Most fleets use GPS technology to plan routes or track shipments, but these reasons are just scratching the surface of what’s possible. Geofencing helps managers keep track of trailers at customer sites, improve security, and automate manual yard checks. And in combination with other telematics, the technology can be even more powerful.

Let’s look at what geofencing is and some ways to use it across your fleet to improve safety and efficiency.

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What is Geofencing?

Geofencing uses GPS to create virtual boundaries around a location. For example, a company might outfit trailers with GPS technology to create a geofence around their yard. The geofence could alert fleet managers when trailers leave the yard to prevent theft, automate yard checks,  verify driver timesheets or set up landmarks like customer sites.

Most telematics solutions combine geofencing with other GPS-related capabilities. In addition to alerts when a trailer leaves the yard, companies may be able to see where assets are on the road. These capabilities are invaluable for everything from route planning to customer service (e.g., updating customers on arrival times). For trucking companies that manage trailer pools, this is an invaluable tool.

Geofence Fleet

Powerfleet Vista’s powerful user interface. Source: Powerfleet

Stop Cargo Theft

North American cargo theft more than doubled between April 2019 and April 2020, according to CargoNet. The average value per theft also increased from $151,000 in 2019 to $230,000 in 2020. With growing shipment volumes, these trends are likely to accelerate over the coming years, and fleets should take action to protect their goods.

Geofence Fleet

Cargo theft statistics from Memorial Day 2020 – Source: CargoNet

Geofencing is an easy way to prevent theft. By geofencing trailers and tractors, fleets can receive immediate alerts when an asset moves out of a yard after business hours. In addition, managers can proactively contact the police and provide detailed information to recover the assets, including their real-time location.

In addition to geofencing, fleets should consider using freight cameras and sensors on their trailers to get even more information about the trailer and freight status to quickly respond to theft events. Powerfleet provides a full range of these solutions, including door sensors and freight cameras that can capture movement in real-time and transmit it to the cloud to deter and ultimately catch thieves.

Automate Yard Checks

Yard checks are a time-consuming, and error-prone task that involves verifying the presence and status of trailers in the yard. By the time it’s completed, the information could already be out of date. Despite these challenges, only a quarter of companies use yard management systems, according to the State of Yard Management 2021 Industry Report.

Geofencing can help automate and improve the process by recording when trailers enter or exit the yard based on their GPS location. Fleet asset managers can also use this information to spot trailers that have been sitting idle for long periods of time, being underutilized. Managers can instantly see the location of every trailer on the web application without having to go outside and manually verify them.

In addition to trailer locations, freight cameras can determine trailer status (e.g., empty or loaded). Powerfleet combines these capabilities into a single solution that completely automates yard checks and enhances trailer utilization and your team’s productivity. You can instantly know which trailers are available and which trailers are ready to go.

Verify Timesheets

Geofencing solutions can help verify driver timesheets and overtime requests. For example, managers can quickly confirm trailer arrival and departure times by matching up GPS data with driver records. At the same time, they can receive alerts when trailers leave the yard during off-hours to get a sense of driver schedules.

Geofence Fleet

Modern ELD Solutions – Source: Powerfleet

When used with other telematics solutions, you may be able to eliminate timesheets. For example, Powerfleet’s in-cab ELD solution makes it easy for drivers to digitally record hours of service, eliminating the need for manual records and ensuring compliance at all times. You can even alert drivers when they are required to take a break.

Beyond Geofencing with GPS

Telematics solutions provide a range of benefits beyond yard checks. While these technologies may have been challenging to implement in the past, the combination of solar power, 4G LTE, and web-based platforms has made it easier than ever to access real-time information. Partners like Powerfleet can also partner with you to develop a deployment plan.

Some key benefits of telematics include:

  • Utilization: Improve asset utilization through access to real-time location and status. Right-size your fleet of assets and increase trailer turn times.
  • Security: Ensure security with door sensors, cameras, and GPS tracking—both in the yard and on the road.
  • Customer Relations: Improve customer satisfaction by communicating real-time location and status with them to share arrival times and get trailers unloaded and returned more quickly.
  • Compliance: Make sure drivers comply with hours of service (HoS) and other regulations through automation.
  • Integrity: Refrigerated truck sensors and cameras verify that cargo remains fresh throughout a journey.
  • Driver Insights: Track driving habits, such as speed and cornering, to improve safety and fuel efficiency.

Proactive MaintenanceEngine Insights: Better maintain vehicles and trailer assets by identifying problems early on instead of on a scheduled timeline and proactively fix them.

Powerfleet provides a broad range of telematics solutions to address everything from material handling equipment to tractor-trailers to vehicles. Even better, we offer the technology to help turn these data points into actionable insights. Powerfleet has more than 20 years experience in telematics, providing customers with improved safety, security, efficiency, regulatory compliance and the ability to increase revenues.

The Bottom Line

Geofencing is a great way to reduce risk and improve efficiency in your yards and at customers’ sites. In addition, GPS technologies make it easy to track tractors, trailers, containers, and other fleet assets along their journey. These capabilities can further improve security on the road and customer service by providing more accurate arrival time estimates.

Learn more about Powerfleet’s telematics solutions, or contact us today for a free consultation.

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