Responsiveness is a crucial trait for any company to have, but isn’t it better to prevent disruptions before they occur whenever it's possible? Instead of waiting until your trailer is stolen or is experiencing increased breakdowns, shouldn’t you attempt to prevent that theft or breakage from happening in the first place? The answer is obviously yes, but the challenge lies in figuring out how you can best protect your trailer without hindering daily operations or breaking your budget. Luckily, GPS asset tracking provides an affordable, unobtrusive solution that can help reinforce your trailer’s security.


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 to Prevent Trailer Theft with Asset Tracking

One asset that you should take time to protect with trailer tracking is the trailer itself. This tends to occur at the warehouse, where multiple trailers often sit for extended periods waiting to be loaded or picked up. With all the trucks coming in and out, no one’s going to question a trailer being removed by someone who looks like they belong there and know what they’re doing. Although not altogether common, trailer theft is incredibly costly and far-reaching when it does occur, because you have to replace the trailer and everything that was on it. Then, while you wait to obtain a replacement trailer, you have one less trailer in rotation to make the same amount of deliveries. This is why it’s important to have trailer tracking software in place, to help prevent this from occurring or to help respond if it does.

1. Outfit trailers with trailer tracking devices.

The first step to preventing trailer theft with asset tracking is to outfit your trailers with the appropriate trailer tracking devices. You should prioritize devices with reliable and accurate visibility, allowing you to track your trailer no matter where it goes. For instance, our AirFinder Everywhere system leverages three different location technologies on our trailer tracking device: WiFi sniffing, cellular identification, and the more traditional GPS tracking. This helps ensure that no matter where the trailer is located, a reading can be provided, so if theft occurs, the trailer can be quickly recovered. It also helps ensure that the battery lasts longer, allowing for extended protection.

2. Set up geofences around your facilities.

Geofences are digital boundaries used within asset tracking to designate zones of operations. To prevent trailer theft, you should set up geofences around your home facility and the facilities that your trailers tend to visit. The asset tracking system can then be set up to provide an alert when the trailer leaves those boundaries. If the alert goes off during a time the trailer was supposed to be staying in one place, this might indicate theft, and fleet managers know to contact the drivers to ensure that everything is alright. If the worst has happened, they can contact law enforcement so the trailer can be retrieved before it goes too far.

3. Set up movement alerts.

Even if you don’t set up geofences around every single location that your trailers are expected to stop, you can still safeguard them against unauthorized movement. You can select a trailer tracking device that allows you to receive alerts when the trailer starts moving. This works similarly to geofences, just on a more inclusive scope. Whenever the trailer begins moving, a notification is sent through the system. If the trailer isn’t supposed to be moving at that time, fleet managers can contact the driver to ensure the trailer wasn’t stolen. If it was, they can get law enforcement involved.

How to Prevent Cargo Theft with Asset Tracking

Not all thieves are looking to steal trailers; in fact, most aren’t equipped to do so even if they wanted to. Although trailer theft is more costly and has far more reaching consequences when it does occur, cargo theft tends to happen with greater frequency, with its effects building over time. When cargo is stolen, customers don’t receive their shipments on time since they must be replaced. This can result in lost revenue and reputation, as well as resulting in schedules needing to be rearranged in order to retrieve and deliver the replacement. Luckily, IoT asset tracking can be used to prevent cargo theft as well.

1. Outfit pallets, containers, and/or products with cargo tracking devices.

One of the strategies from preventing trailer theft can translate directly to preventing cargo theft. Just as you can secure your trailer by placing a trailer tracking device on it, you can secure your cargo by placing a cargo tracking device on it. Just knowing that the company cares enough to track the cargo is often enough to dissuade potential thieves, who want to avoid detection. If a product is tracked, even if they remove the tracker, they know the company will be aware of what happened; they won’t be able to mistake it for loss or misplacement on their end. If the cargo is stolen, as long as the tracking device is still in place, it can be tracked down and retrieved.

2. Outfit trailer doors with tamper alerts.

You can also prevent cargo theft by taking extra measures to secure your trailer. Asset tracking systems also support door sensors, which can be used to detect when a door opens or closes. By outfitting your trailer’s doors with these sensors, you are provided with alerts whenever the door opens or closes. Much like geofencing or movement alerts, this allows you to detect instances of unauthorized access. If a door opens when or where it shouldn’t, fleet managers can reach out to the drivers. Ideally, if theft is occurring, law enforcement can arrive before the thieves are even able to leave.

