Modular Home Shipping: How to Avoid Damage and Save Money Using Tracking Tech

Modular Homes Transport

Modular homes are becoming increasingly popular to build affordable and sustainable housing and for their use on construction sites as well. However, one of the biggest challenges with modular homes is the risk of damage after it’s been manufactured. This includes the entire journey, starting from when they leave the facility, through their storage period, and during transportation on the road where they are exposed to a variety of hazards, including rough roads, weather conditions, and accidents. As a result, it is not uncommon for modular homes to suffer damage during transit.

When a home is damaged, there are an array of problems logistics and quality managers must face, ranging from expensive reworks to conflicts with transport suppliers – both of which anyone could do without. 

What are the common causes of damage?

There are two main areas of damage that can occur in a modular home during transport and delivery – Impact related and environmental. This can be broken down into

1. Impact problems – cause cracks and breakages

  • Potholes
  • Accidents
  • Rough driving
  • Inadequate strapping and wrapping
  • Poor route planning – resulting in scrapes and knocks.

2. Environmental problems – can cause damp and cracks.

  • Left without covers on
  • Weather changes not accounted for – causes dew.
  • Left in exposed state for too long.
Modular Homes Built

Impact Damage 

Focusing on the impact problems firstly, these are often the biggest cause of damage to the units during transport due to the nature of moving the modular homes from manufacturer to end client. The units are usually strapped to the back of a flatbed lorry and driven across country, often hundreds of miles away. 

Lorries hitting potholes and sudden sharp breaking or movement from the lorry can shift the modular units on the back resulting in hairline cracks and twisting of the frames, which can often go unnoticed until the unit has been delivered – This is especially true is the unit is wrapped in heavy duty tarpaulin or opaque wrap. 

Although accidents are unforeseen events, they can have a massive impact on the structure of the modular homes, resulting in large cracks or even full breakages of the homes if the lorry is hit. These cracks will often render the home unusable resulting in significant downtime and added rework time for both manufacturer and client. 

Oftentimes poor route planning can have the biggest impact on modular homes transportation. Narrow roads, routes through built up areas and low bridges or walkways can contribute to the damage caused to the units. Knocks, scrapes, exterior damage to the modular homes, and on some occasions, the units being knocked off the lorry due to low bridges or tight turns can have severe knock-on effects to the supply chain.  

Modular Homes Transport

Environmental Damage

On the other side, environmental damage to modular homes are a bit trickier to see with the naked eye, as often the damage is done under the surface and not spotted until it is too late.

Rain and dew are the two main causes of environmental damage to a modular house during transport. Units are often transported in several parts so the area where the 2 halves or sections meet can be exposed to the elements. 

Usually,  modular homes being transported are covered with a tarpaulin or cling-film type wrap in the hopes of keeping the rain off units. However, even with those used at the start of the journey, they can be ripped, torn, or even lost during transport – resulting in the unit being left unprotected from the weather. Rain damage to modular homes is not always visible right away, but the damage has already been done to the unit. 

The Dew Effect

The second element of environmental problems in modular home transport is dew getting into the units. What do we mean by dew though?

Dew forms when the temperature of a surface cools down to a temperature that is cooler than the dew point of the air next to it. When this happens water vapour will condense into droplets depending on the temperature. The temperature at which droplets form is called the dew point. – Met Office 

When a modular home is transported under a tarpaulin over several days, it can easily be subjected to changes in temperature, especially at night or early morning. These changes, as explained above, can result in a large amount of dew being formed under the tarpaulin, allowing water to soak into the modular home.  This water then forms damp if left untreated or dried out and can cause large amounts of damage very quickly to the units. 

What’s The Solution?

By utilising a GPS tracker like Pathfindr’s, both manufacturers and customers have full visibility from the moment the home is loaded onto the truck until it is unloaded at the end site. 

So, how does it work?

A GPS unit is attached to the home before it is wrapped for transit with several smaller beacons attached at key areas of the transporter to give multiple area readings. The GPS and Bluetooth beacons then record multiple points of data including:

Location: On the road location tracking, updating every 5 minutes on route. Set up alerts based on location.

Environmental: Monitor temperature (high and low) and dew point. Set up alerts based on temperature and humidity.

Impact: Has the unit suffered excessive knocks and hits? Set up alerts based on impact.

Motion: Data available to see how long the home was moving for.

Location History: Track the entire journey from factory to site.

One Portal, Many Assets

Pathfindr’s intuitive portal allows you to track as many assets as you’d like. Once set up, you can name your assets in your chosen convention, inviting as many different users to view the data as possible.

By having full visibility of impact and environmental data, both sides of the party can benefit from the data and work collaboratively rather than pointing fingers each other.

For more information or to see a demonstration of how our dedicated tracking and environmental portal can increase your supply chain visibility book a meeting below with one of our experts.