IoT Gives Fleets an Edge in Safety, Efficiency — and Customer Service

IoT Gives Fleets an Edge in Safety, Efficiency

The digital transformation enabled by Internet of Things (IoT) devices and services has driven improvements in everything from vehicle maintenance and asset management to employee engagement and customer satisfaction, according to two customers of connected operations cloud provider Samsara.

Read more: IoT Helps Freight Companies Tackle Inflation

Speaking Wednesday (June 15) during Samsara’s investor day event, the customers described ways their companies use IoT data in their operations.

For example, knowing where equipment is at all times is valuable to a company that has to respond if someone has accidentally damaged a natural gas pipe while digging, said Troy Allen, vice president of health and safety equipment at Artera Services. When that happens, a company like Artera Services gets the call — it installs infrastructure for providers of natural gas and electricity.

“We can look on a screen and know that Jim and Joe are two miles down the street,” Allen said. “Instead of trying to deploy somebody through a list of where he’s at, it’s a very quick deployment. We didn’t have that before — just complete and total asset management.”

Quickly Identifying Needed Repairs

Electronic vehicle inspection reports enable a fleet to quickly identify needed repairs on equipment and thereby improve the uptime of the fleet, said Anthony Graham, president of West Division at XPO Logistics, a freight transportation company.

“We used to have stacks of books that were physically filled out by the driver before and after their trip,” Graham said. “So, now, that’s all been put in a digital format.”

In-cab video technology helps prevent both accidents and fraudulent claims, Allen said. In the 18 months since deploying this connected technology, Artera Services has had a 40% reduction in preventable motor vehicle accidents.

“For coaching, it’s allowed us to do so many things that we never had a window into doing,” Allen said.

Taking the Paper out of Freight Shipping

In less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipping, the industry is still accustomed to using paper, so XPO Logistics is promoting digitization that will improve productivity, customer satisfaction and profits, Graham said.

“When you think about in your personal lives and some of the deliveries you get to your home, you don’t have to stay in there and sign a receipt of any sort — it just shows up at your doorstep. We’d like to mimic that,” Graham said.

IoT data also helps companies better manage their equipment at a time when it’s difficult to buy new vehicles due to current inventory shortages.

For one thing, the data helps identify equipment that has been sitting idle. Allen said Artera Services spotted through the data some pickup trucks that had sat for 30 days without being used. Knowing that, the company was able to redeploy the vehicles to where they were in demand.

Real-Time Feedback

The data also helps companies optimize the maintenance of their equipment. With meters that report the number of hours an engine has run, Artera Services found that some motors were failing at 750,000 hours. Knowing that, the company started performing a service on the motors at 725,000 hours in order to keep them running.

“We never missed a day of work, all our people were working and the customer is happy,” Allen said. “We would have never had the insight without having that totality of technology.”

Beyond these examples, there are many other benefits of digitization, Graham said, including real-time feedback on tractor performance and employee performance, and other information that helps boost employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

“There’s a number of aspects where it’s really propelled our business,” Graham said.