Maximizing Trailer & Trucking Asset Utilization: How Geofencing Reduces Empty Miles & Makes Owner-Operators More Money

Trucking asset utilization is quickly becoming one of the most significant factors in the day-to-day procedures of any owner-operator’s business, especially when profit maximization and empty mile reduction are primary goals.

Empty miles, long detention times, inefficient routes, and rapidly changing technologies make it difficult to achieve and sustain profitability, making it increasingly important to grow and expand while simultaneously testing solutions to common asset and fleet utilization problems.

Fortunately, with the introduction of geofencing technology that uses GPS systems to track assets against virtual boundaries around defined geographical locations, buildings, warehouses, or target areas, trucks can be routed more efficiently, tracked in real-time, and be used to significantly reduce empty miles and increase the profitability of the business as a result.

We’re going to dive into asset utilization, what can be done to maximize it, and how your organization can begin implementing automated polygon geofencing technology to improve your operations moving forward. Let’s dive right into it.

What are Empty or Deadhead Miles?

If you’ve ever wondered, “what are deadhead miles?” then it’s worth knowing that empty or “deadhead miles” refer to miles driven by a truck with no cargo. This type of driving is a significant factor in measuring asset utilization for the trucking industry; reducing the amount of empty or deadhead mileage helps improve overall asset utilization, increases efficiency, and provides additional cost savings for trucking companies.

Owner-operators can reduce empty miles by optimizing their routes and planning ahead, ensuring that their trucks are always transporting cargo from one destination to another.

What are the Top Challenges Owner-Operators Face?

Owner-operators in the trucking industry continually face a wide variety of challenges, both on the road and concerning the topic of personal safety. Here are some of the most common problems they encounter:

  • Parking Shortages – Depending on the delivery locations, the trucking industry is feeling the pains of a mounting crisis due to parking shortages. Trucks often have to park in unauthorized spots, resulting in increased costs and reduced asset utilization.
  • Distracted Driving & Safety Regulations – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented regulations to reduce the risk of distracted driving in the trucking industry. To ensure safety, trucking companies must ensure that their drivers are abiding by all rules, including limiting phone use while driving and mandating hands-free devices. Additionally, companies are encouraged to implement technology to monitor asset utilization in their fleet, such as providing real-time tracking of vehicles and monitoring driver behavior.
  • Long Detention Times – Detention times have been a recurring issue among truck drivers, often resulting in long wait times until workers can unload cargo. With precise location visibility powered by polygonal geofencing, a shipper, broker, or 3PL can alert the driver to come to pick up the freight only when their destination loading bay, dock, or delivery area was free , significantly reducing detention times and driver frustration.
  • Compliance With Federal, State, and Local Regulations – Depending on the locales or jurisdictions where a trucking company operates, it’s essential to know and understand all federal, state, and local regulations. If these regulations aren’t followed or don’t pass an audit, fines and penalties can potentially occur.
  • Hours of Service (HOS) Rules – HOS rules set out the maximum number of hours a driver can work within a 24-hour period and the maximum number of hours they may work in a seven-day period. The HOS Rules also dictate the amount of rest required between shifts and how long drivers may remain on the road without taking a break.
  • Rising Fuel Costs – The cost of fuel is on the rise, making it increasingly important for trucking companies to maximize their asset utilization to remain competitive. They can reduce their overall fuel costs and stay profitable in a challenging market by improving their efficiency and utilizing all available resources.

How do Geofences Solve those Challenges?

Even though problems related to owner-operator trucking companies are significant, geofences offer a robust solution to the challenge of trucking asset utilization.

Polygon geofencing technology creates virtual boundaries that enable fleet managers to track the location and movement of their vehicles accurately, helping ensure that vehicles are used efficiently and consistently reach their destinations on time.

Geofences tailored to meet specific needs allow for greater flexibility in asset management. With the right geofencing technology, fleet managers and owner-operators can immediately reduce fuel costs, improve accuracy, and increase overall efficiency.

Here is how geofences can solve the most common problems identified with owner-operator truckers, such as empty miles, last-mile delivery orchestration, coordination, planning, dwell times, and detention times.

Provide Asset Security at Warehouses

Polygon geofences created around delivery warehouses or other points of interest can significantly reduce the risk of misplaced or stolen valuable assets through the use of simple triggers or notifications. For example, whenever assets  begin to move at a time not designated for movement, their trackers or RFID tags can immediately send an alert to logistics or security teams, enabling them to act quickly to secure an asset at risk.

However, to reduce false flags and unneeded notifications constantly flowing during times of little to no risk, you need to establish a geographic area of when those triggers and notifications need to run. These defined areas could be truck parking, storage, shipper facilities, and more. The accuracy of those defined areas are important for quick responses.

Reduce Empty Miles

Reducing empty miles gets trailers back into the rotation sooner, resulting in more revenue generation.

By defining precise boundaries around operational areas, fleets can accurately track when their vehicles enter or exit a geofenced area, allowing for more efficient operations. With this technology, fleets can also improve internal communications and increase safety, as drivers receive timely notifications of changes in routes or deliveries.

Assist with Last-Mile Delivery Orchestration

The last-mile delivery process is becoming increasingly important for many trucking companies. Asset utilization is vital to achieving consistent success, as tracking, monitoring, and controlling the movement of trucks and cargo is essential.

Last-mile delivery orchestration helps trucking companies maximize their asset utilization. This process can involve utilizing real-time data on traffic conditions and customer preferences to determine optimal delivery routes, as well as leveraging technology such as automated vehicle dispatch and route optimization software that use geofencing technology to perform accurate and precise visibility tracking.

Better Coordination and Planning

When a delivery is nearing its destination those final miles, and even final few hundred yards, are often the most critical and highest likelihood for delay as wrong turns or missed streets create real problems for drivers to get back on track.Polygon geofencing alerts onsite teams of  the driver’s true arrival, giving them proper notification of a drivers arrival and triggers to coordinate docking or unloading. Inaccurate notifications lead to a misuse of onsite resources. Teams can properly allocate and prepare machinery, vehicles, and other items to support the delivery.

Reduce Dwell Time

Polygon geofencing also helps companies reduce the time their assets are waiting to be unloaded, loaded, or serviced by providing accurate insights to what is truly occurring onsite. You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know where it exists.

Accurately tracking assets within the designated area enables managers to make decisions regarding resources and staffing allocation to keep them moving. Improved visibility and reduced dwell time help businesses maximize the efficiency of their trucking assets and minimize costs associated with asset utilization.

Reduce detention fees

Increasing trucking asset utilization with the help of geofencing technology is an effective way for trucking companies to reduce detention fees. By utilizing assets more efficiently, companies can reduce the amount of time drivers are on the road and, in turn, reduce fees associated with waiting or delays. In addition, increased asset utilization can help trucking companies save on fuel costs and other expenses related to their operations.

Implement Geofences With Kestrel Insights Today to Begin Fully Maximizing Your Asset Utilization on the Road

Utilizing geofencing technology in your business to reduce empty miles and maximize truck and trailer allocations can lead to increased profits for the company, as well as owner-operators, which can make more money with fewer miles driven.

Geofencing has proven to be a robust tool in increasing trailer trucking fleets’ efficiency while providing a better quality of life for their drivers.

If you’re interested in implementing an automated geofencing solution into your business to improve efficiency and reduce costs, Kestrel Insights can help you set up automated polygon geofencing from the ground up.

Contact Kestrel Insights today to learn more about our cutting-edge polygon geofencing solutions.