Learn more about connected asset management with this in-depth guide.
All assets and equipment are crucial to fleet-dependent businesses. Yet some are harder to keep tabs on than others—or simply get overlooked. It's common to focus on vehicles and other powered assets when it comes to implementing GPS-based telematics for tracking purposes. Unpowered assets, however, are just as vital to fleet and company success. You can use the same telematics technology that tracks powered assets to keep track of valuable unpowered assets, too, with battery powered GPS asset trackers.
What are unpowered assets and what do you need to monitor them?
Non-powered assets include generators, tanks, gear boxes, tools, dumpsters, shipping containers, trailers, and any other equipment that cannot run under its own power supply yet is crucial to the operational productivity of a business.
To monitor unpowered assets, you can use the same telematics-based GPS technology that you use to monitor powered vehicles. Keep in mind that the GPS device must have its own power source, whether that's a rechargeable or one-time use battery with a long battery life. It must also be rugged enough (weather proof and waterproof) to withstand any extreme conditions the asset that it’s monitoring might encounter. You can opt for self-powered asset trackers with a battery life of up to four years, or choose from other options including 12V DC, 24V DC, 48V AC, 110V AC or 220V AC. You can still track assets even when they’re outside of the cellular network 4G/5G LTE range by choosing GPRS cellular network data. By implementing GPS tracking, your organization can stay informed about a range of asset-related conditions, from temperature changes and door openings to vibrations or movement.
The benefits of battery powered tracking devices for unpowered assets
Whether you’re trying to get better visibility into equipment in general, want to improve asset utilization, or want to improve maintenance, using an integrated GPS-based asset tracking solution can help. As a company that operates a fleet of vehicles and assets, monitoring your unpowered assets in addition to your powered assets can provide distinct benefits.
Utilization and inventory management: As your fleet grows, the number of assets you manage increases. This can prove challenging for your administrative staff, particularly when it comes to asset tracking and inventory management. Not only is it hard to get an accurate count of what assets your company has, it’s difficult to determine how each is being utilized. While all assets aren’t likely being used simultaneously, a good number are probably being used for multiple purposes at the same time.
GPS-based tracking software can help you get a better sense of which assets are being used, at what location and in what way. It can also highlight which assets are operating at optimal productivity and which aren't. This type of full asset visibility improves your resource efficiency and bottom line, and enables you to:
- Identify assets that can be sold or repurposed elsewhere
- Track asset usage by project to improve cost analysis
- Know when specific assets are in use, and if it’s in the manner for which they’re intended
- Get a centralized, comprehensive view of all data to improve asset utilization
- Use utilization reports to learn how often assets are used across geographic locations
- Make more informed decisions around renting additional assets vs. redeploying underutilized, owned assets
- Simply decide what you want to monitor and how often you want the GPS asset tracker to report—frequency and manner of reporting is configurable to meet your business needs.
Security: Nearly 1,000 pieces of commercial equipment are reported stolen each month.1 One stolen asset can lead to significant replacement costs, lost opportunity costs, unplanned downtime and customer and employee frustration. Whether standalone, or attached to a vehicle, your fleet equipment requires the same protections and precautions as your fleet vehicles. Investing in GPS tracking technology can provide added asset security, whether to deter thieves from stealing or to locate missing assets. It also affords:
- Near real-time notification when an asset is used during unauthorized time periods or off-hours
- Near real-time notification if an asset is moved or towed
- Near real-time notification if an asset is taken outside specified geofenced areas
- Ability to locate assets and assist in theft recovery using breadcrumb tracking
- Ability to leverage instant alerts to immediately notify the police
- If a driver steals a vehicle connected to non-powered equipment, see which driver’s fob was used to start the ignition and give authorities that information
- Digital backup of stolen asset data for proof of ownership in filing a claim
Maintenance: Poorly maintained equipment and vehicles age faster, requiring replacement 50,000 miles before comparable regularly maintained vehicles or pieces of equipment.2 Properly maintaining assets is one of the most important steps you can take to maintain fleet productivity and profitability. Yet you may need help transitioning from manual recordkeeping to electronic-based monitoring to stay on top of service and repairs. Deploying a GPS-based asset tracking solution can help mitigate maintenance issues by getting ahead of them before they happen, including helping you to:
- Reduce costly downtime and minimize job stoppage via preventive maintenance
- Achieve proactive, integrated maintenance management via diagnostic alerts
- Improve maintenance scheduling accuracy based on metrics (e.g. engine hours)
- Hold verified, paperless inspections to ensure all equipment is in optimal condition
- Create alerts for parts when they need replacing
What to look for in an asset tracking solution
When investing in GPS asset tracking technology, it’s important to look for solutions that provide comprehensive features that work with your unique needs. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- The ability to track powered AND non-powered assets on one system
- A platform that is intuitive, comprehensive and easy-to-use
- A solution that seamlessly integrates with your existing systems, fleet management technology and other software (like OEM factory-installed telematics)