Welcome! Guest

Trailer Enhancements That Are Changing the Game for Fleet Operations

09/28/2023 23:51

The transportation industry is constantly evolving, and fleet operations are no exception. In today's fast-paced world, fleet managers must find ways to optimize their operations and increase efficiency in order to stay competitive. Trailer enhancements have emerged as game changers in the world of fleet operations, providing managers with new tools to streamline their processes and improve overall performance.

From advanced tracking systems to innovative safety features, trailer enhancements are transforming the way fleets operate. These technological advancements are helping companies reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and enhance driver safety.

With so many options available, it can be overwhelming for fleet managers to determine which enhancements are right for their operation.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the most impactful trailer enhancements on the market today, highlighting the benefits they provide and how they are changing the game for fleet operations.

Whether you are a seasoned fleet manager or new to the industry, this post will provide valuable insights into the world of trailer enhancements.

Why Carriers are Embracing Analytics to Stay Ahead in the Industry

As the development of trailer telematics and sensor technology progresses, providers are now offering much more than just basic track-and-trace applications.

With the integration of multiple streams of information, advanced data analysis, and artificial intelligence, fleets can now gain valuable insights that can significantly improve their productivity, safety, driver support, and profitability.

This innovative technology has the potential to transform the logistics industry, making it more efficient and effective for businesses and consumers alike.

The transportation industry is experiencing a significant shift as carriers transition from merely collecting data to analyzing it. Nada Jiddou, the Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of a Tech company, recognizes that this marks an inflection point in the industry. The conversation is no longer focused on how carriers can obtain data, but instead on how data can benefit their operations.

Fleet Challenges

Each fleet faces its own unique set of challenges that they hope to address through the use of data. For example, some fleets may look to reduce unscheduled downtime by leveraging early part failure alerts, while others may aim to increase revenue by charging for trailers that are detained for too long at a shipper.

One company, led by CEO Rob Phillips, continuously adds new software features, sensors, and camera technologies to its portfolio to provide innovative solutions that solve its customers' challenges. While this is still relatively new territory, the industry is expanding rapidly, and there are many opportunities for carriers to leverage data to their advantage.

According to Paul Bischof, the director of product management at an industry expert company, data plays a crucial role in both business and operational aspects. In terms of business, data encompasses utilization information, workflows that require location data, and state reporting for billing and revenue generation.

The operational side of data includes advanced sensors for cargo monitoring, component health for preventative maintenance, and tracking driver assignments with trailers.

Bischof analogizes the impact of technology on the trailer market to a flashlight's ability to illuminate a dark room and enable successful navigation with minimal risk. With technology's intervention, the traditionally opaque and mechanical equipment of trailers is now creating tremendous value.

Better Efficiency

Trailer technology has advanced significantly in recent years, with improvements in speed, cost, and functionality driving its adoption across the industry.

According to Christopher Plaat, Senior Vice President and General Manager of this industry expert, this is leading to an increase in the amount of data being collected and shared among providers and fleets. This sharing of information provides valuable insights for all parties involved in the supply chain.

Orbcomm, for example, has made it easier for customers to integrate multiple wireless sensors, such as those for cargo, fuel, temperature, and brakes, to gather more comprehensive data. By aggregating data from multiple sources, providers are able to gain deeper insights that can inform decisions and drive greater efficiency.

One company actually has introduced its cutting-edge Fus1on connectivity platform, which offers a reliable and efficient way to aggregate data and collect valuable information from multiple sources.

This platform isn't limited to just smart devices; it can collect data from any system, whether it be a shop, factory, or another system. With the ability to integrate maintenance records, maintenance systems, and parts management, this platform can take any data that can be transmitted.

Essentially, it provides carriers with a single platform to manage their entire business holistically, with complete visibility of their operational status.

In response to the growing demand for data-driven decision-making, another company has developed an integrated cargo camera technology that provides real-time images of the cargo inside the trailer.

With the help of AI functionality, this technology can identify load status, assess trailer capacity, and report any damages to the load or assets, providing fleets with greater visibility of their assets and cargo.

