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Trailers: Tracking the Forgotten Asset

March 2018, Work Truck - Feature

by Ryan Driscoll

Photo: Jim Park
Photo: Jim Park

Companies are using telematics for much more than track and trace on their trucks these days; they are maximizing productivity and efficiency by tracking their full fleet. If you’re only monitoring the activities of your trucks, you aren't monitoring the other vital half of your operations. Tracking isn’t just for trucks anymore — you now can effectively track your trailers.

It makes good operational and economic sense to keep tabs on your trailers, since they are integral to your operations. Unfortunately, for many fleets, trailers are forgotten assets.

But they shouldn’t be. Advances in telematics technology means fleets can install the same level of tracking technology that is available in their trucks. This allows fleet managers to know exactly where a trailer is in the yard or on the road.

More than Just Location Tracking

As any fleet manager who oversees a trucking fleet knows, there’s more to managing a trailer than where it is.

Fleet managers need to know its work status — has it dropped off or picked up a load, how many stops has it made in a given day? They need to know its operational health — are there any maintenance issues that need to be addressed? They need to know how productive it is — how many hours has the trailer been used in a given week, month, year?

Telematics can answer all of those questions at a touch of a button and according to the precise needs of the fleet.

Telematics technology can do even more — particularly for fleets that need additional security or the ability to monitor the temperature of its reefer trailers. With telematics tracking, fleet managers can monitor if their trailers are properly secured, protecting valuable cargo or equipment from thieves, and, in the case of reefer trailers, that the temperature is correct for the perishable items being transported. Any change in status results in an alert, giving the driver and fleet personnel the opportunity to correct the change in status and make adjustments or alert authorities — in the case of a theft — immediately.

Why do I Need Telematics for My Trailer?

As an asset in and of itself, fleets need their trailers to be productive — that means knowing where it is, if it’s being used, and if it’s in tip-top operational condition. Trailers are also the means by which a truck fleet generates revenue. Not having this important revenue-generating tool running at optimal efficiency will mean the fleet is not being a means to feed the company’s bottom line.

If you’re not sure that trailer tracking would be a good fit for your fleet, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your fleet operation frequently “lose” trailers?
  • Is it difficult to find the right trailer for the job?
  • Are you not sure which trailer is which when it’s in the yard?
  • Do you frequently wish to know where your specific trailers are in the yard?
  • Do you have trouble tracking your trailers’ maintenance?
  • Are you not really sure how often your trailers are being used?
  • Can you quickly verify drops and pickups or determine any stops?
  • Do you need to know the temperature in your reefer trailers?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should consider adding telematics to your fleet’s trailers immediately.

If you already have telematics installed in your trucks, you know the value it can bring to your fleet operations in terms of routing, uptime, and overall efficiency. Using trailer tracking allows you to solve these same challenges for the other half of your operations for complete fleet intelligence.

Scaling for the Future

No matter your level of experience with telematics, it’s likely you’ve seen operational and revenue benefits from installing a telematics solution on your trucks.

If you’re more experienced with telematics, you’ll know how important it is that you find a solution that can be configured to your needs and, more important, is scalable and can grow along with the size and the changing operational realities of your fleet.

GPS Insight offers fleets a consultative approach to defining the needs of your trailer tracking, including a range of tailored features that fit the specific needs of your fleet.  And, as always, GPS Insight offers 24/7/365 customer service, helping fleets solve any trailer tracking issues that come up any time of the day.

With the availability of cost-effective trailer tracking solutions, there is little reason why trailers should remain the forgotten asset, and, instead, be top-of-mind as your fleet fulfills its daily mission to serve its customers.

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