Refrigerated trucks need extra care and attention. Unlike normal fleet trucks, reefer trucks carry temperature-sensitive cargo that must always remain in their preset temperature range. If a cold storage system shuts down, or temperature levels get too warm, it can ruin the entire shipment and put you in bad standing with your client (not to mention losing thousands of dollars worth of product).
How can these issues be prevented? With GPS tracking, you can monitor the conditions of your refrigerated trucks from your fleet tracking software and be alerted to problems as they occur, so you can handle them quickly and efficiently to keep operations running smoothly.
So, what are some of the most useful tracking features for refrigerated truck fleets?
Receive Up-to-Date Temperature Tracking Reports
Refrigerated trucks are set to specific temperatures to ensure that their temperature-sensitive cargo remains at the appropriate temperature for the duration of the trip. If colder shipments become too warm, products can become spoiled or damaged — costing your business thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars in ruined product.
When you integrate a temperature sensor with the GPS tracking device and the reefer truck’s temperature tracking system, you can remotely track the temperature of your sensitive shipments at all times. You can monitor for any temperature changes and know when and why they occurred and communicate these fluctuations with your fleet drivers so they can check if there are issues with the refrigerated truck’s cold storage system.
Manual temperature tracking reports leave too many chances for human error. With automated temperature logs, you eliminate that risk and will receive impartial temperature reports sent directly to your fleet tracking software—providing you and your client with a point-by-point account of your reefer unit data and other general reefer truck diagnostics, such as:
- Humidity levels,
- Defrost cycles,
- Power fluctuations, and
- Opening and closing of cargo doors.
Be Alerted to Cold Storage System Failure
The worst thing that can happen to a refrigerated truck is having its entire cold storage system fail. This puts your perishable and other temperature-sensitive cargo at risk for being ruined or spoiled. However, the bigger issue comes from the drivers not being able to know that there is a problem with the cold storage system. Unless they are constantly pulling over at rest stops to manually check the refrigeration unit, it can be hours before the driver becomes aware of the breakdown.
With GPS tracking, you can monitor the refrigerated container’s temperature levels in real time from your fleet tracking software. Plus, you can set custom alerts that will notify you via text or email to any temperature fluctuations or maintenance issues your refrigerated truck may be experiencing. Then, you can contact the driver to immediately check the issue before your temperature-sensitive cargo is negatively affected.
Monitor Road Conditions and Driver Performance
Bad road conditions and poor driver behavior both negatively impact the effectiveness and efficiency of your fleet operations. That’s where GPS tracking can help alleviate these issues.
It’s not always possible to anticipate every road construction project, traffic accident, or other traffic-causing events that could delay your refrigerated truck from reaching its destination on time. With your fleet tracking software, you are provided with up-to-date traffic reports so that you can help drivers avoid being caught in severe traffic by suggesting alternative routes. This helps keep refrigerated trucks on schedule and reduce fuel usage by preventing excessive idling.
As important as it is to monitor the conditions of your refrigerated containers, it’s just as important to track the driving behavior of your employees. Aggressive and unsafe driving habits will increase the likelihood of the driver getting into an accident, which puts the reputation of your business in jeopardy. When you install a GPS tracking device into a reefer truck’s onboard diagnostic system, you can view reports tracking the driving habits of your fleet drivers and look at driving factors such as:
- Hard braking,
- Rapid acceleration,
- Excessive idling, and
- Driver turning habits.
Track Maintenance Scheduling
Keeping refrigerated trucks in top shape is important to ensuring your fleet operations are running efficiently and maximizing productivity. What can affect this the most is following proper preventative maintenance strategies. Vehicle breakdowns and equipment failures caused by a lack of maintenance increase downtime (and fleet costs) due to untimely repairs and expensive part replacements.
GPS tracking helps eliminate these issues by tracking the refrigerated truck’s diagnostic performance and alerting you to any maintenance issues so you can fix them in time before they become more serious. You can also monitor which trucks need certain maintenance to better schedule repair services — reducing downtime and maintenance costs. Plus, as mentioned before, if the cold storage system in your refrigerated truck fails, you can immediately notify the driver to pull over and check the refrigerated container so temperature-sensitive cargo isn’t severely impacted from being too warm.
Refrigerated trucks must be monitored closely to avoid issues that could potentially ruin or damage your temperature-sensitive cargo. Temperature tracking offers you an inside look into the conditions of your reefer trucks and their cold storage systems straight from your fleet tracking software, so you can ensure the products arrive at their destination on time and in good condition.
Want to learn more about how your business can benefit from GPS tracking? Download our refrigerated truck feature sheet, or contact a Rastrac representative for more information about our fleet management solutions for refrigerated transportation.