Fleet managers and other operators are getting tired of doing every part of their process manually, and to be frank, manual processes are getting in the way of many companies’ ability to excel. To be the best in their industry, a company’s operations must be better and faster than their competitors. Manual processes risk too much error and extend the time it takes for inventory to move through the supply chain. What tools have companies used to bypass manual processes in an effort to reduce human error, increase productivity, and improve the quality of operations? Learn how these companies have begun to introduce IoT to their operations to automate processes and gain visibility.


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.

 

IoT and Its Benefits

IoT has come a long way from its first introduction. It’s pretty easy to understand the usage of IoT at a consumer level since we interact with it every day, mostly in the form of smart devices and personal trackers. When it was first suggested to utilize this technology at a commercial level for tracking assets like trailers and pallets, managers were hesitant to implement without researching the benefits it offered. After performing extensive research, they came across a vast number of benefits proving IoT to be the best tool for improving overall logistics operations. 

  • Increased Asset Visibility

Without IoT on trailers, fleet managers struggled to gain visibility of their unpowered assets when they were disconnected from the truck. When they’re connected, they can rely on a truck’s telematics system to achieve some level of visibility. These systems also help managers understand the level of the truck’s performance. From fuel consumption to vehicle speed and much in between, telematics has been widely relied on by fleet managers to understand details of their fleet operations. Based on the information telematics has provided, fleet managers can make reasonable assumptions of what is likely going on with the trailer connected to the truck. However, telematics systems have fallen short of providing truly accurate visibility of trailers and the cargo on those trailers. Integrating an IoT trailer tracking system with telematics gives fleet managers more complete visibility of the supply chain. Managers are able to see the trailer’s location and status even when it’s disconnected from the truck or when the truck is turned off. This smart trailer solution even provides visibility of the cargo inside the trailer.

Trailers carry valuable assets on each load that need to arrive at their final destination. If any package or pallet is lost or stolen, customers are dissatisfied and the company loses money. A trailer tracking solution alerts fleet managers of missing pallets and packages so they can react to the problem as soon as it happens instead of waiting until they receive a complaint from the customer after their package is supposed to be delivered. By then, the package is long gone, with little chance of getting it back. It’s easier and less expensive to replace the package with another, preventing the company from losing money and potentially a customer. When a trailer tracking device is attached to each package, the fleet manager is alerted if a package is removed from the trailer so they can retrieve it immediately. This lets the fleet manager guarantee that the package is on the right trailer and know when it arrived at its destination.

  • Remote Operations Control

It’s not easy to manage trailers that you aren’t with. As a fleet manager, you are in charge of lots of trailers that are mostly on the road. You can’t be everywhere at once, but you still need to have control over each trailer. The visibility IoT provides gives managers the ability to maintain control over all the trailers on the road and in the lot. This is not to encourage managers to sit and stare at their trailers driving down the highway all day, but rather to give peace of mind that the trailers are going where they need to go when they are supposed to go there.

One feature that trailer tracking systems have is geofencing with alerts. Managers can set up geofences around their facility, warehouses, and any other area they want to. When the trailer enters or exits a geofence, they receive an alert that the boundary has been crossed. So, if a manager needs to know when trailers 1234 and 5678 arrive at location C, they can set up a geofence around location C. Then, when trailers 1234 and 5678 cross the geographic boundaries, the fleet manager will receive an automatic alert. Additionally, trailer tracking systems have reporting capabilities to record when each trailer crosses each virtual boundary, creating a historical record that can be used for process analysis and data-driven decision-making.

  • Improved Trailer Utilization

Companies have spent a large sum of money to purchase all the trailers they have. The best way to ensure you are getting the most out of these trailers is to monitor their utilization. Turning your trailer into a smart trailer helps you better manage your yard. Depending on your storage system, you may have trailers in the back of your lot being underutilized without your knowledge. When you have trailers that are underutilized, you also have trailers being overutilized. Trailers that are underutilized aren’t being used to make back the money spent to purchase them and they likely aren’t up to date on maintenance. Fleet tracking reports let you know which trailers have been sitting for months and which ones are on the road too much. It’s understandable why managers would use the trailers in the front since they are more immediately accessible, but tracking your trailers so they can be used on a more rotational basis ultimately saves money in repairs and replacements.

