The transportation of perishable commodities carries additional challenges for fleet managers. Cargo must be transported at specific temperatures and delivered in a timely manner, or the entire freight of a refrigerated truck may be lost—costing the fleet thousands of dollars in lost product, redelivery time, and loss of reputation.
Along with the many benefits associated with GPS fleet tracking, trucks containing temperature sensitive cargo can now be equipped with real-time trailer temperature monitoring. The following are just four of the benefits of a GPS tracking system for your refrigerated trucks.
4 Benefits of GPS Tracking for Refrigerated Trucks
Refrigerated trucks are typically set at a desired temperature, but there are several factors that can adversely impact the temperature. GPS tracking systems, linked with temperature monitoring systems, allow the dispatcher to remotely monitor the state of the refrigerated unit at all times, from the instant the driver sets the unit up all the way to delivery.
Temperature data provides detailed, minute-by-minute information about the reefer’s temperature, and since it is tied to the GPS fleet tracking system, managers can detail when temperature changes occurred, and where they happened. Two of the benefits of having a complete minute-by-minute temperature history available to fleet managers are:
- The elimination of most temperature-related load rejections
- The ability to provide clients with tracking links to reefer unit data specifics, such as, set-point, run mode, and delivery temperatures
GPS fleet management alerts automatically notify fleet managers of potential problems in real-time, from engine issues to driver performance. In the case of fleet managers of reefer trucks, GPS alerts can, quite literally, save the cargo. Custom alerts can be set for:
- Temperature fluctuations that fall out of a pre-specified range
- Power disconnection
- Status of reefer temperature controller
- Reefer container doors being opened at unauthorized location
- Unscheduled stops
- Route deviations
Alerts allow fleet managers to act on a potentially drastic situation before it can have major impacts on the product. Immediately after an alert is triggered, managers can reach out to drivers to correct the situation.
Along with temperature sensitivity, many perishables have a limited shelf life. For this reason, efficient routing and the avoidance of traffic delay areas are of an even greater priority for refrigerated trucks than for other trucking operations.
GPS fleet tracking systems provide features that help reefers get to their destinations efficiently. The advantages include:
GPS tracking technology allows routes to be planned most efficiently by including real-time data of changing road conditions and weather patterns.
Dispatchers and drivers of refrigerated trucks can see the location of school zones, traffic congestion, and road construction. This allows them to adjust their routes accordingly.
Improved Driver Performance
Better driving habits result in greater safety, productivity, and profitability. GPS fleet tracking systems allow fleet managers to monitor a variety of driver activities, coach those who need it, and reward those who exhibit exemplary driving behavior. Tracking driver performance gives transparency to:
- Excessive idling
- Unauthorized use
- Driving practices that increase fuel consumption
- Route deviations
- Aggressive driving habits
Driver productivity can be enhanced using GPS fleet tracking systems by pinpointing start and stop times and making sure that drivers are staying on schedule. Late-arriving behavior or extended breaks can be easily detected and dealt with.
Reduced costs are one of the major indirect benefits of GPS fleet tracking systems. Efficient routing saves on fuel, labor costs, and wear and tear on the vehicle.
Optimizing routes results in fewer miles driven—which also permits more jobs to be taken on and completed during a day without increasing labor or overhead. GPS tracking systems also allow refrigerated trucks to lessen certain costs associated with maintaining temperature control, such as by:
Monitoring Refrigerator and Compartment Door Status
Temperature monitoring can be linked with the refrigerator's status and the position of the compartment door. If the refrigerator is left on at a delivery site with the door open, the blower will force cold air out while warm air is sucked in from the outside.
This situation not only causes the refrigeration unit to work much harder, product safety may be jeopardized. Managers alerted to this situation can handle it remotely by alerting the driver immediately to the situation.
Reefer unit breakdown is one of the major causes of cargo spoilage. GPS fleet tracking systems help safeguard against this calamity by automatically sending alerts for scheduled maintenance procedures that keep the unit in optimal condition.
The good news for refrigerated trucks is that remote temperature monitoring allows dispatchers to contact drivers and have a potentially devastating situation remedied long before a disaster occurs. Saving one load from spoilage can pay for your investment.