If your business has a fleet of trailers, chances are they are not the most important or expensive asset in your company.
Trailers are mainly used in the construction, agriculture, shipping, oil and gas, energy and utility, and retail industries, to name a few. All of those industries have a ton of moving parts and logistics, so it’s understandable why trailers may not be the most prioritized asset in a company.
But that does not mean they aren’t valuable. Trailers are still expensive to replace and any fleet can be impacted if they don’t have enough trailers in rotation.
Whether it’s an oil and gas company or it’s a shipping company, trailers are needed to move large amounts of supplies and equipment from one place to another. Not having enough trailers or having too many damaged trailers can throw a wrench in a company’s workflow, especially if a crucial piece of equipment needs to be transported somewhere but ineffective trailers make that more difficult.
Companies invest in trailers for a reason and want them to be in good condition. Here are four ways businesses can protect their trailer fleets and save money in the long run.
Trailer Tracking Solutions
Always have eyes on your trailer fleet. GPS trailer tracking gives managers insight into a trailer’s location and condition from afar.
Trailer tracking devices are attached to a trailer and send frequent reports to the back-office dashboard or smartphone app. Many trailer tracking devices share more than just standard location data, since some products feature geofence alerts, temperature monitoring capabilities, and send out after-hours usage notifications.
This is a great way to prevent trailers from getting misplaced and in the event a trailer gets stolen, the trackers can help a company relocate it. Trailer tracking can also help with insurance fraud because you have proof of the trailer’s location.
Keep Up on Maintenance
A trailer is no good if it is defective on a regular basis, which is why routine maintenance is critical for any trailer fleet.
Make sure the suspension, taillights, wheel bearings, brakes, and of course tires are all in good working condition before the trailer goes out on the road. You don’t want a back tire to blow out on the freeway simply due to negligence.
Diligently inspecting a trailer before and after using it is a good way to spot potential damage before it becomes an issue on the road. Noticing damage early may result in some trailers getting taken out of rotation for repairs, and while that obviously is not ideal, it is far better than paying for significant trailer repairs or losing money from a collision spurred by a faulty trailer.
Trailers sometimes receive less attention when it comes to repairs because they are nonpowered assets, unlike vehicles and yellow iron machines, but defective trailers can be just as big of a hazard as anything else. Limit trailer failures as much as possible by keeping up with maintenance.
Invest in Backup Cams
Going in reverse is not exactly the easiest thing to do in a regular car, and it is even more difficult backing up a work truck with a trailer hitched to the back.
Installing backup cams on your trailer fleet will make it easier for your truck drivers to back into an area without bumping into something, which will result in fewer collisions affecting the company. There will be some initial costs that come with installing backup cams across an entire trailer fleet, but it will be worth it if it leads to fewer accidents.
Backup cams can also help with insurance costs because in the event of an accident the footage can provide proof of exactly what happened so it becomes clear who is at fault and who is not.
Avoid Substandard Roads (If Possible)
You wouldn’t drive a Ferrari down a gravel road, right? Well, no trailer is as luxurious as a Ferrari, but that does not mean it is a good idea to take trailers down uneven roads if you don’t absolutely have to.
Obviously, this is not completely avoidable, especially for trailer fleets operating in remote areas. One way to get around this is to use older, frailer trailers on smooth highways and reserve the more stable trailers for the bumpy paths since they can withstand it better.
More trips down unkept roads means more stress on the trailer’s suspension and likely more wear and tear to the trailer. Going down bumpy roads also can lead to cargo toppling or getting damaged inside the trailer container.
Ultimately, the best way to save money operating a trailer fleet is to keep the trailers in the best possible condition. That way, you don’t have to spend a lot on repairs and there are more trailers in rotation.
With supply chain issues and inflation tightening fleet budgets, any cost-saving method should be considered.