Utilization monitoring also helps companies with purchasing decisions. If not all the trailers are being used without managers realizing, they may think they need to purchase more to take on all the trips they need to take. With trailer tracking, managers can view usage reports before making the decision to purchase new trailers. They just might find out they have 3 in the back that haven’t been used in 6 months. They won’t have to waste money on new trailers and can instead take steps to better manage their scheduled trips.

  • Improve Preventive Maintenance

We briefly mentioned how monitoring utilization of trailers helps fleet managers ensure proper maintenance of their trailers, but that’s not the only part of trailer tracking that helps with maintenance efforts. With a connected trailer, fleet managers can easily keep track of historical maintenance records and schedule alerts for upcoming maintenance. With these efforts, companies can make sure they never miss any scheduled maintenance activities. This is important because when maintenance isn’t consistent, the lifespan of the trailers will be shortened significantly. 

There are special considerations for specialized trailers, too, especially when the trailer has a vital internal system that can impact the quality of the cargo. For reefer trailers specifically, there are sensors embedded in the asset tags that can help monitor the temperature of the trailer at all times. If the temperature falls out of range, the manager will be notified so the proper maintenance can be performed to fix any issues with the refrigeration system before the food or other perishable items spoil.

  • Reduced Operational Costs

Operational costs are growing each year. From increasing fuel prices to general inflation, companies are spending more and more money just to deliver products to their final destination. As a result, many companies are looking for a way to cut spending without sacrificing the quality of their products and services. It may seem counterproductive to spend money on asset tracking technology, but the benefits you gain from this technology saves your company more money. We’ve helped companies that saw ROI within the first 6 weeks of use. That means that you’ve already made back what you spent, and anything else is direct savings!

The savings that trailer tracking produces are numerous. With route optimization, companies can reduce the amount of money they spend on fuel. Through monitoring utilization, companies are prevented from purchasing trailers that they didn’t need. With real-time visibility, companies reduce loss and theft of trailers and cargo. With less loss, there are less replacement costs. And that’s before considering detention times, one of the highest and most unnecessary costs involved in logistics. When trucks sit idle for too long, the company faces high fines as punishment. With an asset tracking solution, these fines can be avoided. The list goes on and on with all the costs you won’t have because of your trailer tracking system. 

The Truck Ecosystem

We’ve focused a lot on a trailer tracking solution in regards to the actual trailer. But the benefits don’t stop there. This solution tracks the pallets and cargo inside of the trailer as well. You can even put a tag on your driver for their safety. The trailer, cargo, and driver are all connected through one solution, and when integrated with your existing telematics solution, every part of your trailer is effectively connected. Because of this extended visibility, you’ll be able to monitor transportation operations at every step. From the distribution center, to the customer facility, and at every stop in between, you never have to worry about what’s going on with your most important assets, because you’ll already know. You’ll no longer have partial visibility, you’ll have complete visibility of every single step of your logistics operations. Asset tracking also seamlessly provides visibility of manufacturing operations on the same system, so if your company has both, you’re really set for savings!

AirFinder Everywhere

Our solution, AirFinder Everywhere, is a trailer tracking solution that was designed to help fleet managers improve their logistics operations. Our solution provides fleet managers with visibility of all their assets ranging from individual packages to the trailer itself. AirFinder Everywhere gives fleet managers control over their trailers no matter where they are, enabled by an innovative combination of location technologies that helps you maintain visibility across the map. Don’t fall behind your competitors, and consider the value of this innovative solution for your logistics operations.

Turn Your Trailer into an IoT Platform

A smart trailer’s power to improve logistics operations cannot be overstated. Trailer tracking systems offer enhanced tracking and visibility that provide information to fleet managers so they can make improved decisions and cut costs. The seamless integration with other technologies makes it easy for companies to quickly implement the solutions and reap the benefits sooner. Embracing smart connected trailers allows companies to stay competitive, provide better customer service, and achieve higher operational efficiency in today's fast-paced and technology-driven world. If you’re ready to turn your trailer into an IoT platform, book a demo with our team of experts.The Importance of Having a Smart Trailer

Written by Emily Saldivar

Emily Saldivar is a Marketing Specialist for Link Labs and has been with the company since 2020. She has a background in content writing and is furthering the Link Labs mission through social media and other platforms.

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