellular. This ensures that you can receive more granular location information as needed, but that you can also preserve your device’s battery by relying on other location technologies. Sometimes, a range of a mile is close enough, especially if it means saving money on battery replacements and system maintenance.

There are various types of tracking devices available, including those dedicated to monitoring specific types of assets and those that can be equipped with condition monitoring sensors to provide information about temperature, shock, humidity, and other critical data points. Different types of devices also operate in different ways. Our AirFinder Everywhere system allows you to place tags on your trailers, cargo, equipment, pallets, and whatever other assets you want to monitor the location or condition of. You can use different tags based on your needs and utilize our SuperTag Hub Mode for custody tracking. This allows you to place a SuperTag on your trailer and BLE tags enabled with condition monitoring sensors on your trailer’s contents. The SuperTag will be able to sense the BLE tags in its immediate vicinity, receive the data that they collect, and transmit it back to the central server along with the relevant location information. This allows fleet managers to track not only the location of their logistics assets, but also the condition and whether they are on the correct trailer at any given time.

How Logistics Tracking Helps You Save Money

The operational benefits of logistics tracking are readily apparent based on a brief description of how these trackers work and what this type of asset tracking system aims to accomplish. If you have location visibility for your assets, you can reduce loss and optimize your process. With condition monitoring enabled, you can also ensure compliance with industry standards and reduce in-transit spoilage. But how does this translate into cost savings? Let’s break it down.

Theft and Loss Prevention

One of the key features of logistics tracking devices is real-time location tracking. Fleet managers can monitor the exact location of their vehicles at any given time, allowing for improved understanding of processes and disruptions. However, this location visibility also allows fleet managers to reduce asset theft and loss. Without an asset tracking device in place, if an asset goes somewhere that it’s not supposed to, it can become nearly impossible to locate. When you have an asset tracker constantly reporting location information, you automatically know not just the last known location, but the asset’s current location and trajectory. This means that you can recover assets with far more ease, which in turn reduces the amount of money that’s spent replacing an unlocated asset. This is particularly helpful if you use returnable pallets, which are supposed to allow you to spend less on transport containers, but are often forgotten or set aside for disposal out of habit. Using an asset tracker for loss prevention also saves you money in terms of labor costs. Every minute that your workers need to spend searching for a critical asset is an hour that you have to pay them for searching instead of whatever they were intended to do. This can lead to unexpected overtime which, in addition to being frustrating for workers, requires more money spent looking for something when a simple IoT solution could have helped you avoid the loss in the first place.

Maintenance Monitoring and Inspection Scheduling

Another important aspect of fleet management is trailer and equipment maintenance. It’s often overlooked how logistics tracking can help with this task. Trailers especially should routinely undergo inspections and preventive maintenance after they spend so much time on the road or travel in certain conditions for extended periods of time. However, depending on the size of your fleet and how you schedule your distribution operations, knowing exactly when a trailer is due for maintenance can be difficult to keep track of. Fleet managers often make the mistake of trying to base this schedule off of telematics data by using data about the truck and records of what trailer was hooked to which truck at any given time to discern approximate time on the road. While this can work, it’s a convoluted process that can easily lead to oversights. It’s better to let the telematics system report on the truck and use a trailer tracker to report on trailers, especially since trailers rarely stay with the same truck for very long. Ensuring proper maintenance and inspection schedules helps to reduce maintenance and replacement costs. With routine maintenance and inspections, you’ll be able to discover issues with a trailer earlier on, before they have a chance to worsen or cause unexpected breakdowns. This means that it will likely be an easier, cheaper fix, and there will be less of a chance that you’ll have to fork over the money to replace the trailer entirely. The same concept applies to other costly logistics equipment, as well.

