Top 3 Things Fleets Want from GPS Trailer Tracking—And Why

3 Things Fleets Want

By Carolina Ruiz • Published February 10, 2023 • 5 minute read

New research shows how fleets plan to address present and future challenges with modern solutions

Fleet executives begin planning their investments in trailer telematics years before they replace their current solutions, according to a study by Hanover Research completed in March 2022.

The reason? Fleets are seeing how the technology has been transformed from simple tracking devices to fully connected IoT systems with smart sensors and powerful data analytics. This swift evolution has created new opportunities to achieve a fast payback.

Reducing idle times and improving trailer turns are the fastest path to a return on investment (ROI) from trailer telematics. Besides locating underutilized trailers, fleets have new options to better manage their assets to improve fleet maintenance, cargo security, driver productivity, and customer service, among other areas of concern.

Persistent Challenges Impacting Fleets

Expanded visibility to trailer assets now includes monitoring tire pressures and having crystal-clear images of cargo and metrics showing the cube volume and floor space that is available. Fleets can also monitor temperatures, doors, and be alerted to electrical or mechanical issues that impact trailer utilization, asset and cargo security, or driver safety.

The Hanover study found that cargo security is a top concern (83%) for fleets at present. Many have experienced losses from cargo theft, which increased 73% in the first quarter of 2022 to $19 million in the U.S. and Canada, compared to the same period in 2021, according to CargoNet.

Top 3 Desired Characteristics of Telematics Solutions

A one-size-fits-all approach for IoT solutions doesn’t work for trailers. The reasons fleets have for using the technology are as different as the data capabilities these systems can provide. With that said, the best place to start looking for a trailer telematics update – or a new platform – is for systems that can meet your top priorities.

Importantly, any technology you choose should be able to support your operation today and for the future. The Hanover study found common characteristics that fleet managers want from telematics solutions are:

  • Enhanced security: A fleet cannot afford visibility gaps, especially those that present security risks. Visibility of trailer locations is essential for asset utilization and reducing unauthorized use and protecting against cargo theft. The Hanover study found that nearly half of companies (45%) purchase telematics solutions to improve trailer/cargo security and 17% cite it as the most important reason for choosing a solution. Tracking trailer movements in real-time, when necessary, makes it possible to thwart cargo theft and immediately correct mistakes such as a driver hooking up to the wrong asset. Visibility also helps drivers immediately find a specific asset at a customer facility or drop yard.
  • Greater reliability: Trailer telematics devices are exposed to all types of weather and harsh conditions when in motion and at rest. The last thing fleets should worry about is non-functioning devices creating more work for scheduling trailers for maintenance. Understandably, reliability ranks as the second most important factor when choosing a telematics solution, per the Hanover study. Whether fleets choose a hardwired solution or a solar battery-powered option, the most reliable solutions are not the lowest price but offer the lowest cost of ownership.
  • Better oversight: Event-driven intelligence from telematics solutions, such as detecting if trailer doors are open or if freight is removed from the trailer before it reaches the destination, can eliminate costly surprises. With real-time alerts and insights, fleet managers can proactively communicate with customers, drivers and other parties when unexpected events occur to resolve issues before they reach problem status. Better oversight can also lead to better preventive maintenance. Rather than wait for something to break or discover a problem during a manual inspection, fleet managers can be alerted to low tire pressures, low brake pads, non-working marker lights and other issues they can schedule for repairs during the normal course of business.

Many recurring asset management challenges for fleets can now be solved by choosing the right telematics solution. New advancements in trailer IoT technologies do much more than basic GPS tracking by providing data insights to enable smarter, more secure, and more reliable operations.

For a more detailed review of how fleets can properly evaluate technology to find the best-fit asset management solution for present and future needs, download a free copy of “The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Trailer Telematics.”