Logistics and transportation companies are increasingly using polygon geofencing to optimize routes, receive real-time alerts on deliveries and shipments, collect valuable analytics to derive vital insights into their own supply chains, and integrate automation needed to compete in today’s landscape.
These same companies greatly rely on their logistics technology (logtech) partners to bring them the tools they need to move and track freight around the country, and around the world. Even though implementing geofencing technology has been a significant step forward for most of these logtech platforms, many of their end users are still required to draw geofences by hand and manually update their geofenced areas in a time-consuming process.
This article presents some of the most impactful logistics use cases of automated polygon geofencing for both logtech platforms and their end users. We will explore how implementing an automated curation and maintenance process for needed geofences can bring logistics companies and transportation carriers to the next level of efficiency, cost savings, and real-time optimization.
What are Geofences & Their Application in Logistics?
Geofences are virtual boundaries that logistics and transportation companies can place to maintain control of their vehicles, employees, and goods, alerting them to essential timestamps with needed accuracy.
Before accurate geofencing became commonplace, valuable time stamps and event triggers could be unnoticed for hours or wrongly recorded, causing breakdowns and delays that ripple through an entire supply chain. The net effect can be devastating for logistics companies that rely on timely deliveries and a constantly moving stream of goods to generate maximum revenue and keep their clients happy.
Geofences provide the accurate and automated tracking data that logistics operators need to make adjustments on the fly, optimize their delivery routes, and ensure their supply chains are functional and efficient across the board.
What is the Challenge with Geofences in Logistics Today?
Geofencing has ushered in substantial technological improvements in logistics and transportation companies’ operations today. Unfortunately, there is still a wide range of inefficiencies that can significantly diminish their effectiveness.
For operators or logtech platforms that manage and track thousands of locations, some employees still manually trace geofence boundaries with a mouse on a computer screen. After the initial drawing, teams have to transition to keeping up with the maintenance of these locations and continually adding new locations on the fly. This results in a continuous “cat and mouse” game to keep their team’s data set as current as possible. This often results in geofenced areas that don’t get optimized or drawn correctly in time, impacting operations and hurting the company’s bottom line.
There are also no standards around geofences in the logistics and transportation space. One company’s geofence can be a simple circle, while another logistics operator may draw a polygon geofenced by hand on a map. Due to these inconsistencies and a lack of standardization, the industry suffers when stakeholders attempt to use this inconsistent data set to work together.
Benefits of Automated Polygon Geofencing
Geofencing faces significant challenges regarding area boundary accuracy and the manual drawing processes implemented by many transportation and logistics companies.
Fortunately, automated polygon geofencing can solve both problems in one fell swoop. With accurate data, precise analytics, robust data lakes, and automatic access and maintenance capabilities, logistics companies can save time and money by capitalizing on automated geofencing.
Kestrel Insights has developed an automated geofencing solution that allows logistics and transportation companies to:
- Stop manually drawing geofence boundaries once and for all.
- Quickly get all required polygon geofences via an API-accessed data lake.
- Automate polygon geofences and optimize them for both accuracy and precision.
- Eliminate arbitrary circular geofences where precision is required.
Automated geofencing is the next step forward for logistics and transportation companies everywhere. Kestrel Insights has changed the way this type of critical data is curated and accessed, but what kinds of tangible effects does this change have on a logtech platform and also where the rubber meets the road for such a platform’s end users? Logtech platforms can greatly improve their products and customer experiences while, giving the organizations who use their products ways they can improve delivery schedules, trailer rotations, real-time route optimizations, and more by automating the geofencing process and bringing accurate data into the mix. Let’s look at these impacts on logtech platforms’ capabilities and the downstream impacts on a logistics or transportation team’s day-to-day operations in more depth.
The Use Cases of Automated Polygonal Geofencing in Logistics For Technology Platforms
Automated polygon geofencing has a wide range of use cases regarding logistics. Operators can use this technology to optimize their routes, automatically draw precise boundaries, boost employee safety, and potentially even eliminate timecards with automatic employee time logging. But before those end users can even leverage such valuable data, what kinds of impacts do these data sets have on the SaaS platforms that are integrating such innovative data?