AI Analytics-based Platforms

The advent of AI analytics-based platforms has brought about a significant transformation in the fleet management sector. These platforms have enabled fleets to accurately predict future performance, identify trends, and preemptively tackle problems before they occur. BlackBerry Radar, in particular, has introduced novel procedures to help companies ensure that their trailers and chassis undergo timely inspections.

This is a critical problem in the industry, and the company has leveraged inspection due dates, trailer locations, and timing and mileage data to provide maintenance personnel with up-to-date reports of trailers due for inspection. As a result of implementing this system, one customer was able to achieve a 50% reduction in past-due inspections in the first 90 days. This is just one example of how AI analytics-based platforms are helping fleets optimize their operations and improve overall efficiency.

Another company has employed the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to aid customers in simplifying trailer rework. The technology is designed to facilitate the scheduling of resources based on the specific location and time of the trailer.

By leveraging three years of historical data, the system can accurately predict the whereabouts of trailers within a 24-hour timeframe, six months in advance, with an impressive accuracy rate of 99%.

This six-month prediction is provided to the customers as a reference to schedule their resources accordingly.

By combining predictive maintenance and arrival data, the potential for enhancing the efficiency of fleets appears quite promising. The benefits of predictive data are not limited to individual trailers but can also be observed in the overall fleet operation.

Proactive Maintenance

According to Al Anderson, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Peterson Manufacturing, fleet operators are highly concerned about downtime and maintenance issues. The PetersonPulse intelligent trailer system offered by Peterson Manufacturing can detect equipment problems early on and prevent them from becoming costly or potentially hazardous safety hazards on the road.

By leveraging advanced trailer technology, fleet operators can prevent over-the-road violations and ensure their trailers remain in optimal condition for longer periods.

According to Anderson, the transmission of specific data is where the true value lies. This means that instead of receiving a general notification about a light being out, for example, you can now receive precise information about which light is malfunctioning.

This level of detail can significantly improve diagnostics and repair times, ultimately saving time and resources.

Phillips Connect has introduced the Remote Pre-Check feature, which allows fleets to assess the condition of their trailers while they are parked. This feature enables the evaluation of trailers earmarked for drivers and those requiring maintenance attention before dispatch. By utilizing such innovative offerings, operations within the fleet management industry have the potential to be transformed for the better.

The significance of information regarding tire pressure cannot be overstated. It allows dispatchers to determine whether a driver or mechanic needs to be sent to the trailer before loading it up, which ultimately saves money and reduces downtime. Furthermore, implementing a strong maintenance program can help keep trailers in tip-top shape and extend their useful lifespan. This is especially important now, as the cost of new trailers continues to rise. To maximize the value of investments, prioritizing proper maintenance is key.

On a related note, Samsara has recently unveiled new software upgrades for refrigerated trailers. These enhancements include actionable alerts for better reefer notification management and integration with Thermo King’s TracKing Telematics, which provides fleets with greater flexibility, control, and visibility over temperature-sensitive trailer operations.

The trailer-view provides a convenient solution for drivers who need to pick up a trailer by providing the exact location of empty trailers on their phones or mobile devices. This technology saves drivers valuable time and allows them to search for any trailer by VIN, check trailer load status, and view a comprehensive list of available assets.

According to Roni Taylor, senior vice president of strategy and business development at this company, this feature is a game-changer for drivers.

Similarly, a competitor offers a link that drivers can use to navigate to a specific trailer in the yard.

Additionally, they highlight the importance of automatic yard checks, which provide real-time data and eliminate manual processes.

This technology allows fleets to use their employees for more meaningful tasks and streamline operations.

Improvements on Operations

This company recognizes the perpetual nature of labor-related challenges for fleet management. As a result, the company has developed managed services to cater to this need.

The managed services solution offered includes a dedicated team of operations analysts who specialize in generating reports and analytics.

This team actively works towards alleviating workforce challenges for fleets by conducting yard checks, running detention reports, and managing other crucial tasks that were traditionally performed by in-house staff.

Thus, managed services solution provides fleet managers the much-needed support to streamline their labor operations while enhancing productivity and efficiency.

