Truck Satellites

Truck Satellites – One Tool, Many Benefits

Of all the technological innovations that have been introduced to the trucking industry in the past few years, satellite technology has probably had the greatest scope of impact. With practical benefits for just about everyone involved — dispatchers, drivers and customers — truck satellites are making all aspects of the transport industry more efficient.

Truck Satellites: What Do They Do?

A better question might just be what don’t they do. Truck satellites monitor all aspects of a truck’s performance, from the engine’s inner workings to the driver’s performance, to the truck’s geographical location. They can even do so outside the range of regular cellular reception, which makes them reliable over greater distances.

Benefits for Dispatchers

Truck satellites use GPS to track the truck’s progress, which keeps dispatchers current on a vehicle’s whereabouts, but that’s only the beginning. The computer is insightful enough to anticipate potential problems on a driver’s itinerary. They can also plan alternate routes if there are issues on the road ahead, making the dispatcher’s job much easier. This is especially helpful for cities like Boston that are known for having many low-clearance bridges; satellite GPS simply re-routes drivers away from roads that are unsuitable for their vehicle.

The other benefit for dispatchers is that it gives them the accurate information they need to make good decisions when last-minute changes are needed. A parcel in New York needs urgent pickup? Not a problem—dispatchers can be alerted as to which drivers are closest and assign that pickup with the utmost efficiency. The result is more efficient service with less time wasted.

Benefits for Maintenance Staff

On board satellite equipment can keep track of the vehicle’s overall performance and can send alerts when a component may be failing. This is a terrific benefit for maintenance technicians because it gives them advance warning so they can take preventative measures before a problem develops.

Benefits for Drivers

In addition to helping save time on the road through route effective navigation, truck satellites electronically log many aspects of a vehicle’s performance and track hours of service. This makes it much quicker and easier for drivers to complete their mandatory logs, since all they need to do is fill in the few bits of information that the system has not already recorded. It also makes hours of service compliance easier, since the system monitors driving time—so that drivers don’t have to. The system’s detailed records keeping makes it easier to provide the hours of service information to enforcement officers, if necessary.

Benefits for Customers

By far, the most common reason for contacting our customer service department is shipment tracking—and that’s an area where satellites provide a great deal of assistance. They allow dispatchers to locate trucks without needing to wait until the driver is able to answer his or her phone (which is not always possible when they’re driving or on a break). As a result, it’s easier for customers to get reliable, up-to-the-minute tracking info for their shipments.

It’s difficult to overstate the benefits these units offer; up-to-the-minute data helps every one of us perform our jobs better, so the result really is win-win! Satellite systems are already installed on most Wadhams trucks. Less than truckload—LTL—trucks are the only exception, but they should be included by the end of 2015.

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Dave Bardwell

Dave Bardwell

As the Maintenance Operations Supervisor at Wadhams Enterprises, Dave develops programs for monitoring financial results, training technicians, enforcing safety programs, maintaining standards of service, and developing a parts and material procurement program. He is responsible for multiple company-owned heavy duty vehicle service facilities.