Here are 15 best use cases for automated geofencing in logistics and how they can substantially improve how many log tech platforms and their end users organizations conduct their geofencing and tracking today.
1. Stop Manually Drawing Geofences to Save Time & Money
No more drawing. Manually drawing geofences is inefficient, time-consuming, and prone to human error. Suppose employees aren’t available on-demand when a critical geofence boundary is required. In that case, your supply chain can face significant delays and even ripple through to adjacent deliveries or routes further down the line.
Automated geofencing technology eliminates human error, and geofence boundaries can be automatically accessed to ensure your drivers, employees, or other logistics personnel are in a position for success. In addition, when your organization stops manually drawing geofences, the time and money saved can substantially increase.
Flint Holbrook at TruckSpy has seen how this kind of automation directly impacts the customer experience he and his team are able to deliver. “TruckSpy was born to give our customers a better way to manage their fleet through attention to safety, compliance, and visibility. Kestrel Insights has allowed us to grow in that vision by bringing their automated geofencing solution directly to our customer. Now, we are able to onboard customers faster, bring them increased accuracy to their geofencing, and engrain data standards into the TruckSpy platform.”
2. Automate Polygon Geofences for Precision & Accuracy
In today’s data-driven world, circular geofences won’t cut it due to their wildly inaccurate boundaries. For example, suppose you want to give your most valuable clients and customers an incredible first impression and excellent continuous service. In that case, they deserve better than arbitrary circular boundaries that don’t accurately reflect delivery areas or notification zones.
With automated polygon geofencing, your organization will unlock automatic location optimization, location maintenance, and incredibly accurate data points that ensure your boundaries are as precise as possible. Automated geofences are the future, especially if precision and accuracy are important factors.
Adam Simkins, Senior VP of Engineering, and his team at Envase Technologies, an intermodal drayage software provider, have seen direct impacts from automating polygon geofencing with Kestrel Insights. “Companies may not realize the cost of inaccurate geofencing. Using a simple circular area or manually drawn polygons can leave companies missing out on time their drivers actually spent waiting on properties – which all impacts the bottom line”.
3. Integrate Geofencing into Your TMS/Telematics/LogTech Platform
One of the primary goals for any logistics tech platform is to provide a more seamless customer experience. One way this can be done is by integrating automated polygon geofencing directly into your platform. Don’t get left behind by your competitors who have removed any manual processes associated with creating geofences.
4. Accurate Dwell Tracking
It’s no secret that dwell time reduction can positively impact an entire supply chain or delivery schedule. This is how automated polygon geofencing impacts dwell:
- Increased visibility into your daily operations, knowing exactly where your drivers are and how long they spend at each point of their journey.
- Improve turnaround times by using dwell time and GPS/RFID data to optimize routes on a much more granular scale. You’ll be able to streamline operations when you know exactly where every single container is on its journey and how long it takes until they arrive at its destination.
- Track lost assets and retrieve them much faster than alternative methods. The more insight you have into each asset, the better you’ll be able to manage them all daily.
- Reduce detention times by understanding when or under what circumstances increased dwell times occur. Analyze your dwell time data to detect patterns and confidently make informed decisions that drive appropriate changes.
- Combining automation with accurate polygon geofencing solutions saves time and money. No more using a wildly inaccurate circular geofence – now you can automatically generate precise boundaries.
5. Avoid Demurrage and Detention Fees
With automated polygon geofencing, you can precisely track your international imports, exports, and other freight routes, avoiding demurrage and detention fees with accurate notifications on approaching LFDs.
Automated polygon geofences help reduce detention and demurrage costs by:
- Automatically tracking and monitoring containers in real-time
- Providing data to help shippers make better decisions
- Improving communication between shippers and carriers
- Automatically notifying shippers of any delays
6. Get Rid of Timecards with Automated Employee Time Logging
Employee timecards require your workers to take time out of their day to log hours, make work notes, and then remember to submit their hours at the end of every workday or workweek. What if your company could eliminate timecards through employee time logging with geofenced boundaries?
