When your trailers outnumber your tractors almost five to one, you need peace of mind when it comes to asset protection. For Vaughan Xpress, that meant installing Road Ready’s smart trailer system.
“We had experienced a loss of several assets during the previous two years,” says Jeff Hollis, director of business operations at Vaughan Xpress, based in LaGrange, Georgia. “We were also attempting to remove some of the manual tasks for operations such as daily trailer yard checks.”
Last January, Vaughan Xpress installed the Road Ready system on all its trailers, including both solar-powered and hardwired master control units, as well as temperature sensors in the fleet's refrigerated trailers.
The savings quickly became apparent.
“When you can recover ‘misplaced’ assets, you realize immediate savings,” says Hollis, adding that the unit’s tracking ability also gives his team the visibility of the exact trailer location in case the need arises to adjust deliveries.
Although misplaced and stolen assets was the number one reason Vaughan Xpress added the new system, trailer utilization and the ability to accurately track trailer inventory on drop yards throughout the country in real time has also been a huge benefit. The solar-powered units are easier for Hollis’ technicians to conceal on the trailers, hidden from thieves, and are virtually maintenance-free. The units also can be transferred to another trailer if needed.
“We have had trailers stolen, picked up by other carriers at drop yards by mistake, and had companies using our trailers to transfer materials local to their operation without our permission,” says Hollis. “The ability to establish geo-fences for all of our trailers has pretty much eliminated unauthorized use.”
Closing in on a year with the devices in place, the fleet has experienced improvements beyond asset tracking. Aside from increased efficiency for Vaughan’s dispatch operations and maintenance department, the team has also eliminated certain manual processes, which now frees up time for other tasks.
“We also purchased the reefer temp sensors, which allows us to monitor reefer temps in real time and alarms us if the units begin operating outside of pre-set temp ranges,” adds Hollis. “A company could be on the hook for a considerable amount of money if a load of produce — or other temp-sensitive freight — spoils due to a reefer malfunction before a driver catches it. These sensors allow us to greatly minimize this risk.”
One success story didn’t need a year to develop. The day after the dispatch group received its training, one of the dispatchers noticed one of the company’s trailers in a location where there shouldn’t have been any assets.
“Upon further investigation, it was confirmed that it was definitely our trailer, which was loaded by one of our customers for another carrier by mistake,” explains Hollis. “The trailer had traveled several thousand miles over the course of the previous couple of weeks and had actually ended up not far from our offices. The driver was unaware of the issue, as the trailer ironically was the same make/model as another carrier’s trailer and even had the exact same trailer number. The trailer was recovered, but not without the aid of the tracking unit.”
The recovery of that single trailer, he said, basically paid for Vaughan’s purchase of the tracking system.