Shopping around for a fleet tracking system can be an arduous task. There’s so many vendors and systems to choose from; it’s hard to know where to start. The best approach to take is to not get ahead of yourself. Instead, before you start looking at your options, take the time to sit down and figure out exactly what you need from a fleet tracking solution. How much are you willing to spend? How many assets are you attempting to track? What type of assets are you attempting to track? And perhaps the most important question of all: what features are going to be most helpful for your business?
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.
Contrary to popular belief, not all fleet tracking systems have all the same features. Different vendors are going to champion their products for different reasons, simply because different products are designed to achieve different goals. That being said, there are a few features that you should ensure that potential fleet tracking solutions have before deciding to make a purchase. These features lend themselves to every logistics use case in some way, so no matter what you’re using your system for, you should ensure that the IoT solution you’re purchasing can deliver. Let’s take a look at three of the most important features to look for in even the most simple fleet tracking solution.
1) Real-Time Location and Condition Tracking
When looking for a fleet tracking solution, your first concern should be whether or not the technology you’re looking at can provide real-time location tracking. This may seem like a low bar. After all, if you’re looking for a location tracking solution, shouldn’t it be a given that you want your location data to be provided in real time? The unfortunate truth is that it is not. Not all fleet tracking systems are designed to support real-time tracking, instead providing updates with a delay. For smaller companies, that can be okay; real-time visibility is less important than trackability. But chances are, if you’re looking for fleet tracking, anything short of real-time isn’t going to meet your needs. That in mind, it should be the first feature you check for in any solution you’re assessing.
Beyond real-time location tracking, you should also look for a solution that provides options for real-time condition monitoring, especially if your fleet is responsible for the transport and delivery of condition-sensitive goods. This is especially important for temperature-sensitive goods, which can be thoroughly ruined or deemed unsafe if they don’t remain within a given range at all stages of the logistics process. By choosing a solution that supports real-time condition monitoring for your cargo, you are able to receive notifications when a product falls out of the optimal range. This lets you respond immediately to prevent damage or loss of quality. A quality fleet tracking system should have options for conditions such as temperature, humidity, shock, acceleration, and tampering in order to meet any needs you may have.
In terms of location tracking, it is also beneficial to choose a fleet tracking system that enables and supports geofencing. Geofences are digital barriers that can be set up around critical areas of your logistics journey in order to inform you when your trailer and its corresponding assets enter or exit the area. This allows you to maintain a reliable record of when assets leave the warehouse, make stops along the way, or arrive at or leave their final destination. It allows you to understand the whole of your processes and the time it truly takes to get from point A to point B. Much like standard location tracking and condition monitoring, this data is best received in real time, as it allows you time to respond if the wrong asset ever leaves in the wrong trailer.
2) Scalability and Future-Proof Flexibility
Another feature you should consider in your prospective fleet tracking system is the ability to scale to your company’s needs. This is important for a number of reasons. First off, a solution that can scale is more likely to allow you to be flexible in your initial investment. Fleet tracking solutions that are built for scalability purposes are less likely to require you to purchase an established quantity of tags or infrastructure devices. And if they do have a requirement, it’s far more likely to be a lower number and lower cost. This means that you only have to pay for what you need when you need it; no one’s requiring that you purchase fifty or even one hundred tags just to get started with the solution. You can start off with a lower number and then make decisions about additional spending later.
Another reason that scalability is an important part of a quality fleet or trailer tracking solution is that it enables your solution to grow with your company and your company’s needs. The goal of businesses is never to stagnate; it’s to grow and expand your capacity so that you can serve more customers and make more money. As a consequence, a successful company is going to acquire more critical assets as time goes by. And as the amount of assets grows, it becomes even more important to be able to account for each individual aspect of your fleet. After all, it might not be difficult to maintain manual records for five trailers, but it becomes far more difficult for twenty, fifty, or one hundred, especially depending on how schedules overlap. A quality fleet tracking solution should provide the opportunity to easily and affordably increase the amount of assets that you track without requiring a whole new installation.
That being said, scalability isn’t just about being able to support increased capacity. It also means being able to support additional use cases without accruing additional costs or requiring additional infrastructure beyond the basic tagging technology. By using a fleet tracking solution that only accounts for a single use case – perhaps trailer tracking or cold chain monitoring – there is a distinct possibility that you’ll have to look for a supplementary solution from another provider somewhere down the line. Because again, as a company’s capacity grows, so too does their need for automated asset visibility. By making the proactive decision to choose a system that can support multiple use cases, you’re making it far more likely that you can stick with the same technology and the same company in the future.