An incredibly innovative use case for automatic geofencing is to use this accurate and precise geo-tracking data and visibility to log exactly when employees enter and exit a geographic boundary. So, for instance, if an employee with multiple delivery routes takes a company vehicle at the beginning of their shift, the time they leave the boundary can be logged automatically, and their return time can be added to the log once their shift is complete. The result is a timecard accurate to the second and doesn’t require the employee to stop and think about their hours worked.
7. Boost Employee Safety with Next-Gen Risk Management Solutions
Keeping employees safe is an utmost priority if they travel to unsafe areas or known high risk zones. You can monitor risky zones through automated and accurate geofencing technology and know exactly when and where assets are active. Continuous and real-time tracking is paramount to employee safety when it comes to risk-prone areas such as known speed traps, accident prone areas, high theft areas, or even active protest or assembly areas. One way Kestrel Insights has started doing this is through geofencing data sets related to 15,000 known high risk areas associated with human trafficking in the United States. This allows teams to be aware of these areas and notify employees if they are within close proximity of these locations.
When you have accurate data to show exactly who is in a risk zone at a particular moment, you can periodically check in with those workers, provide them with safety tips, and ensure that there are no irregular or unplanned movements on their journey. Accurate and precise geofencing can significantly improve safety and risk management, especially for workers traveling to or through known risk areas.
8. Improved Trailer Utilization
Precise and accurate geofencing can help you optimize trailer utilization. Trailer owners can begin looking for load-out and tow-away trailer moves whenever a truck enters a yard to utilize the trailer asset efficiently.
A geofence would automatically notify a team or, even better, immediately trigger a SaaS solution that logically places an available trailer into a queue or algorithm that starts looking for the next available use. Trailer networks that have thousands of assets to monitor can be greatly impacted by even single minute delays in notifications. Don’t leave such valuable data points up to chance, automate with polygon geofencing.
9. Reduce Empty Miles & Reduce Emissions
Use geofencing to get trailers back into rotation faster and reduce empty miles, providing a win-win for everyone involved. Without accurate and precise geofencing, a trailer may not be marked as dropped off, and won’t be able to get back into rotation for an easy backhaul. Empty miles are unused space on a truck. That means the freight that didn’t go on that truck will have to go on another, resulting in two trips for different freight hauls vs. putting all the freight on the first trailer.
Wasted miles and extra trips increase carbon emissions. With precise location and trigger alerts, trailers no longer sit idle, have empty space, and do not result in as many emissions.
10. Give Drivers Procedures & Instructions Precisely When Needed
With geofencing and automatic notifications, you can give drivers precise procedures and instructions exactly when those instructions are needed, such as when they cross a geofence boundary.
Compare a wide circular geofence to an accurate polygon geofence in a use case that involves populating check-in instructions for a driver. In situation 1, with the circular geofence, the check-in instructions would appear far away from the true end destination, coming to the drivers attention at the wrong time, when final mile directions are top of the drivers mind. This results in the driver cancelling or swiping away such notificiatons, and therefore not being readily available when they are truly onsite.
Now looking at the same situation with an accurate polygon geofence. The final mile directions and navigation are not interrupted, and right when the driver has arrived at their destination do the check-in instructions become available; perfectly in sync and fluid for a modern supply chain.
11. Get All the Polygon Geofences You Need via a Data Lake
Robust coverage is essential for any data product. What good is it to bring on a system that only covers half of what you need? Kestrel Insights has worked hard to build the most reliable, up-to-date geospatial platform that allows you to retrieve all of the polygon geofences you need through one of the largest geospatial data lakes.
Access and maintenance of data sets, no matter their application, is the only way to ensure the quality of data inputs and supported analytics remains consistent. Gone are the days of a one time data dump to solve all your problems. We live in a fluid world, where data points change, and upkeep is essential for any data lake to remain valuable.
