Actionable Data Matters: 4 Ways Real-Time Information Can Improve Your Operations

February 28, 2024

Michelle Liang Headshot
Michelle Liang

Product Marketing Manager


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Is having more data always a good thing? As the tide of data surges, it’s a question that’s becoming more urgent. IDC has estimated that by 2025 there will be almost 56 billion IoT devices that will generate nearly 80B zettabytes—that's 80 followed by 21 zeros—of data. 

In the IoT-heavy world of physical operations, organizations are discovering that more data can be immensely valuable, but only if that data is accurate and actionable. You can have zettabytes of data, but it won't be useful unless you can identify trends and insights from it. 

For example, when companies rely too heavily on inaccurate and lagging indicators, it becomes harder to spot patterns that could help prevent incidents, and companies can miss windows of opportunity to make changes before problems occur. In fact, Gartner has estimated that data quality issues can cost organizations up to $15 million per year.  

"Data is great, but it's what you do with the data that matters," explains John Maher, Director of Fleet Maintenance at XPO, a leading less-than-truckload transportation provider. A Samsara customer, XPO uses real-time data to drive efficiencies across their operations. With up-to-date reporting and other tools, “We can remove the noise from our deluge of data and drill into it to find the insights that help make our business run more efficiently," he says.

Every organization is different, but real-time data can help unlock significant improvements in areas that matter to a broad range of companies in a variety of physical operations industries. Read on to discover four ways up-to-date, actionable data can enable you to improve your operations.

1. Take action to prevent costly problems before they occur with real-time alerts.

For Aegion, a multinational provider of pipeline services, lagging and inaccurate temperature data from their reefers mean a substantial blow to their bottom line. "One of our main lines of business is manufacturing and installing liners that fit into existing pipes," says Guy Gordon, Director of Asset Management. "The liners need to be kept at a certain temperature, and if a shipment goes above that, the liner turns into a big rock and you need to cut it out of the truck with a chainsaw. The product is ruined, and each incident can cost anywhere from $35,000 to $500,000."

With Samsara, Aegion has been able to eliminate manual temperature monitoring for their reefer fleet, avoiding over $6 million in annual costs due to high-temperature events. To do so, the company uses Actionable Alerts to automatically filter the right data to the right people, and send relevant data to other applications as soon as an alert or event occurs. 

Moreover, Samsara has helped free up over 500 hours of manpower each year that can be used to improve other areas of Aegion's operations. As Jack Eller, Aegion’s Logistics Coordinator explains, "With the old system, on a busy day I would get a high temperature alert every 90 seconds during an eight-hour shift. Now the alerting system streamlines alerts to managers in the field. It's a huge improvement." 

2. Identify trends that are meaningful to your business goals with customizable reporting.

A leading business-to-business distribution company, Veritiv operates across the United States. The company strongly believes in sustainability, so when they discovered that most of their emissions came from their fleet of more than 500 trucks, they were determined to cut emissions in half by 2030. “The easiest way to lower your emissions isn’t only by changing the type of fuel you use, or using electric trucks. It’s not driving the miles in the first place,” explains Will Vining, Senior Director, Supply Chain Optimization.

To achieve this, Veritiv combined existing route optimization solutions with Samsara reports to track miles, spot trends that were leading to increased emissions, and reduce the total number of miles driven by their fleet. As a result, Veritiv achieved a 32% reduction in emissions in just three years, well on their way to meeting their goal.

Moreover, with accurate data, the company has been able to identify and coach drivers to operate more efficiently and sustainably. “Through Samsara reporting, we have the ability to see specific vehicles and where the idling occurred. This unlocks actionable insights—for example, we might find out that a certain driver is driving well, except for one location. Then, we can coach drivers to let them know where they’re idling and make a plan to reduce it,” says Jon Ayars, Senior Manager of Delivery Optimization and Fleet.

3. Empower employees to build safer habits with access to real-time data.

Nutrien Ag is the largest agriculture retailer in the world, serving more than 500,000 customers in the U.S. and Canada. The company has created a strong culture of safety to protect their 12,000+ drivers and the communities they serve. 

Despite this, Nutrien Ag noticed that their accident rates weren't going down, even though they were coaching on behaviors like speeding and harsh braking. The issue was a lack of real-time data. “Our previous safety coaching was manual. We didn’t have in-cab visibility into distracted driving or instantaneous correction of risky behaviors," says Adam Lorenz, Senior Director, Strategic Fleet and Procurement Operations.

Now, Nutrien Ag uses Samsara AI Dash Cams to detect distracted driving. When an incident occurs, drivers are prompted to self-correct in the moment with In-Cab Alerts, allowing employees to take a hands-on approach to their own training. Using real-time driving data, drivers have reduced unsafe and distracted driving by 50% in just three months.

4. Discover leading indicators to proactively address issues like maintenance.

The consolidated government of the City and County of Denver is made up of 44 divisions and agencies that provide a wide range of services, from infrastructure maintenance to animal control.

The City has hundreds of vehicles across their operations, and trying to maintain such a large fleet with inaccurate, siloed data was a significant challenge. "We were flying blind and wanted to standardize with one solution,” says Tony Schwegmann, Safety and Industrial Hygiene Supervisor. His colleague, Bill Zollo—Manager, Department of Transportation & Infrastructure, Fleet Management Division—adds: “Our old systems only gave us lagging indicators and information after an incident, when it was too late.” 

To achieve this, the City pulls regular reports from Samsara to proactively spot vehicle issues of a more serious nature before they result in significant down time. "For example, missing a diesel particulate filter fault code could lead to the filter becoming so clogged that it requires removal and cleaning, resulting in additional cost and downtime for the vehicle,” Zollo explains. “By checking these critical codes on a weekly basis, we remain on top of issues before they become bigger problems.” 

Samsara can help your organization turn data into actionable insights.

Samsara enables organizations to take action with data with a variety of solutions. These include:

Actionable Alerts: Actionable Alerts allow organizations to promptly address problems with timely and relevant updates that provide rich context. For example, Smart Notifications enable organizations to automatically filter information to the appropriate people, allowing users to easily configure and manage alerts at scale. You can also use webhooks to programmatically send relevant data to other applications as soon as an alert or event occurs, without the need for manual intervention. 

Attributes: Attributes help you add rich context and clarity to your data by assigning customizable characteristics to your employees and assets. This helps you drill down into what you need more quickly, and helps provide valuable context for the data you’re looking at to enable you to make more informed decisions.

Custom Reports: To identify new opportunities to improve your operations, organizations need a way to easily draw new insights from their data. Samsara Custom Reports enable organizations to easily derive insights across their operational data—including fuel efficiency, safety, and compliance—natively within The Samsara Platform. To learn more about how Samsara can help you discover and manage data insights, click here.


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