Asset Utilization and Process Optimization

Tracking devices can also help fleet managers track the movement and usage of their assets, such as trailers and equipment. This helps ensure that assets are being used efficiently, and if they’re not, fleet managers can identify those inefficiencies and make adjustments based on historic operational data. For instance, by keeping track of what is on a trailer at any given stage of the transportation process, fleet managers can know whether or not their trailers are being used to their full potential. They can also ensure that multiple trailers don’t travel in the same direction or to the same location unless it's absolutely necessary, freeing up assets for other tasks. This saves money by reducing the amount of time and labor costs spent to make the same deliveries, as well as helping save money on gas and maintaining more trailers. There is another element of utilization and optimization that involves keeping track of when trailers specifically are and aren’t being actively used. Far too often, certain trailers end up sitting idle in the back of the lot for extended periods where they aren’t used, simply because there are others that are easier to access. This can result in damages to both the trailers sitting idle and those that are being overused in their stead, leading to more money spent on repairs. A logistics tracking device can help you keep track of when trailers were last on the road, allowing you to cycle through them more effectively. It also prevents you from mistakenly thinking that you have less trailers than you actually do and purchasing more when you already have enough.

Meeting Compliance and Reducing Waste

Compliance with industry, health, and safety regulations is a major concern for fleet managers, especially those who work within the cold chain. Food, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and other temperature sensitive products are very strictly regulated to ensure the safety of the end user; any deviation from the critical temperature range can result in the product being no longer usable. This means that it will need to be disposed of, wasting the time and money spent producing and delivering that product. And that’s before considering any noncompliance fees or disposal costs. Luckily, fleet managers can rely on asset tracking to help avoid these costly fluctuations. A robust asset tracking system such as our AirFinder Everywhere solution is equipped to monitor temperatures at the pallet, container, or even product level. This granularity is important because although refrigerated trailers automatically provide visibility for the trailer’s temperature settings, depending on how the trailer is packed or how products shift in transit, certain products might not be maintaining that temperature. By tagging these products, managers and drivers can receive alerts when products begin to fall out of range, allowing them to act quickly to address the problem before spoilage occurs. This reduces the amount of money spent on wasted product, including noncompliance and disposal fees and has the added benefit of automatically producing temperature reports that can be used for proof of compliance when it is demanded.

Demand Forecasting and Predictive Analytics

Saving money as a fleet manager running logistics operations isn’t just about what’s happening in the here and now, it’s also about what’s going to happen in the future. While there will always be an element of uncertainty when it comes to forecasting and future planning, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of what will be happening weeks, months, and years down the road so that you can properly prepare and not be caught off guard when changes in demand occur. When most people think of forecasting and future planning, they don’t think about asset tracking. Instead, they think about AI. The reason why is clear: artificial intelligence is at the forefront of technology discussions in the modern age, in part due to its abilities to make predictions and extrapolate conclusions from data. But those words are the crux of why logistics tracking is important for predictive analytics: “from data.” AI capabilities do not and cannot exist in a vacuum; they need data to base their conclusions on. Implementing an asset tracking solution and allowing it to gather detailed operational data serves as the first and most critical step in gaining access to detailed, AI-powered demand forecasting and predictive analytics. Even if you’re analyzing this data on your own, having the data available to conduct these processes helps you save money by making sure you don’t overprepare or underprepare for shifts in demand or changes to your company’s processes. Money is spent where it’s needed based on accurate data points rather than speculation alone.

Save Money with an Affordable Logistics Tracking Solution

Logistics tracking devices are a valuable tool for fleet managers looking to save costs and improve efficiency. By providing real-time location and condition monitoring data to the specifications of the user, these devices can help fleet managers achieve their cost-saving goals. And as technology continues to evolve, the potential for cost savings with tracking devices will only continue to grow. Fleet managers who embrace this technology are likely to see significant benefits in the future, especially if they select a solution that is designed to be affordable and to accommodate a variety of needs with one central system. Our AirFinder Everywhere solution stands as one such system, designed to let you pay for what you need, address all of your challenges under one system, and expand your deployment as new needs arise or your company grows. This ensures that you’ll only even need one system for all your logistics tracking needs; we even integrate with telematics and supply chain management systems so that you can view and access your data all in one place. If you want to learn more about how AirFinder Everywhere can help you save money in your daily operations, book a demo with our team of experts today!

Written by Makenna Dudley

Makenna Dudley is a Marketing Associate for Link Labs, with practical experience in written communications, media writing, and additional forms of content creation. She has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication.

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