If you are the manager of a fleet and have gone to the trouble and the expense of buying a trailer tracking system for your company, I suppose you would quickly answer yes. All trailers were accounted for on the last report with their position 3 hours ago. This information came to you on the allotted once a day or twice a day scheduled report you are allowed with your communication package. But as we all know or should know, a lot can happen in in 3 hours. In that 3 hours a trailer could by as much as 100 miles away from their last reported position or even worse, they could be attached to someone else’s tractor being pulled into a warehouse where the cargo contents was off-loaded by thieves.
I am a 34 year veteran of the trucking business and I see how the positive transitions in technology has greatly improved the tools available to the fleets to monitor their drivers, protect their cargo and enhance their customer services to their clients. Therefore, I am amazed when I talk to prospects about trailer tracking and how they only want to discuss minimal or bare bones tracking when with just a little more investment they can regularly receive real-time information and sensory capabilities about their cargo, trailer capacity and trailer maintenance that will drastically improve the return on their investment in trailer tracking.
The players in the for hire trucking business are conservative by nature as it is so tough to eke out profits due to new government regulations, expensive equipment, escalating real estate prices and spiraling labor costs so it is understandable why they view investing in a non-mandated asset management technology as a bit risky. However the rewards are plentiful as the fleet can gain tremendous insight into protecting their equipment investment and gaining value added information that can assist in a higher degree of customer services.
Trailer Tracking that provides a fleet sensory capability that includes installation of a temperature sensor and a reefer fuel sensor that will allow a fleet manager to lower his claims exposure by saving a temperature controlled load when the reefer unit malfunctions or when the reefer unit runs out of fuel. Cargo theft can be minimized with the addition of a door sensor as it will detect unauthorized trailer door openings that can be investigated to help expose a truck driver with criminal intentions. Trailer turns can be improved when a cargo sensor is in place that will notify you when your trailer is loaded or unloaded. All this real-time information can even be sent in the form of alerts to an email account or a smart phone. This technology will allow a manager to be aware of critical information and react to it even when away from the office. The technology behind these sensors even allows this critical information to flow wirelessly from the trailer to the fleet. You do not need to rely on a driver to make you aware of this beneficial and game changing information.
Technology will continue to improve and untethered sensory capability will continue to increase. There will soon be wireless sensors that report issues with the tire inflation to prevent dispatch from sending a driver to pick up a dropped trailer with a flat tire or having a driver run on a damaged tire. There will be sensors to detect lighting malfunctions to help prevent CSA violations.
The fleet manager of today should embrace the available technology and prorate the cost of it over the life of the asset it is improving in order to enhance his overall service offering and assure his future success.