Into the Clouds:

Making Sense of Trailer Utilization

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How IoT sensors give companies full visibility into their trailer fleet 

In the transportation industry, it can be difficult to keep track of the location and status of every important resource – particularly trailers. Many companies have a greater ratio of trailers to trucks, meaning some trailers can be sitting idle in lots or at customer’s facilities for long periods. Generally speaking, the trailers that are on the road are often not monitored in the same ways as the trucks, which can lead to planning inefficiencies and cargo safety risks. 

Thankfully, new trailer utilization technologies are emerging that give transportation companies full visibility into the location and status of their trailers, helping to take the guesswork out of scheduling and make operations more efficient. 

Trailer utilization is key to maximizing the potential of your business, but it cannot be done without the help of IoT sensors. 

What is IoT? 

The Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to the multitude of internet-connected devices that collect and transmit data to the cloud, including everything from smart locks and thermostats to smart security cameras and much more. 

IoT sensors are basically the eyes inside the physical devices. Each sensor has a specific function, such as monitoring temperature, a and continuously collects relevant data and transmits the data via the cloud to a software platform for analysis. All of this is done without human interaction, making IoT a game-changer for any industries that traditionally relied on manual processes. 

Now, IoT sensors are becoming a critical part of fleet tracking solutions, revolutionizing the way the transportation and logistics industry operates. The critical data collected by the sensors provides companies with invaluable (and actionable) insights as well as complete visibility into fleet operations. 

Here are some of the ways IoT sensors work as part of a trailer utilization solution: 

Location and door sensors help protect your fleet & cargo and improve operations 

Location sensors use GPS technology to keep your trailers in view and accounted for. The real-time data provided by location sensors helps you make better informed decisions when there has been a route deviation or a change in ETA. Knowing the exact location of every trailer in you fleet, including the duration that each trailer remains at an unloading/loading site or customer lot, gives you the insight you need to better manage your trailer fleet and keep things keep running smoothly. 

Trailer door sensors, on the other hand, give you real-time updates when trailer doors have been opened or closed. These sensors can be used on either roll-up or barn door style doors and help you identify unauthorized activity quickly. With trailer door sensors in place, you will have increased peace of mind that your trailers are secure and that all your shipments are safe, - and a faster reaction time when there is suspicious activity. 

Condition sensors help prevent cargo spoilage 

Condition sensors are used for monitoring temperature and humidity levels in reefer or live haul trailers. These sensors send automatic alerts when temperatures go outside of a pre-defined range, helping to prevent cargo spoilage. 

With food safety regulations becoming more stringent on both sides of the border, condition monitoring is also becoming critical for companies to be compliant. Knowing the real-time status of your cargo helps to prevent load rejection, and many trailer utilization solutions will also enable detailed reports to be accessed quickly. Plus, if there is an issue with maintaining temperature at any point during the trip, both your dispatch team and your driver can be notified within seconds. 

Cargo sensors help increase efficiency and scheduling 

Cargo sensors are responsible for a few different data sets, all of which directly improve overall efficiency. Cargo volume (load) sensors give companies insight into how full each trailer is while linear footage and cargo position sensors provide visibility into the available floor space. Together, these sensors help transportation companies better utilize their trailers and maximize revenue per trailer. LTL and 3PL companies in particular can benefit from knowing how much space is available inside a trailer to prevent unnecessary trips and empty miles being driven. 

Trailer utilization just makes sense 

IoT sensor technology is changing the way transportation and logistics companies manage their fleets, helping to improve efficiency, safety, and revenue potential. Trailer utilization solutions in particular are becoming key to maximizing business potential with IoT sensors that can be customized to meet a business’ specific needs. The Internet of Things is still an emerging space so there is sure to be a lot more to come that will continue to help us work smarter, not harder. 

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