Companies are constantly seeking ways to optimize their operations, reduce costs, and enhance customer satisfaction. One technology that has become indispensable in achieving these goals is trailer tracking. Trailer tracking helps logistics companies stay ahead of the competition by providing complete visibility to all aspects of the transportation process, accounting for not only their trailers, but also all the cargo, equipment, and other assets that they contain. With this level of versatility and granularity, it’s no surprise that more and more companies are looking to implement this revolutionary technology. Find out if it’s right for you by exploring the biggest benefits of trailer tracking for logistics and trucking operations.
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Why Do I Need Trailer Tracking? I Have Telematics!
Within fleet tracking, making the right technology choices can significantly impact operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Part of making those choices means understanding what your required, pre-existing systems can and cannot do. To put it bluntly: although logistics and trucking operations are required by law to have telematics systems in place and although this technology is incredibly helpful for collecting data and promoting efficient operations, having telematics in place does not mean that you shouldn’t invest in trailer tracking technology. Taking this perspective is misguided and ultimately prevents you from considering options that have the potential to take your company to the next level.
Trailer tracking does not replace or compete with your telematics systems. Both technologies are designed with unique differences, benefits, and considerations that serve to help fleet managers to make informed decisions. Telematics systems, for instance, collect data surrounding the driver and the vehicle, including vehicle location, speed, engine diagnostics, and driver behavior. This is done with the goal of optimizing routes, holding drivers accountable, and ensuring best practices while on the road. Trailer tracking, on the other hand, serves to hone in on tracking and managing trailers, containers, and other portable assets. It provides precise location data, condition data, security features, and operational insights for these assets. Its goal is to provide granular, asset-level location and condition information in order to ensure the effective handling and timely delivery of cargo, as well as the return of reusable assets such as pallets, containers, and equipment.
Using trailer tracking systems in tandem with your telematics systems offers several distinct advantages to your company. Particularly, they provide enhanced visibility into the location and status of trailers and assets, helping to prevent theft, unauthorized use, and ensuring timely deliveries. Due to the versatility of these systems, they also help create a connected logistics ecosystem by enabling seamless communication between trailers, vehicles, warehouses, and your existing management systems. It unlocks an abundance of data that you would not have otherwise been able to access, providing new opportunities for informed decision-making and continuous improvement, especially when combined with telematics and other existing operational data.
Trailer tracking excels in its ability to grow around your logistics operations, with a variety of tags, sensors, and infrastructure available depending on what kind of assets you’re tracking, how many assets you’re tracking, and where those assets are expected to go. As your company’s needs change, your trailer tracking system can change, too, continuing to provide the benefits that compelled you to invest in the first place. It’s not designed to suit just one need or use case: it is designed to provide a solution to every conceivable challenge you might face with your assets in your attempts to deliver cargo from point A to point B. It’s important for fleet managers to understand the unique strengths of this technology, so they can effectively optimize their business operations and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving marketplace.
The Benefits of Tracking Your Trailers
Using a trailer tracking system clearly provides benefits that your telematics systems are designed to provide. But since these two technologies are not competitors but rather coexisting systems, we should also assess the benefits of trailer tracking on their own and according to their own merit. Let’s take a look at some of the most compelling advantages provided by an effective trailer tracking system.
Complete Real-Time Visibility
Trailer tracking offers a real-time window into the whereabouts and status of both your trailers and the individual assets that they contain. Imagine knowing precisely where your trailers are at any given moment, which ones are loaded or empty, what specific cargo and equipment they contain, the condition of that cargo and equipment, and if the trailer is on schedule – it's a logistics manager's dream. By leveraging GPS and sensor data to provide up-to-the-minute information, trailer trackers make that dream a reality. Affixing tags to the trailer as well as the individual assets unlocks a breadth of location and condition data that guarantees your ability to know everything there is to know about your trailer’s journey. And since this data is received in real time, you can quickly respond to challenges as they arise rather than addressing problems after a customer has already been let down.
Enhanced Efficiency and Utilization
With the granular level of visibility that comes with trailer tracking systems, companies can optimize their fleet's efficiency and resource utilization. By tracking both trailers and cargo, fleet managers can ensure that cargo is loaded in such a way that the most on-time deliveries can be made with the least amount of active resources. It also helps managers stay apprised of which trailers are currently in use and which are available for deployment at any given time. This ensures that no trailer is simply sitting underutilized in the back of the lot while others are being overutilized to the point of premature retirement. When considering fleet expansion, trailer tracking data also provides insights into whether additional trailers are truly necessary to meet growing demand. This data-driven approach prevents over-expansion or underinvestment by highlighting whether current resources are simply not being utilized to their full potential or if the current cargo amounts are truly too much for current resources to handle.
