trailer tracking guide

The 5-minute Trailer Tracking Guide

There are many trailer tracking options in the marketplace, all with different capabilities and strengths. Narrowing it down to the right solution for your business and needs can be tough. So here are some things to think about when evaluating which tracking and trailer management solution is right for your trailer business!

Aside from knowing where your trailers are located, you’re going to want to ask GPS telematics providers any number of questions, such as:

  • How will you streamline other areas of my business?
  • How will you help me keep detention times low?
  • Will you show me when cargo is loaded and unloaded?
  • If you transport food, a good question to ask is: how will you ensure and prove that my transported goods stay under the regulation temperatures?

Trailer Tracking Locates

Have the ability to check where your assets are, if they’re on or off, at what speed they’re moving at, location history and more.

At the heart of trailer tracking, is the actual GPS tracking. If you’re managing hundreds of trailers at many different locations, needing to know where all your trailers are at any given time is a key to operating efficiently.

So whether you’re a trailer company managing 10 trailers or 500+ trailers, adopting trailer tracking literally pays off. For example, the average cost of a trailer is $45,000. Now, imagine losing 5 trailers a year. That’s equivalent to $225,000 in losses, a big hit to your business.

You then need to think about network coverage and verify whether or not your GPS tracking provider connects to networks that correspond with your trailer routes. You’ll want to evaluate if you’ll need network coverage that can reach rural areas or surrounding countries like Canada or Mexico. One of Spireon’s customers, Pan American Express, moves extensively throughout Canada, US and Mexico and uses our FleetLocate solution to get the coverage they need.


Truckers spend as much as 40 hours a week on detention. And detention costs the trucking industry more than $3 billion in lost time and productivity, according to the FMCSA. Detention is a huge time loss, if not handled appropriately. Some trailer tracking solutions however, have the capability to report on all sorts of things that prevent long detention times.

For example, our FleetLocate software can tell you how long a trailer has been detained at a customer location, pull reports for trailers that have exceeded grace periods (to your designation), and provide a screen view of how many inactive trailers are at each customer site.

Being able to check if your cargo is empty or full can cut down on manual checking, especially if you oversee many assets.

As a result of having this real-time visibility and data on your trailers, you’ll be able to reinforce to your customers the importance of unloading or loading your trailers as quickly as possible or face fines as a result of taking too long.

Yard Checks

Our FleetLocate solution filters trailer assets by location and landmarks, and lets you know which trailers are active or inactive, as well as the percentage of inactive trailers.  

Instead of carrying around clipboards to track which trailers are loaded or not, or checking how many are left at the end of the day, GPS tracking software can automate yard checks for you. This function will cut out manual yard counts and outdated information – which means your drivers won’t have to wander the yard wasting hours trying to locate the correct trailer.

Driver Behavior

If you’re having trouble with monitoring driver behavior, or just need to find ways to better manage liability and lower accidents, telematics solutions can give you the data insight into several facets of how your drivers are performing.

Telematics solutions measure all sorts of driving behaviors, including:

  • Speeding
  • Hard Braking
  • Rapid Acceleration
  • Hard Cornering
  • Vehicle Idling

You might want to target certain specific behaviors for immediate coaching. We recognize that need, which is why our FleetLocate solutions includes in-cab buzzers that go off after a certain action (i.e. speeding) and customizable alerts on speeding or unauthorized use. We even have a gamification app that scores driver behavior and encourages safe driving with some friendly competition. With these tools, you can be on top of your drivers’ behaviors and manage fleet safety more effectively.

 Temperature Sensor


If you’re carrying temperature-controlled goods, you must have a temperature data logger in place that provides proof or reporting to ensure that your shipped goods are under the mandated temperatures at all tim
es. Similar to location tracking, you should be able to receive customized reports and alerts such as: ongoing temperature control unit reports and alerts on battery life, or urgent notifications of critical temperature fluctuations or when the fridge is on or off within a selected range.

We have just released our new temperature monitoring product as part of our trailer intelligence solutions. Please contact us for more information.

Hardware Reliability & Battery Life

battery fleet management system

Our FleetLocate software lets users know if their GPS trackers are properly tracking by checking the battery status report.  

Telematics devices, or any mobile device for that matter, are virtually useless if they aren’t able to sustain battery life for the duration you need. In addition to having top-notch GPS devices that can accurately locate your trailers in real-time, it also has to be able to last the length of the trips your trailers travel. If your trailers are going cross-country, you might have to think about choosing a GPS provider that can give you long-lasting GPS devices.

Since many of our GPS devices are powered by the vehicle’s battery, they can communicate and send you alerts of when the vehicle battery is low. Using these devices are also a great way to check up on vehicle maintenance.

Integration with other Software 

trailer management fleet integration

Many transportation companies rely on other software systems for a multitude of business needs, like for dispatch capabilities. Make sure you identify a GPS provider that can work to integrate their trailer tracking software to your existing software. For instance, we at Spireon have partnered up with McLeod and integrated our FleetLocate trailer solution with McLeod’s Dispatch Loadmaster Enterprise software, as a way to help our customers enhance their trailer visibility and utilization.

Want more information on GPS trailer tracking systems and solutions? Visit our page here, or call us for a free detailed demo at 1.800.557.1449.

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