Trailer Tracking: Everything You Need to Know
Motor carriers are often unsure about the exact location, health and readiness of their trailers. It can all add up to lost revenue, lost opportunities and frustrated drivers who may go looking for work elsewhere.
The solution is trailer tracking.
Trailer tracking ensures that you always know where your trailers are. And compatible advanced trailer telematics technology takes it even further by providing insights into trailer health and readiness.
In this guide. we’ll cover everything you need to know about trailer tracking, smart trailer technology, and things to consider when choosing a trailer tracking solution.
What is a Trailer Tracker?
A trailer tracker – also known as an asset tracker – is a GPS device that is attached to a trailer. Trailer trackers are typically battery or solar powered. They send (or “report”) the trailer’s location to the cloud via cellular connection. On the other end, a back-office user can view the location of the trailer on a digital dashboard. Depending on the product, trailer trackers can report in real-time or at regular intervals of minutes or hours.
What is Smart Trailer Technololgy?
Smart trailer technology extends the benefits of traditional trailer tracking by adding a variety of sensors to provide data on the health and readiness of a trailer, including:
- Whether there is an ABS issue
- Tire pressure and temperature
- How often the ATIS is running
- Whether a trailer is loaded
- The status of the trailer door
- Temperature of a reefer van
These insights allow you to monitor fleet safety, increase utilization and make smart decisions to increase profitability and improve driver satisfaction.
Benefits of Trailer Tracking for Carriers
The core benefit of trailer tracking is knowing the location of your trailers at any given moment. However, when paired with smart trailer sensors, trailer tracking technology becomes exponentially more powerful.
Smart trailer tracking can help you:
Before a trailer can generate revenue, you need to answer the questions: Where is it? Is it safe? Is it ready? Smart trailer technology puts that crucial information at your fingertips, helping to ensure that your trailer assets are making money for your business, rather than sitting unused.
Time lost to detention costs the U.S. trucking industry more than $3 billion a year, according to a Federal Motor Carrier Association study. Smart trailer technology enables carriers to more accurately track and bill for detention time.
Improved trailer utilization may reveal that you’re able to do more with fewer trailers, providing the opportunity to streamline your fleet. Likewise, smart trailer technology can provide insights on how to best allocate your trailer fleet to meet business demands and extend the life of your trailers.
Cargo theft amounts to $35 billion in losses each year, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Trailer tracking and geofencing coupled with door and cargo sensors can alert fleet managers to a trailer door being opened when it shouldn’t be. GPS tracking can also aid in the recovery of lost or stolen trailers.
Improve Safety and Compliance
Brakes: Monitor the health of your brakes and ABS lamp function, and identify potential problems before they happen.
Tires: Get real time insights into tire pressure and temperature, and the operation of automatic inflation systems.
Lights: Know if you have a light out before your driver gets on the road.
Temperature: Monitor the temperature of refrigerated trailers to ensure you’re meeting FSMA guidelines.
Improve Driver Satisfaction
Too often, drivers are dispatched to a trailer that isn’t where it’s supposed to be. The result for the driver: wasted on-duty time, lost income and a lot of frustration. Smart trailer tracking eliminates this problem, giving you the exact location of all your equipped trailers.
Even if you know where your trailer is, if it’s not roadworthy your driver isn’t going to be happy. Smart trailer sensors communicate information about tires, brakes and lights – even when the trailer isn’t connected to a tractor – so you’ll never send a driver to a broken trailer.
A cargo sensor can help you ensure that a trailer is ready to roll. As Jim Epler of EROAD partner Phillips Connect explains: “You can’t imagine how many times drivers go to pick up a trailer and it’s got dunnage in it, or it’s loaded, and it’s supposed to be empty.”
How to Choose a Trailer Tracker
As previously discussed, smart trailer technology has many benefits to offer beyond location data alone, so it’s important to select a product that can both fulfill your immediate needs and expand as your needs change and grow. EROAD’s StealthNet product, for instance, offers affordable, industry-leading trailer tracking along with a host of Bluetooth sensors that can be added later to monitor everything from tire pressure to reefer temperature.
Other things to keep in mind when selecting a trailer tracker include:
- Ease of install
- Reporting reliability
- Reporting frequency
Download the free guide: 5 Questions to ask when choosing a trailer tracking solution
Trailer Tracking Solutions from EROAD
EROAD has partnered with industry leader Phillips Connect to offer a full range of smart trailer and asset tracker devices that provide motor carriers with powerful insights into the location and health of their trailers and other assets.