3) Integration Capabilities
While the previously mentioned features might seem self-explanatory, there is a third vital feature that many companies don’t fully consider, either because they don’t realize the importance or because they don’t realize that it’s possible. Regardless, it’s important to invest in a fleet tracking system that is capable of integrating with your pre-existing systems. This provides a number of advantages that make your implementation far more likely to succeed. First, if your fleet tracking system can integrate with your pre-existing management systems, then the learning curve for your employees is significantly reduced. One of the most pressing challenges when implementing a new IoT solution is making sure that everyone knows how to use it properly. If they don’t, it’s harder to see benefits and easier to see ill effects. If you make sure you’re choosing a fleet tracking system with integration capabilities, then a significant portion of operating the system can be done through a central UI that your workers are already familiar with. This reduces the opportunity for system misuse and increases your ability to see benefits sooner.
The other key benefit of ensuring that your chosen fleet tracking system has integration capabilities is that it allows you to view and synthesize all generated process and operational data in one central location. One of the key goals of using any type of management system is to unlock data that can be used to make informed decisions about daily and future operations. You can use your historical records to identify what works and what doesn’t. This benefit grows as you increase the amount of data you collect, but if all your data points are in different places, it can be difficult to synthesize them as a whole. Operators might have to allot a significant amount of time manually exporting data to a more centralized location; they might also simply not centralize it at all, making it more difficult to identify trends. By choosing a fleet tracking system with integration capabilities, both of these possibilities are avoided. Instead, the systems can all report data to the same location automatically, meaning that all an operator has to do is view and make meaning out of the data.
It’s important to have integration capabilities with a variety of systems, including supply chain management systems and warehouse management systems, but perhaps the most crucial integration for the logistics space is centered around telematics. The goals of fleet tracking and telematics are similar: to provide visibility to trucks and what they’re hauling after they leave the facility. However, neither can provide complete visibility on their own. Telematics is centered around the truck, providing visibility for a powered vehicle, the connected trailer, and driver behavior. Fleet tracking, on the other hand, encompasses disconnected trailers, individual units of cargo, and the critical equipment that travels with the trailer. For full visibility, companies need both. This is why it’s especially important for fleet tracking systems to have the ability to integrate with telematics: so it can provide full visibility to the transportation process from one central location.
How AirFinder Everywhere Delivers Key Features
Link Labs provides a fleet tracking solution through our AirFinder Everywhere system for trucking and logistics operations. When creating our solution, we made sure to prioritize each of these key features to provide the greatest value to our customers. Here’s how we deliver on the top three features that every fleet tracking system should have.
Real-Time Location and Condition Tracking
AirFinder Everywhere provides real-time location tracking by combining GPS, WiFi sniffing, and cellular identification technologies to span across your company’s entire operational range. Our tags can be configured to report back to the system as frequently as you desire, providing the location visibility that you need when you need it. We also use advanced geofencing capabilities to deliver on this promise, allowing you to receive real-time alerts when an asset enters or exits a critical location. In terms of condition monitoring, our tags can be configured to provide real-time readings for whatever conditions are most important for your operations. Whether you’re looking to monitor temperature, humidity, shock, tampering, or another factor entirely, we can provide the readings you need to make informed, in-the-moment decisions about maintaining the quality of your cargo.
Scalability and Future-Proof Flexibility
Both Link Labs’ pricing model and our technology are designed to provide you with as much scalability and future-proof flexibility as possible. We only charge you for the components you need for your solution, rather than making you choose from established packages that may have too few components for your use case or cost too much money for your budget. Instead, we listen to your needs and your budget and provide recommendations accordingly. We leave plenty of room for you to expand your system later to both additional assets and additional use cases, as well. Once you purchase our product, we remain in direct contact with you, so reevaluating your needs down the road is quick and easy. After all, we want you to be able to benefit from our solution both now and in the future; the best way to do that is to grow with you.
AirFinder Everywhere can integrate with all your key existing systems. We do this through both MQTT and API streams, providing the guidance you need to get all of your critical operational data on a single platform. We will never make you adhere exclusively or even primarily to our UI if it’s not right for you; instead, we want you to be able to use the platforms and systems that you already know and love. This means that you’re able to largely bypass the learning and adapting period that comes with introducing a new technology, allowing you to reap the benefits of your fleet tracking system sooner. We are also designed to integrate with telematics systems, providing supplemental data that can assure complete visibility and control over your logistics and trucking operations.
If you’re interested in learning more about how our AirFinder Everywhere fleet tracking solution delivers these key features to provide greater benefits to your business, book a demo to talk to our experts today.