“Kestrel’s keen attention to generating and updating their geofence polygons has led our organization to be confident in generating thousands of ocean vessel events on a daily basis. The team is quick to respond to suggested alterations to polygons, and repeated rounds of data validation and testing have led our team to confidently provide these events to our end customers” says Andrew Carroll, lead data scientist at Vizion API, a container tracking company.
12. Improve Your Freight Move Coordination
Geofencing allows for the real-time tracking of shipments and notifications to be sent to all stakeholders when the cargo is moving within a certain geographic area.
For example, when a shipment enters a defined area, a notification can be sent to the shipper and carrier to update them on its status. This allows them to coordinate the pickup and delivery of the shipment more efficiently. Furthermore, geofencing can be used to set up a virtual perimeter to ensure the security of the freight while it is in transit.
The perimeter boundaries can be adjusted depending on the size and type of shipment. If the shipment moves outside the perimeter, the shipper, carrier, and broker receive an alert. This helps them keep track of the shipment’s progress and take appropriate action if it is in danger. Polygon geofencing provides an efficient and secure way for shippers, brokers, and carriers to coordinate freight moves between each other.
13. Turn Chassis Faster to Deal With Equipment Shortages
The geofencing technology helps optimize the movement of chassis by automatically sending out alerts when a chassis is in a specific area. Drivers will know where to go and how to pick up the chassis quickly. With geofencing, drivers get assigned the best routes for picking up chassis and can easily be tracked and monitored in near-real-time.
Furthermore, geofencing can help identify potential delays, allowing for proactive measures to be taken before any issue arises. This helps reduce costs associated with equipment shortages by helping to ensure that chassis are delivered on time and in the correct location. With geofencing, logistics companies can have more control over the movement of chassis, allowing them to move cargo efficiently and reduce delays.
14. Become a Broker or Shipper of Choice
Polygon geofencing allows shippers and brokers to create virtual boundaries around locations such as warehouses, manufacturing plants, and other points of interest. This will enable them to track their shipments’ location so they can plan routes, schedule pickups, and track shipments accurately. This proactive approach to freight status at all times empowers shippers and carriers to work more effectively with carrier partners. In turn, carriers will see the shipper and broker as shippers and brokers of choice, which means the carrier is more likely to accept tenders and a fair price when capacity is tight. With polygon geofencing, shippers and brokers can save time, improve efficiency, and ensure their carrier partners view them as reliable partners. This ultimately leads to a more successful and profitable logistics operation.
15. Optimize Your Carrier Network
By leveraging geofencing, shippers and brokers can set geographic boundaries for their carrier network, allowing them to identify and track carriers within those boundaries. This allows for improved visibility and control over the carriers in their network, allowing them to optimize their fleet utilization and reduce costs.
With geofencing, shippers and brokers can identify the best routes for their carriers, ensuring the most cost-effective and timely delivery of goods.
Additionally, geofencing can reduce fuel costs by providing more efficient routing options. In turn, this can reduce the total costs of transportation, as shippers and brokers will no longer be relying on inefficient routes and carrier networks. Further, this optimization of miles reduces empty backhauls that put carbon emissions in the air without any freight in the trailer.
Finally, geofencing can provide enhanced analytics to help shippers and brokers make more informed decisions about their operations, leading to further optimization and cost savings. By leveraging this technology, shippers and brokers can optimize their carrier network, leading to improved logistics performance and reduced total costs of transportation.
Implementing Automated Geofencing Into Your Organization With Kestrel
Is your business ready to step into the next generation of automated geofencing technology and take your logistics, transportation, and tracking to the next level? Kestrel Insights has developed precise, automated, and robust geofencing solutions that can amplify your bottom line.
If you’d like to learn more about automated geofencing or request a demo from Kestrel, reach out to our team today, and we’ll be more than happy to show you what geofencing automation can do for your logistics and transportation needs.