The Power of Telematics

Telematics has revolutionized the way fleets handle their trailer inventory and storage, enabling them to become more efficient and productive. With the advent of smart technology, companies can now optimize their assets and reduce the number of unnecessary purchases, especially given the current equipment shortages and rising prices. For instance, through implementing trailer tracking, one of our clients was able to postpone $2 million in purchases as they became more resourceful with their existing equipment. This development underlines the crucial role that telematics plays in helping businesses to manage their fleets more effectively.

Another company has unveiled an advanced cargo sensor called IntelliScan ProView, which provides accurate load status and detailed information on a trailer's cubic volume and floor space percentages with 99% precision.

This groundbreaking technology enables truckload carriers to identify unused space in their trailers, opening up more opportunities for backhauling. Similarly, less-than-truckload carriers can optimize their trailer load cube, maximizing the amount of freight they transport per trailer.

Additionally, private fleets can effectively manage their inventory in storage trailers and spot opportunities for backfilling, according to Taylor.

Meanwhile, another company has developed a system that can detect dunnage to determine whether a trailer is being used for storage or actually loaded.

By adding this new layer of insight, customers can further maximize the use of their assets and streamline their operations.

Trailer Tracking Technology

Trailer tracking technology offers a multitude of benefits for fleet management. Not only does it help track trailers for logistics purposes, but it also assists in preventing theft and identifying missing assets.

With advanced door sensors and automated reporting, these technologies can alert fleet managers of any unauthorized usage or break-ins, providing detailed documentation of when and where the security incident occurred and the duration of the door open event.

This valuable information allows for swift action to be taken, reducing the risk of theft and ensuring the safety and security of valuable assets.

Reports from Providers

The providers have reported that their production is still going strong, and they have successfully tackled most of the supply chain obstacles. According to Plonisch, Orbcomm has implemented diversified manufacturing to mitigate supply chain problems and fulfill customer requirements. He further added that they are confident that they have overcome all the production hurdles at present.

Some have adopted nearshoring as much as possible and have set up their manufacturing facilities in Mexico. This strategic move has helped them streamline their operations and ensure timely product deliveries to their customers.

As the cost of telematics technology becomes more reasonable and widespread, providers anticipate that fleets of all sizes will increasingly utilize smart trailer solutions to track their assets.

They envision the integration of more advanced video technology, greater collaboration with OEMs and partners, and the implementation of AI analytics to provide more extensive and insightful data. With more data elements available, fleets and technology providers can combine them in new and innovative ways to enhance their operations.

It is important to note that the use of smart trailers has a ripple effect on the entire fleet operation. Technology companies that understand the need for collaboration and consolidation to approach this market holistically are in a position to reap the benefits.

Conclusion: The future of trailer enhancements in fleet operations

As we can see, the future of trailer enhancements in fleet operations is a promising one. With advancements in technology and innovation, fleet managers will have access to even more tools and features that can greatly improve efficiency and productivity. One such enhancement that holds tremendous potential is the use of smart sensors in trailers. These sensors can provide real-time data on various aspects such as temperature, humidity, weight distribution, tire pressure, and even security measures like door openings or break-ins.

Another exciting development is the integration of trailer enhancements with telematics systems. By combining these two technologies, fleet managers will be able to track not only the location of their trailers but also monitor fuel consumption, engine diagnostics, driver behavior, and other critical data points. This real-time information will enable better decision-making regarding routing optimization, preventive maintenance scheduling, and even driver training programs.

Additionally, as autonomous vehicles become more prevalent in the transportation industry, trailer enhancements will play a crucial role in ensuring seamless communication between trucks and trailers. Connectivity solutions such as enhanced braking systems or wireless sensor networks will be essential for efficient coordination between these components. Furthermore, the integration of intelligent trailer enhancements with artificial intelligence algorithms holds immense potential for predictive analytics and proactive maintenance strategies.

In conclusion, it is evident that the future of trailer enhancements in fleet operations is brimming with possibilities. The use of smart sensors, integration with telematics systems, communication advancements for autonomous vehicles, and reliance on artificial intelligence are just some examples of how technological advancements are being revolutionized already.

If you want to stay updated with a wide range of trends, actionable insights, and innovative solutions in the trucking, freight, and logistics industry, stay connected to us.

Moreover, are you looking for a company to help you to stay DOT and FMCSA compliant? We at Labworks USA can support you.

Back to Blogs