3. Combine trailer and cargo tracking to provide custody tracking.

Another way to prevent cargo theft is to combine the tracking of your trailers and cargo in such a way that you know when the cargo is removed from the trailer. This is not geofencing, but the way it works is comparable. Essentially, the trailer is outfitted with a trailer tracking device that can communicate with the asset tags fixed to the cargo or pallets. It is able to detect which asset tags – and by extension, which assets – are within the trailer tracker’s immediate vicinity. This establishes a form of custody tracking, creating a record of the specific cargo being transported on that trailer. If one of the asset tags leaves the trailer tracker’s range, an alert is sent to the system indicating the separation. If that cargo should not have left the trailer yet, fleet managers can investigate the potential theft before the thief gets away.

How to Prevent Breakdowns with Asset Tracking

Theft isn’t the only challenge that asset tracking can help you protect your trailer from. Instead, asset tracking also has the potential to help you prevent unexpected breakdowns while in transit. When breakdowns occur, the transportation process is disrupted and the ultimate delivery time is delayed. Fleet managers then have to reschedule their other trailers in order to retrieve abandoned cargo while they arrange to have the trailer repaired. This results in undue stress and lost revenue, so it’s best to prevent unexpected breakdowns where possible. There are a few approaches you can take to prevent breakdowns with asset tracking.

1. Maintain usage data.

When you outfit your trailers with trailer tracking devices, you have a method of maintaining usage and utilization data for each tracked asset. This means that you know how long and how often each trailer is either active on the road or idle on the lot. Knowing how much active and idle time each trailer experiences is important, because too much of either can make the trailer more prone to breakdowns than if its active and idle times were more balanced. For instance, a trailer that’s on the road more often will experience more wear and tear from usage, while a trailer that’s on the lot for too long might risk its mechanical parts not being able to handle the strain when it sets out again. With an asset tracking system, you can better cycle each trailer through active and idle time to avoid these risks.

2. Maintain records of inspection and preventive maintenance.

In addition to usage, a trailer tracking system can also help you keep track of when each trailer is inspected or receives preventative maintenance. This can be achieved by affixing trackers to each trailer and setting up geofences around an area dedicated to inspections and maintenance. You can then set up the system to create a record when the trailer passes into or out of this zone, effectively creating accountability for your preventative maintenance cycles and ensuring no trailer goes without for too long. Having these records helps you ensure that each trailer is being inspected and maintained regularly, which increases the chances of potential issues being caught before the trailer goes out on the road. In turn, this helps reduce unexpected breakdowns.

3. Monitor load sizes.

Other methods for preventing unexpected trailer breakdowns center around the cargo more than the trailer itself. For instance, asset tracking provides a method of monitoring load size. This is important because trailers are only intended to carry so much weight at a given time, and exceeding that weight or distributing that weight poorly can result in costly complications. Asset tracking can help when set up in a similar way to the model that provides custody tracking: by having asset tags first report to the trailer tracker, which then reports to the system what products are being carried by that trailer. Operators can use this information to determine if there is too much currently on the trailer so that they can take measures before it results in disaster.

The Asset Tracking System That Works for You

Protecting your trailer in all these ways needs to be a priority if your logistics operations are going to excel. Many fleet managers already understand this, but just as many are failing to find solutions that truly work toward these goals. Some may assume that because telematics cannot cover it, it’s not something that is available, when in reality, it’s just not what telematics systems are designed to do. Others may turn to consumer solutions like Apple AirTag because they’ve heard of them and recognize the commercial benefits of tracking technologies. However, this usually doesn’t go to plan, as they quickly realize that AirTag is not designed for large scale operations and is relatively limited in scope and scalability. So what sort of tracking system can be used to fill in these gaps that more well-known technologies simply aren’t designed to address?

What companies looking to protect their trailer with asset tracking need is a commercial asset tracking solution. Commercial asset tracking systems are designed with large-scale use cases and industrial settings in mind with hardy casing and an array of location tracking technologies. They are designed with the goal of providing visibility for companies and their assets, which in this case, includes trailers and the cargo they contain. These are the systems that can be used to achieve the benefits of the strategies that we’ve discussed here, and the right system can even integrate with your telematics or other existing systems to help ease the technology into your daily routine.

Link Labs provides one such commercial asset tracking system that can be used for trailer tracking and cargo monitoring. Our AirFinder Everywhere solution lets you be proactive about trailer theft, cargo theft, breakdowns, and more by providing all the benefits and visibility we discussed above. On top of that, AirFinder is an extremely affordable, scalable solution that allows you to track what you need to track now and then easily expand when you gain more assets in the future. We also provide an onsite and indoor tracking solution that integrates seamlessly on the same platform, letting companies with private warehouses track inventory as well as what’s on the road. Book a demo with our experts today to learn how you can secure your trailers and cargo on one easy-to-use platform!

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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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