Refrigerated trucks, or reefer trucks, are an incredibly important asset for companies shipping perishable goods over long distances. The refrigeration units on these trucks are a must for keeping goods from spoiling during the journey from the warehouse to their final destinations.
The supply chain for perishable goods can be fragile compared to non-perishable ones. Delays, power failures, improperly sealed compartments, and mechanical failures in the refrigeration unit can all lead to cargo spoilage.
Every measure that companies can take to improve their supply chain is a potential life-saver for their refrigerated truck cargo loads. GPS tracking for reefer trucks are one example of an effective way for transportation companies to improve their supply chains for perishable goods by:
Optimizing Reefer Truck Maintenance Scheduling
Reefer trucks can be more complicated to maintain than regular semis, as the refrigeration systems used in the trailer and the frame of the trailer itself add to the demand for maintenance.
As with all vehicle maintenance, fixing a small problem in a refrigerated truck sooner can help prevent a bigger, more expensive problem later.
GPS tracking devices, when integrated with a reefer truck’s onboard diagnostics systems, can provide fleet managers with detailed diagnostics data for both the truck and the refrigeration unit.
By tracking engine performance, it’s possible to spot when a semi needs preventative maintenance, helping prevent costly on the road breakdowns. By monitoring data on the conditions in the refrigeration unit, it’s easy to track temperatures and power connection status for the refrigerated compartment/trailer.
Setting custom alerts for when the power is disconnected or when the temperature is approaching unsafe levels lets fleet managers immediately detect a problem and alert the driver.
Improving Control Over Vehicle Routes
With any long-distance shipment, drivers going off-route can be a problem. For refrigerated trucks, drivers leaving the pre-planned route can be disastrous, depending on the nature of the “detour.”
Drivers may leave their assigned routes for a number of reasons, including:
- Planned rest stops
- Heavy traffic
- Emergency repairs
- Road construction/detours
- Personal errands
Some of these detours are unavoidable or beyond a driver’s control. Others are unnecessary delays that drag productivity down.
GPS tracking solutions can help provide greater control over vehicle routes so as to minimize the impact of a detour.
For example, if a driver is stuck in traffic, fleet managers can use their GPS tracking data to see where the driver is, and plan a route around the traffic obstruction to minimize the delay.
Additionally, fleet managers can set geofencing boundaries around a route—allowing the manager to know if a driver goes more than a few miles off the planned route. This lets drivers make short detours for rest stops and refueling trips without hassle while still alerting fleet managers of major deviations from the assigned route.
This increased control over vehicle routes help fleet managers reduce delays for their refrigerated trucks, meaning more shipments completed in less time, and with less risk of spoilage.
Verifying Cargo Status
Companies shipping perishable goods for public consumption are required to maintain specific temperature conditions for cold goods. Transportation companies may even be required to maintain and submit documentation of the temperature conditions in a storage unit for later inspection, as per the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
GPS tracking devices that have remote diagnostics capabilities can improve the supply chain by simplifying the process for recording, storing, and sharing detailed information about the temperature conditions in a reefer truck.
Remote diagnostics reports for a reefer truck’s trailer can include temperature information, providing reliable evidence of whether or not the appropriate temperature was maintained inside the refrigeration unit.
This can help fleet managers overcome a key regulatory documentation hurdle without adding labor and delays for a truck driver to repeatedly stop and check the cold trailer every few hours. As an added benefit, this also means fewer rejected shipments since you’ll have verifiable evidence recorded by an impartial computer program.
For companies transporting perishable goods long-distance, GPS tracking systems for reefer trucks can be an invaluable tool for strengthening the supply chain.
See how you can improve your fleet efficiency with GPS tracking today!
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