As technology applications grow in the industry, trucking companies are reaping new benefits related to the asset management data they can capture. While the driver and the cab have long been the focus of asset management, fleet operators are starting to realize the value of more detailed tracking options regarding trailers and their cargo. Internet-connected devices and sensors can now provide much more asset management-related information regarding trailers than just location tracking.
Better asset utilization of trailers, combined with the current tracking capabilities of drivers and cabs, give fleet managers the holistic approach they want. Chris Wolf, CEO of asset-tracking company PowerFleet summed it up this way-“It’s not just about the tractor, it’s about the driver, it’s about the freight, it’s about the total visibility…it’s the people out in the yards, on the dock. All those people can get value out of this overall solution.”
Trailer Sensors Provide More Data Than Just Location
Forget the early systems of two decades ago that only used a simple GPS tracker to display a location dot on a map. Today’s sensors are much more sophisticated and provide much more information. We are referring to multiple sensors, about the size of a deck of cards, installed on and inside the trailer (or even on pallets!). The sensors communicating wirelessly by Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to a hub (mounted in the trailer) which transmits the information via cellular service or satellite to the main office.
Freight cameras can determine if a trailer is cubed out and help determine load reconfigurations that might result in fewer trailers being needed. Overall, optical imagining and algorithms can detect the status of a load. Laser measurement technology allows for 99% accuracy in determining cargo conditions. There are sensors for dry van shipping as well as refrigerated units and tankers.
These cargo sensors can track such things as temperature, humidity, and shock that may cause product tipping or damage during transport. Cargo conditions related to food, high-value freight, or hazardous freight can be monitored and tracked.
Sensors Also Track Maintenance-Related Issues
In addition to monitoring cargo status, asset management sensors track maintenance-related issues of trailers such as low tire pressure, anti-lock brakes, or tail lights. Overall, it is data that can be gathered on the entire fleet for analysis by trucking companies to ensure they are using their entire asset pool evenly and consistently. And, the sensors make it easy for maintenance employees to find trailers in company yards. The office dashboard instantly shows where the trailer needing serviced is parked.
At DriverSource, we embrace the telematics systems that are helping trucking companies improve their asset management capabilities. As more vendors offer trailer and cargo tracking systems, costs will drop and more customized options will become available to both large logistics companies as well as smaller fleet operators.
Bill D for DriverSource