“We’ve got trailer management down to a science.” said Kevin Slaughter, Vice President of Operations at Brown Trucking.
Brown has been using satellite trailer tracking systems since 2001. Most devices began failing within three years and the trend continued with iterative versions through 2017. On any given day, 20% of its trailer fleet was unaccounted for and made billing customers and locating missing or underutilized trailers an inaccurate and time-consuming process.
“We can’t go without tracking trailers,” said Michael Silverwood, President of Brown Trucking.
A commitment to utilize technology in ways that optimize efficiencies drives the partnership between Brown Integrated Logistics and SkyBitz.
Having reliable trailer visibility has been vital during the last two years of the Covid pandemic. Freight demand has been at record levels and fleet growth constrained by manufacturing backlogs on new trailer orders.
Knowing trailer locations and other status details is therefore “critical to make sure we are as efficient as possible and getting maximum utilization,” he said.
Brown first partnered with SkyBitz in 2008 and then renewed its partnership in 2017, at which point it chose SkyBitz to be its strategic, and exclusive, trailer telematics provider.
Brown made the decision after assessing the latest solar-powered devices in the market. Management found SkyBitz technology to be far more resilient than competing products for trailer lifecycle.
Outfitting the entire fleet with SkyBitz technology took between 18 and 24 months. Starting in September 2020, Brown started to replace any remaining 3G devices in the fleet with 4G LTE-enabled technology from SkyBitz. Management completed the project long before the cutoff date for 3G service arrives in February, 2022
About 600 of Brown’s newest trailers have a solar-powered SkyBitz GXT5002C device with integrated ultrasonic cargo sensor.
Going forward, Brown will use the latest solar-powered GPS trailer tracking platform, SkyBitz Kinnect, with an integrated cargo sensor and unmatched wired and wireless sensor expansion capabilities.
Vice President of Operations
“We’ve got trailer management down to a science.”
Brown has real-time GPS tracking and trailer status data from SkyBitz integrated with its transportation management system (TMS). The integration includes data from customer-owned trailers and rentals with SkyBitz devices.
Brown simplifies trailer fleet management with between 40,000 and 50,000 geofenced locations in its TMS and SkyBitz InSight web portal. Geofencing enables Asset Manager Chuck Reyome to use location-based exception reports to make fast, intelligent decisions.
A custom dashboard with data visualizations identifies trailer counts at customer locations that are over or under contracted amounts. The same report is useful for billing customers for trailer usage each month.
Rather than spend time locating trailers, the reliable SkyBitz technology enables Brown to operate its trucking company like a trailer rental fleet. By having visibility of inventory and utilization at each location, management can meet customer commitments and proactively move trailers to locations where they are needed to maximize efficiency and productivity.
“We’ve got trailer management down to a science,” said Kevin Slaughter, Vice President of Operations.
Brown Integrated Logistics (Brown) is the Southeast’s leading provider of same-day regional truckload service. The Lithonia, Ga.-based company has a fleet of more than 700 power units and 3,500 trailers with short-haul operations that include complimentary warehousing, brokerage, and fleet maintenance services.