How to use Telematics Data with Shippers to Improve Capacity Issues

Trailer Capacity

By Carolina Ruiz • Published July 20, 2021 • 4 minute read

Experienced fleet managers have never seen capacity so tight. The freight market is bursting at the seams due to an unprecedented amalgam of demand, a severe driver shortage and order backlogs on new tractors and trailers.

Motor carriers are scrambling to get more from their limited supply of equipment and drivers. Now, more than ever, fleets are looking for insights that will help unlock capacity for their high-value customers.

The latest developments in trailer tracking systems provide greater visibility of assets to quickly identify areas of inefficiency, particularly at shipping and receiving locations, to unlock hidden capacity as well as reduce costs and increase customer service levels.

Trailer tracking systems, at the most basic level, help fleets prevent instances where they effectively lose capacity from not having visibility to trailer locations. With the technology, fleets have a virtual inventory of trailer assets, by location, to efficiently dispatch drivers to the closest available units and can be immediately alerted if an asset is moved without authorization.

The systems also provide detailed and accurate records of trailer utilization by location. With this information, fleets can show their customers what they control to increase capacity. Specifically, carriers could provide the exact times that assets are waiting at shipping and receiving locations to be loaded or unloaded, starting from the moment trailers arrive on site and when doors are opened and closed.

Putting visibility to work

To put these ideas into action, SkyBitz trailer tracking solutions come with a web application, InSight. A customizable user dashboard helps fleet managers, and their customers, quickly identify trailers, by location, that are not hitting utilization targets.

Reports can be created by location, asset type, or other variables and shared with customers to identify problems and work on mutually beneficial solutions. On a more real-time basis, fleets can use tools to report exceptions, such as when trailers have been idle for more than three days and give customers a heat map of idle time by location to prompt corrective action.

Data visualization and satellite imagery tools from InSight can also help fleets show customers actions they can take to improve freight and equipment flows.
New enhancements can pinpoint when status of trailers change from loaded to unloaded, and vice versa, to facilitate a deeper level of cooperation with customers to meet freight demands.

SkyBitz has a volumetric cargo sensor, SkyCamera, that uses high-resolution cameras and artificial intelligence (AI) to scan images of the full length of the floor. With the scanning, SkyCamera intelligently reports empty or loaded status of a trailer in terms of cube and fullness.

Without using an intelligent cargo sensor, fleets rely on customers, drivers and people at remote sites to report if trailers are loaded or unloaded. SkyCamera provides the status of trailers with certainty for fleets to dispatch drivers more efficiently.

SkyCamera also captures high-resolution images at door opening and closing events to identify events that have occurred during transit such as freight shifting due to improper load securement.

All of the data from SkyCamera and key metrics from InSight can be integrated directly with transportation management software (TMS) systems that fleets use to organize and automate their workflow. When trailer assignments are made in a TMS, for example, the reporting of “turn time” and other KPIs is updated automatically to manage trailer pools at customer locations.

With the latest enhancements in trailer tracking, fleets and their customers can use greater visibility of trailer status to uncover hidden capacity and improve asset utilization and driver productivity.