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6 Ways Fleet Telematics Can Save Trucking Companies Money

  • January 18, 2022
  • Kinana Hussain
  • Reading Time: 4 minutes
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Manager with a digital tablet on the background of trucks. Fleet management Strategic uses of telematics data can deliver significant savings. (Credit: Scharfsinn86/iStock)

Most fleets today are equipped with truck GPS, which allows managers to track the location of their trucks through fleet management software. But truck telematics, as well as trailer telematics, also provides other actionable information that fleet operators can use to shave expenses and reduce unexpected outlays. Money saved can be put toward other operational efficiency initiatives and fixed costs such as driver compensation.

1. Cut fuel use with reports on idling and aggressive driving

Fuel is the second-highest operational expense for companies in the trucking industry according to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). Truck telematics has an important role to play in cutting fuel consumption.

Idling a heavy-duty truck burns almost a gallon of fuel per hour according to the U.S. Department of Energy. By generating idling reports in your fleet management software, you can easily discover which drivers idle the most and when. These insights can help you strategize potential solutions. You can also set alerts to address the worst idling violations in real time.

Speeding and harsh acceleration drive up fuel costs and also increase vehicle wear. Data from truck telematics and video telematics reveal which drivers are prone to aggressive driving habits that ratchet up fuel consumption. Customized coaching can improve these behaviors.

By reviewing breadcrumb reports based on location tracking, as well as setting geofences around routes and configuring alerts when they are breached, managers can ensure that drivers are following assigned routes and not adding unnecessary miles.

2. Reduce collisions and mitigate liability with video telematics

Fleet insurance premiums have reached an all-time high according to ATRI, thanks in part to dramatic increases in nuclear verdicts. Accidents can raise your premiums even higher, as well as result in costly lawsuits.

Data from truck telematics and video telematics allows managers to coach drivers on behaviors that increase the risk of crashes. In-cab audio alerts enabled by smart dash cams with artificial intelligence (AI) help drivers self-correct in real time to avoid a collision.

If a crash does happen, telematics data and video clips from a smart dash cam help companies exonerate drivers and fight false or fraudulent claims. A video telematics solution such as iOn™ Vision is especially crucial in states with no-fault laws, where staged accidents are common.

3. Prevent theft with near real-time alerts

Cargo theft is a growing problem, especially in California, Texas and Florida, the latest cargo theft hotspots according to CargoNet. In the third quarter of 2021 alone, theft incidents led to $12,710,579 in value loss. Thieves typically target truck stops and warehouses/distribution centers.

Fleet telematics can help prevent the theft of cargo from trucks and the theft of loaded trucks and trailers. Door open/close sensors for trailers alert drivers and/or managers when a door is opened, which can tip them off to a theft in progress. Asset tracking tags affixed to cartons, packages and pallets and paired with a telematics gateway device on the trailer can send an alert when an item is removed from the radius of the device. Ignition on/off alerts and geofence alerts can tip off drivers and managers to unauthorized vehicle use.

Fleets that leverage a SaaS supply chain service solution such as CalAmp’s Supply Chain Visibility services benefit from live, event-based monitoring of shipments 24/7/365.  

4. Improve trailer utilization with trailer tracking and cargo sensing

Trailers cost fleets money every moment they’re not in use. Yet trailers typically sit idle about 30% of the time. A trailer tracking device such as a solar-powered asset tracker can track the real-time location of trailers, helping managers locate available trailers and pair them with trucks. Cargo-sensing technology, used as part of a smart trailer ecosystem, provides visibility into whether the trailer is empty and the remaining space available.

Tracking the utilization of trucks and trailers in fleet management software via utilization reports allows managers to identify under-utilized assets and make buy/sell decisions aligned with business demands.

5. Cut fleet maintenance costs with engine data and smart trailer technology

Monitoring odometer readings is simple with telematics-based fleet management software. Performing preventative maintenance based on odometer readings vs. time intervals helps eliminate over-maintenance and under-maintenance.

Soon more companies will use predictive maintenance, in which telematics data sent to the cloud is analyzed by AI to predict component failures before they happen. Meanwhile, fleet maintenance managers can already view engine fault code summaries in a fleet management solution to address truck maintenance issues before they turn into budget killers.

On trailers, after-market smart trailer technology, used in conjunction with a smart trailer platform, provides visibility into the health of the trailer. A tire pressure monitoring system helps prevent blowouts and accidents that may result. Wheel end temperature sensing (WETS) technology alerts the driver and manager to overheating wheels before they lead to wheel separation or brake failure or set the trailer on fire.

6. Lower the total cost of ownership

Curbing aggressive driving, reducing idling and practicing just-in-time preventive maintenance all extend the life cycle of a truck and preserve its end-of-life value. Reducing fuel consumption, maintenance costs and unplanned downtime also drive down the total cost of ownership.

In addition, by monitoring odometer readings and hours of use, you can reallocate trucks to ensure that they are used evenly, which can delay replacements.

For most trucking fleets today, fleet telematics is a must-have. OEM and after-market trailer telematics solutions are also gaining in popularity as the pressure to maximize trailer utilization grows. Best-in-class fleet management software and smart trailer platforms deliver the visibility fleet managers need to reduce fleet operating costs, cut capital expenditures and increase profitability.

CalAmp’s end-to-end telematics solutions can be tailored to fit the needs of  private and for-hire trucking companies. Browse our products.