Gain Full Trailer Visibility with Smart Cargo Sensors

How to eliminate trailer misses

By Carolina Ruiz • Published October 17, 2022 • 5 minute read

High trailer utilization is one of the defining traits of successful fleet operations. Those who instantly locate available trailers enjoy higher productivity and driver satisfaction. Alternatively, those who underutilize trailers routinely leave money on the table and create driver frustrations.

A growing number of fleets today are maximizing trailer utilization by deploying smart cargo sensors and next-generation trailer tracking solutions. With a new AI-powered camera system, fleets are getting timely and accurate insights from technology that intelligently scans the full- length inside their trailers when arriving and departing from geofenced locations.

The camera system automatically detects cargo of any size, including pallets and dunnage, that are not visible to traditional ultrasonic cargo sensors that report binary empty/loaded status.

Below is a common scenario for how top-performing fleets have improved operational efficiencies using a next-generation trailer telematics platform and AI-powered camera from SkyBitz.

Eliminating Trailer ‘Misses’

Load planners, fleet managers and dispatchers routinely search for trailers to fulfill customer orders. SkyBitz makes the process fast and error free. Fleets that use the fully integrated SkyCamera smart cargo sensor have an easy, two-step workflow to locate available assets:

  1. Instant trailer search. Users find assets with the SkyBitz InSight web portal or by using their native transportation management system (TMS). To keep trailers healthy and in rotation, fleets can sort trailer search results by ‘Dormancy’ to see assets that have been sitting the longest.
  2. Identify trailer status. SkyCamera gives fleet operators clear images from inside trailers with search results to dispatch drivers with certainty. Fleets eliminate wasted miles, fuel and driver frustration by not sending drivers to trailers that are unavailable for use.

After searching for trailers in the SkyBitz Insight portal or a native TMS, a dispatcher may encounter “Nearly Empty” scenarios:

  • The SkyCamera image may show a small pallet of cargo in the nose of the trailer. Since the dispatcher can’t use this trailer, he could email the information to the customer to get the cargo unloaded.
  • Moving to the next trailer in the search results, a dispatcher may see another “Nearly Empty” status. This time the SkyCamera image might show a ladder inside. The dispatcher could assign the trailer to a driver with a note to unload the ladder before leaving the yard.

Dispatchers and fleet personnel who manage trailers appreciate how SkyCamera eliminates false positives and false negatives for trailer loaded/unloaded status.

The ability to view inside a trailer makes it possible to verify the true load status. A dispatcher may see that it only has an empty pallet in it. With this information, a dispatcher can arrange for the pallet to be removed and mark the trailer as empty and ready to assign to a driver for pickup.

How to Reduce Driver Frustration

The digitized process of finding an available trailer, as described above, extends to drivers through the SkyMobile app.

  1. When searching for an assigned trailer number from dispatch, drivers can use the “Find My Trailer” feature in the SkyMobile app. The app shows the exact location of the trailer on the property. It can also show a note from dispatch, such as “remove the pallet before leaving.”
  2. When drivers arrive to pick up assigned trailers, SkyMobile navigates them directly to the correct assets, eliminating time and fuel waste.

Greater Insights Leads to Smarter Decision-Making

Newfound insights made possible with next-generation trailer telematics improve real-time decision making for fleets. As an example, fleets can manage exceptions such as trailer utilization at a particular customer location falling below normal based on idle time and productivity metrics captured by the SkyBitz solution.

Fleets can also look at key metrics for the overall trailer fleet, such as how productive their assets are in terms of hours moving per day during a specific week or month. Those metrics can also be applied to each customer to evaluate productivity and profitability. Accounts with higher utilization – customers who are most helpful in keeping assets moving – are those you want to build long-term relationships with.

Additionally, the insights gained from advancements in trailer tracking include finding the most productive and efficient routes for drivers based on data that shows when and where they are taking breaks or running into traffic congestion.

Analyzing data from trailers pulling the same loads, week over week, will uncover insights for the best time of day to make a run or the most efficient place to stop and take a break. Drivers will appreciate information that helps them plan safer, more productive runs.

Connect with SkyBitz

If you’re a fleet manager looking to make a positive impact on your drivers’ work experience and the bottom line, then smart cargo sensors and precision trailer tracking technology is for you.

Unsure where to start? That’s where we come in. Let’s connect! We’re always ready to discuss how you can keep your assets and drivers moving and where they belong — on the road generating revenue.