Security is absolutely paramount in the transportation industry. Thieves have a lot to gain by stealing trailers and cargo; your logistics company, however, has a lot to lose. Trailer tracking adds a layer of protection by allowing you to monitor your trailers' movements and receive alerts when a trailer either moves when it shouldn’t or goes somewhere it wasn’t supposed to go. You can also bolster your trailer tracking system by placing an open/close sensor on the door, which can send alerts when the trailer is unexpectedly opened and entered. By outfitting pallets, containers, and individual assets with their own asset tags, you can also receive notification when smaller assets leave the vicinity of the trailer, perhaps indicating theft. In the event that any of these events occur, your trailer tracker enables you to swiftly react and recover your assets, minimizing losses and process disruptions.
Meeting Regulatory Compliance
Compliance with industry regulations is essential for logistics companies, especially those that operate within the cold chain and deliver perishable products such as foods and pharmaceuticals. These regulations are strictly enforced to ensure the proper handling of goods and the well-being of the end consumer. Not meeting compliance requirements or not having acceptable proof of compliance can result in hefty fines and lawsuits. It can even result in a company being shut down. Trailer tracking aids in regulatory compliance by providing accurate records on the pallet, container, or asset level so that you can prove that temperatures and other critical conditions remained within acceptable limits during transport. Also, the system can be set up to alert fleet managers when a particular product begins to move out of range, giving them time to respond and remedy the situation before the product must be disposed of.
Improved Maintenance Scheduling
Maintenance and repairs are a significant cost for fleet operators. Trailer tracking can help reduce these costs by enabling predictive maintenance and inspection scheduling based on usage and condition data. Trailers often get overlooked for maintenance and inspection because they are either constantly on the road or they are forgotten in the back of the lot. Incidentally, this issue tends to be directly related to poor resource utilization and management: if you don’t know when or how often your trailers are being used, you are not informed enough to create an effective preventative maintenance cycle. A trailer tracker can provide information on activity and idle time, allowing you to better calculate how long the trailer’s been in use, how far it’s traveled, where it’s traveled, and what all of those factors mean for its maintenance and inspection needs. It can also be used to keep accurate records of when your trailer last received maintenance.
Assured Customer Satisfaction
Many of the individual advantages of trailer tracking translate into improved customer satisfaction. If you have real-time visibility, you can keep your customer fully apprised of where their deliveries are at any given time and inform them if there’s any delays that you cannot evade, such as traffic or breakdowns. If you’re optimizing your efficiency and resource allocation, it’s more likely that your deliveries will arrive on time or even ahead of time. Further, consistent maintenance and inspections helps reduce the chance of breakdowns and the resulting delays in the first place, making it easier to make deliveries on time. If you’re prioritizing security and regulatory compliance, you can guarantee that the products you’re delivering will arrive undisturbed and in good condition. The timely deliveries, accurate ETAs, secure transportation, and overall transparency resulting from trailer tracking all contribute to happier clients and repeat business.
Reduced Environmental Impact
Trailer tracking contributes to the lessening of environmental impact and helps companies achieve their sustainability goals. By more effectively allocating your resources for deliveries, less trips have to be made. This results in reduced fuel consumption, lower emissions, and a smaller carbon footprint. Furthermore, when it comes to ensuring cold chain compliance, holding products at the proper temperature means that there is less food waste accumulating during transit. Being able to tag pallets and containers also means that companies can use the reusable iterations of these products, reducing the waste generated by one-time-use transportation packaging.
The Biggest Benefit of Trailer Tracking: Financial Savings
At the end of the day, all of these individual benefits of trailer tracking come together to create one larger benefit, and that benefit is immense financial savings. Many operators are wary about investing in a trailer tracking solution because of the money it costs to install and maintain these systems. What these operators often fail to consider, however, is how quickly those costs are made back and surpassed by the ROI that comes with actively using the system.
On the most basic level, companies can calculate the ROI of trailer tracking by considering factors like reduced fuel costs, improved asset utilization, and increased return customers. But ROI can also be found in other ways, embedded in the benefits that we’ve already explored. Trailer tracking helps improve efficiency and utilization, so you can spend less money to make more deliveries and generate greater profits. Trailer tracking helps improve security, so you don’t lose money from theft and needing to replace stolen goods and equipment. Trailer tracking helps you meet and prove regulatory compliance, so you don’t need to dispose of damaged products and you aren’t hit with fees. Trailer tracking improves maintenance scheduling, so costly breakdowns and frequent replacements are far less likely. Trailer tracking ensures customer satisfaction, so they are less likely to demand discounts and more likely to return as repeat customers. All of these benefits provide direct, monetary ROI even beyond just solving a problem you might be having. And by implementing a trailer tracking solution now, you can begin to gain those benefits at what amounts to virtually no cost to you.
Improve Your Company’s Operations with Link Labs
The adoption of trailer tracking isn't just about staying competitive; it's about thriving in the modern logistics landscape. It provides the tools needed to streamline operations, enhance security, and deliver the level of service that keeps customers coming back for more. Link Lab’s AirFinder Everywhere solution for trailer tracking can help you reap these advantages with complete visibility for the location and condition of your trailers and all your critical assets. To learn more about how our solution can benefit your company, book a demo with our experts today.