GPS trailer tracking, also called asset tracking, allows you to locate and track all of your trailers, no matter where they are.
The technology is straightforward. A battery- or solar-powered device is attached to the trailer, and that device sends out a GPS tracking signal. That signal is received through software, and indicates, on a map, the location of the trailer. Employing this technology allows fleet managers to know the locations of all trailers in their fleet at all times.
Since trailers and the cargo they contain are the lifeblood of any trucking company, the benefits of GPS trailer tracking cannot be overstated.
The nightmare of tracking trailers with no GPS
Not long ago, trailers had to be tracked by eye and counted by hand. For trailers that were on the road, fleet managers had to keep tabs on them through the use of radio or phone calls. It could take days to locate a trailer that was missing, and hopefully, it wasn’t lost. For trailers that were in the yard, they had to be manually accounted for.
All of these measures meant hours or days of lost time in utilizing assets. They also meant that trailers and loads that were lost or stolen might never be found, as there was no way to trace them except manually. Prior to the advent of today’s tools, cargo theft was rampant. Just in the year 2015, cargo theft amounted to a loss of nearly $28 million, with only $5 million recovered.
Security and recovering stolen assets
The advent of GPS trailer tracking has brought enormous advances to fleets’ ability to secure and recover assets.
To start with, with a good GPS fleet asset tracking system in place, a fleet manager can know where each trailer is at all times. Assets stop disappearing. Whether they’re out on the road or in the yard, they can be instantly located. This makes for much greater security.
Additionally, whenever audits are required to verify assets, GPS tracking will show that they do indeed exist, and exactly where they are. Previously, audits took extensive amounts of time as a person had to go out and physically locate all the assets.
If a trailer is for some reason stolen, GPS trailer tracking means that its location can be instantly relayed to law enforcement. This feature alone greatly reduces losses due to theft, saving millions for trucking companies.
Tracking trailers on the road
Aside from security, fleets can also see substantial savings of time and resources by being able to track trailers on the road.
A fleet manager can simply consult the software, and know right where a particular trailer is. The customer can be informed when their load should arrive. If the shipment is held up, the fleet manager knows it, can take it into account, and can take measures to deal with the delay if necessary.
Another benefit of being able to track trailers on the road is the reduction of detention time. Detention time can cost a driver or fleet $1,280 per year, per vehicle. With the right GPS trailer tracking, a fleet manager can pull on-demand detention time reports, and reduce the cost of unnecessary dwell time by optimizing the use of assets.
Increasing efficiency of operations
A big part of a fleet manager’s job is logistics and optimizing assets. For example, a trailer reaching location X can be then utilized right away for another load originating at location X, to ship elsewhere. In order for that to work, the fleet manager must know the exact location of that trailer in real-time. The fleet manager, using the latest technology, can also be informed when a trailer is unloaded, or loaded, and ready to go.
If, for some reason, a truck breaks down and its trailer must be picked up by another truck, the location of the trailer can be instantly relayed to the nearest free vehicle. The trailer can then be picked up by another truck and continue on its way with minimal delay.
Such efficiency far surpasses operations prior to the advent of GPS trailer tracking. It allows for strategic utilization of assets, and also of valuable driver time.
Geofencing your assets
A geofencing feature allows you to create a GPS boundary around any area important to your business. These areas can include your fleet’s yard, depots, customer sites, trailer storage areas, or other areas where you want to be alerted each time one of your trailers enters or leaves.
Knowing that a trailer has entered a particular area and is ready to be loaded or unloaded, a team can be dispatched to speedily assist with these tasks.
Geofencing is another aspect of GPS trailer tracking that greatly reduces the risk of theft. If a trailer is being unexpectedly moved, you’ll be notified instantly and can take action to prevent the theft from taking place or to rapidly recover the trailer if the theft does occur.
Improve customer service
Any company lives or dies by the service it delivers. Trucking, with steep competition among carriers, is certainly no exception. GPS trailer tracking allows you to know when a load is outbound, where it is at any time en route, and when it will be delivered.
Before the advent of GPS trailer tracking, if a fleet manager or dispatcher was asked for an estimated delivery time, they had to reach the driver by radio or phone to ask for their opinion. This information would be relayed back to the customer, and everyone hoped it was more or less accurate.
Today, GPS allows highly accurate estimations of deliveries and accurate progress reports of shipments.
GPS gives an accurate big-picture
Fleet management is not simply the management and tracking of single tractors and trailers. It is taking care of the entire fleet and utilizing all of its assets efficiently.
GPS trailer tracking is one feature of a fleet management solution that makes for accurate tracking of all assets within a fleet and allows you to constantly focus on the big picture.