Location intelligence is integral to successful fleet operations. Beyond simply tracking their assets’ locations, robust location data saves time, reduces driver frustration, increases system accuracy, and enhances the overall safety of pickups and deliveries.
This was a key takeaway from the Trimble Insight session, "Connected Locations: Overview & Integrations Across The Transportation Ecosystem,” hosted by Brad Young, Director of Trimble Transportation. In this session, Young explained how Trimble uses precise locations, geofencing and other metadata, like dwell times, to help fleets better utilize their assets and increase their overall operational efficiency.
The Evolution of Location Data
The core question Young addressed during the session was, "How do we create value from this vast web of locations?" To date, Trimble has a persistently-updated library of nearly 5 million trucking-specific locations, referred to as “Places,” and earlier this year launched a new data integration called “Connected Locations.” This integration delivers the Connected Locations data within other solutions for more actionable insights, route planning, and fleet management.
For seasoned drivers with established routes, knowing where to go may seem straightforward. However, for those navigating new locations daily, having precise and current data is invaluable not just for a better understanding of a facility’s location and where to enter, but a more accurate accounting of when they arrive or depart a location.
The session began by highlighting the journey many fleets and technology providers are on. This journey has progressed from using basic points of interest for routing to using precise geofencing solutions. Currently, according to Young, each of the 4.9 million locations in Trimble’s database are equipped with geofencing capabilities to help fleets improve routing, data capture, documentation of detention time and other events.
Beyond Arrivals and Departures
Originally, the focus of geofencing was tracking arrivals and departures. However, as the industry's needs evolved, so did geofencing technology. Precise geofences, combined with truck specific entry & exit gate information provide the ability to help drivers find their way efficiently, improves safety, customer satisfaction and overall productivity.
Trimble also gives fleet planners and drivers access to metadata about each location such as hours of operation and amenities, Young said. The power of geofencing extends far beyond knowing when a driver arrives or departs. Fleets that use Trimble can add custom geofences at locations to help drivers find specific areas within a larger location.
Many fleets start with using the “public” place that Trimble has at their customers’ shipping and receiving locations and begin personalizing from there. The flexibility of the platform lets fleets adjust their geofences to customize their route planning and navigation systems to guide drivers to specific entrances or exits, thereby enhancing driver efficiency and safety. He also noted that location intelligence can be added to Trimble’s CoPilot navigation app to give drivers audible information such as site-specific instructions when they cross a geofence.
Driving Value through Data
Trimble has amassed a database of dwell times at each location, so fleets know how long drivers will wait to be loaded or unloaded at customer locations. Fleets can use this data to gain a more accurate picture of their activities and better calculate rates when determining who they want to do business with.
Additionally, the dwell time data derived from Connected Locations has been integrated into several Trimble solutions, including our transportation management systems (TMSs), as well as Trimble Fleet Manager. This data provides key insights into the fleet’s activities and performance.
Knowing not only when a driver arrives at a location but also how long they spend there, compared to the average, can offer insights into driver behavior, efficiency, and workload distribution. Whether you use a mapping platform for rate calculations, route planning, in-cab navigation, or more, location data plays a crucial role by giving users precise data on arrival and departure locations as well as dwell times.
The Power of Integration & Future Possibilities
Trimble has taken the concept of integration to a new level. It's not just about having location data; it's about how you use it. Young explained how the Places offering is backed by a robust and open API, thus making it seamless to integrate with other Trimble and Non-Trimble products.
Young demonstrated how the true value of location data lies in its accessibility. He showed how user-friendly tools and interfaces allow both developers and non-technical users to harness the power of location data. Whether you're importing data from various sources or creating custom geofences, the process is intuitive and efficient.
Young hinted at exciting future possibilities. With the integration of AI and machine learning, the database management of locations could become more automated and streamlined, which could be a game-changer for Trimble as its location database continues to expand. Young stated that Trimble is actively engaging in discussions with shippers to integrate location data even further upstream in the supply chain. These projects help to ensure that location accuracy is maintained from the source, making the data more valuable and reliable for all stakeholders.
Curating location data is not just a technological feat but a testament to the industry's hunger for precision. The session revealed the potential of using precise location data. It's not just about knowing where something is; it's about how you use that information to create value, enhance efficiency, and make informed decisions.
As Trimble continues to push the boundaries of location technology and integration, fleets can expect to see innovations that will enable them to better manage driver routes and shipper RFPs to optimize their freight networks.
We will continue sharing valuable insights and key takeaways from Insight 2023 over the coming weeks – keep your eyes on our blog for the latest updates! View all of our Insight 2023 coverage here.