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Trailer GPS Tracker Device Explained
Each year 750+ trailers get stolen which costs the trucking industry $20,000,000 in losses. Also, thousands each year pick up the wrong trailer by mistake and don’t know how to return it. Technology is constantly changing this to make it easier, quicker, more accurate, less taxing, and safer. The trailer tracker is one such technology that is now an essential device to monitor and protect a trailer and heavy equipment.
What is a Trailer Tracker/Asset Tracker
A Trailer is where the load is contained. These are the things that a truck driver transports from one place to another and many times leaves trailers behind. A trailer tracker gives GPS Tracking for that specific trailer.
Some of the major types of trailers are: Flatbed, Specialty, Dry Vans or Enclosed Trailers, Refrigerated Trailers, Stretch Single Drop Deck, Side-kit Trailers, Power-Only Trailers, etc. A trailer typically costs between $11,000 and $35,000. Out of the total 15.5 million trucks on the road, 2.5 million are tractor-trailers.
Incidences when trailers are untraceable or missing and end up unaccounted for is not uncommon as mentioned in the introduction. Such incidences significantly affect the trucking company’s bottom line and makes it impossible to increase capacity without acquiring more trailers. A significant amount of trucking companies still using primitive way of using whiteboards to track their trailers. This is highly inefficient and leaves a lot of room for inaccuracies and errors. Alternative method is to use GPS for stolen track trailers. Although this can help to locate specific trailers, it is not an ideal method of tracking.
What is a trailer tracker?
A trailer tracker tracks the position of the vehicle’s trailer by using a tracking device fitted to the trailer. This data captured by the device is transferred to a centralized collection point using a communication network or satellite network. A trailer tracking system uses four components to operate:
- Tracking Device
- Communication Network
- Back-end Server and Database
- User Interface Software
With the industry as competitive as it is, the trailer tracker’s fundamental appeal to drivers and owners of the fleet is that it’s going to make life easier. Ensuring consistent loads to move is a continued effort from the owners/drivers. Fleet managers cannot afford to lose contact with the trailers, having a GPS trailer tracking device gives the fleet an edge over their competitors. Trailer tracking solutions reduce costs and improves the capacity and management of trailers. Trailer tracking solutions allows fleet managers to optimize utilization, reduce fuel costs, improve preventative maintenance, etc.
When a trucker thinks of asset tracking as it applies to truck trailers, the first thing that comes to mind is loss prevention. An add-on of a GPS tracker and a system that monitors the trailers could alert the fleet managers if the trailers are outside a specified geofence. An increased visibility of the expensive assets makes a great investment in the business.
A trailer tracker involves a GPS transponder (physically mounted on to the trailer) and a wireless sensor in the Internet of Things (IoT). It helps the tracker provide data to be fed into a fleet management system. IoT enabled GPS trailer tracking helps increase accountability. It provides real-time alerts whenever someone enters or leaves the trailer. The technology has more arena to be utilized once Big Data is factored in. It can make managing assets much easier.
The tracking systems existing today can attach maintenance data and records to a trailer and allow the fleet to understand their status to make consistent maintenance and inspection plans. It provides good visibility and utilization of the trailers and can help fleet managers make informed equipment purchasing decisions.
For the drivers that sometimes find themselves puttering around a yard trying to locate a trailer among hundreds of others, a trailer tracker is of a great aid. The data from the tracker system when fed in fleet management system helps in streamlining the entire process by giving the driver an indication of trailer location.
How can a GPS Tracking Device for trailers help truckers?
- Reduce Downtime and Increase Revenue: Every incident of downtime potentially threatens to delay the delivery and cause profit losses. Trailer GPS trackers reduce the downtime by improving communication between the fleet manager, employees, and the customers. Being aware of the location and employee performance helps in directing the drivers and facilitating schedule changes. In some situations, it will also aid the fleet manager to act quickly if they notice suspicious behavior.
- Exact Location Information: An asset tracker helps a fleet manager exactly know where the trailer is, eliminating the need to maintain an excel sheet for it.
- Peace of Mind: For situations like when someone takes your trailer by mistake, or someone tries to steal a trailer, the trailer tracker keeps peace of mind for owner and truck drivers since the location can always be found.
- Reduce Fuel Costs and Cycle Times: By comparing invoices with refuel events and analyzing fuel usage by customers, location data, and order numbers a fleet manager can reduce fuel costs.
- Enhanced Brand Reputation: Just like any other industry, the most successful trucking companies provide consistent, efficient, and high-quality services. With an efficient tracker system, a fleet can boast of having all the resources to maintain its reputation and brand.
- Better Utilization of Assets: The tracker system reduces turn times and also reduces the number of idle assets. An ideal system would integrate cargo sensors to receive notifications that help streamline trailer load and unload cycles.
The Best trailer GPS tracker should have the following:
- Uses GPS and other positioning systems (GLONASS, for example), to simultaneously provide enhanced accuracy.
- Drivers spend long hours on the road. The trailer tracker should be powered by off-the-shelf batteries with long battery life, while also featuring built-in battery. This battery should be powered or easy to recharge.
- The trailer trackers can offer periodic or movement-based updates. The fleet manager should have an option to receive the location updates throughout the day in regular intervals, or only when movement occurs using smart adaptive tracking technology.
- Capture the hours run by the vehicle based on the movement to aid in asset optimization.
- Provides alerts to the fleet managers during certain events such as speeding, low battery, or geofence alerts.
- Provides a recovery mode – in case of theft. It also improves the chances of recovering a stolen load or asset with the GPS location data.
- Geofence – The system should help fleet managers create custom geofences. The enhanced location-based behavior should provide alerts whenever a trailer enters or leaves a specific location. The system can also provide alerts when trailer doors open outside set parameters.
- Rugged and weatherproof – A vehicle, on its haul, passes through varied climate and geographic conditions. Additionally, the device should be able to withstand dust, high-pressure sprays, and extreme temperatures.
- Should be easy to install – there should be multiple installation options for securing the device to trailers.
A trailer tracker is an essential investment especially for fleets with a large number of trailers. Not only does it provide location of the trailer, but with advancement in technology, it also provides other features that make your fleet more efficient and dependent.