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TCI Transportation

“With Samsara, we felt confident that we could finally have our operations be in real time.”

Andy Figueroa, Director of Quality Assurance at TCI

Los Angeles-based transportation company TCI Transportation (TCI) relies on Samsara’s real-time data and McLeod LoadMaster® integration to improve their routing, billing, and driver experience. 

  • Samsara’s real-time GPS tracking and LoadMaster® integration helps TCI improve dispatching efficiency, track drivers in real-time, and assign new work orders with ease.

  • The Driver App lets drivers easily track their Hours of Service (HOS) and protects the health and safety of drivers by allowing for contactless document collection. 

  • Document collection, along with GPS tracking and LoadMaster® integration allows TCI to accurately bill customers for detention and streamlines their billing process so they get paid faster. 

Meet TCI Transportation

Based in Southern California, TCI is a transportation and logistics company with over 80 dedicated operations. They partner with clients to provide specialized equipment, drivers, management and tech. TCI specializes in servicing retail, manufacturing, food service, and logistics and warehouse companies with equipment, drivers, and vehicles.

TCI’s fleet consists of over 2,000 trucks, tractors, and trailers, and nearly 1,000 employees. Their fleet managers rely on LoadMaster® from McLeod Software to ensure they’re properly assigning and routing up to 2,100 orders per week. 

TCI’s previous telematics system didn’t have a full GPS, Hours of Service (HOS), and workflow integration with LoadMaster®, so they had no real-time visibility into their drivers’ locations, availability, and delivery ETAs. This made planning routes and managing orders a tedious, manual process. As a result, it took TCI weeks to close out orders and bill their customers. “We were essentially just playing catch-up all the time,” said Andy Figueroa, Director of Quality Assurance at TCI.

Figueroa knew that if he could provide his dispatch team with precise visibility into drivers and deliveries, everything else would follow—from more efficiently assigning orders to faster and more accurate billing to quicker payment times. “When we heard about Samsara’s integration with McLeod LoadMaster®, that was really the final selling point,” said Figueroa. “With Samsara, we felt confident that we could finally have our operations be in real time.”

How TCI deployed the Samsara-McLeod integration

TCI worked with McLeod and Samsara to establish the goals they wanted to achieve with this integration and successfully implement it.

Once the integration was fully installed, the TCI team was able to view vehicles that were paired with Samsara telematics units in the McLeod Symphony Mobile Communications interface and map those units to vehicle records. In order to correctly maintain the mappings between both systems for vehicles and driver records, the TCI team made sure that their vehicles and drivers in Samsara followed the same naming conventions as they did in the LoadMaster system.

TCI’s team wanted to use Samsara’s LoadMaster® integration to automate their route tracking, document collection, and recording of pickup and delivery times. Samsara created settings within the integration to ensure TCI could tackle these goals.

First, Samsara geofenced all of TCI’s delivery and pickup locations and set up Route Stop thresholds. These thresholds establish how long a driver must be inside or outside a geofence before it is captured as a “drop off” or a “pickup”. This setting ensured that TCI could automatically record all arrival and departure times for each of their drivers and push this information to McLeod to update the status of orders. 

Second, Samsara configured TCI’s Route Tracking Window settings. This established when a route would start tracking and stop tracking activity relative to the scheduled start and end times of a driver’s route. This configuration ensures that dispatchers can accurately track the progress of their orders and routes in real-time in McLeod.

Finally, Samsara worked with TCI to identify what types of documents they wanted drivers to collect en route. Samsara then created digital forms in the Samsara Driver App so drivers can easily collect and submit bills of lading and receipts from their phone, which are then pushed through the integration into McLeod. 

After all settings and configurations were established, Samsara hosted a training session for the drivers and dispatchers at TCI. This ensured that TCI’s employees were comfortable using the Samsara Dashboard, Driver App, and LoadMaster® integration so they could gain the most value out of their new set of tools. 

Reducing dispatcher workloads through Samsara’s integration with LoadMaster® 

Before Samsara, TCI couldn’t digitally assign and track driver routes in LoadMaster®; instead they relied on spreadsheets. They would hand drivers a stack of papers, dubbed their “manifesto,” at the beginning of each day with all their route and delivery information. 

Once drivers were en route, dispatchers could only get updates on their status by speaking directly with drivers. And at the end of each day dispatchers had to manually update every order and route status in LoadMaster®, which took a huge toll on efficiency. “Sometimes dispatchers wouldn’t get around to updating orders until the end of the week,” said Figueroa. “And I don’t want them spending the weekend updating LoadMaster®, so billing our customers would get pushed back.”

“With Samsara, our dispatchers don’t have to spend their days manually processing orders. It has freed up their time to focus on ensuring their drivers are running efficiently.” 

Now, TCI’s dispatchers can automate their route assignment and tracking by leveraging Samsara’s real-time GPS tracking and LoadMaster® integration. Through this API integration, dispatchers can assign and share orders with drivers via the Samsara Driver App along with their route, shipping details, and specific delivery instructions. 

Furthermore, the real-time GPS data pulled from Samsara Vehicle Gateways (VGs) provide TCI dispatchers with increased visibility into the status of the day’s routes. When a driver begins their route, Samsara identifies that the driver has left the geofence around their starting location. This information is pulled into LoadMaster® and automatically changes a drivers’ order to “In Progress.” And because TCI has also geofenced all delivery destinations, Samsara can push geofence data into LoadMaster® when a driver drops off an order and automatically change the status to “Delivered.”

“With Samsara, our dispatchers don’t have to spend their days manually processing orders,” said Figueroa. “It has freed up their time to focus on ensuring their drivers are running efficiently.” 

Assigning new orders faster

In addition to improving general order and route management, if a new order comes in dispatchers can now more easily assign it to a driver. Before Samsara, dispatchers would have to manually contact drivers to see where they were and if they had hours left to run a new delivery. 

Now, when a new order comes in to LoadMaster®, dispatchers look in their Samsara dashboard to see the HOS statuses, GPS locations, and ETAs of their en route drivers. This lets them quickly identify which drivers are about to finish their deliveries, are closest to the new order, and still have hours left in their shift. 

Using this information, dispatchers can then assign new orders to drivers in LoadMaster® and drivers receive their updated routes directly through the Samsara Driver App. “It just makes our dispatchers’ jobs much easier,” said Figueroa. “Especially when they have multiple drivers on different schedules.”

Improving billing accuracy and speed through the LoadMaster® integration

Manually updating orders not only created inefficient workflows, it also caused significant delays in payment because TCI can’t bill their customers until dispatchers have completed an order.With Samsara, all documents are digitally collected by drivers and route statuses are automatically updated. All dispatchers have to do is pull those documents into McLeod LoadMaster®. The process is much easier and less time consuming, which has allowed TCI to bill their customers faster.

Additionally, TCI has a subclause in some of their contracts with customers that allows them to bill for the detention of their drivers. If drivers are held at a pickup or delivery location for the period of time specified in the contract, TCI charges their customers for additional time.

Before Samsara, TCI had to rely on drivers’ handwritten notes on delivery documents to bill for detention. As a result, TCI usually didn’t bill customers for detention and often had to eat the costs.

Now, with real-time GPS tracking, Samsara recognizes if a TCI driver is stuck at a customer’s location for close to an hour and pushes this information to McLeod. McLeod then sends a series of emails to the customer: a warning that they’re approaching detention, a notification they’ve reached detention, and a final email with the charges for detaining their driver. This allows TCI to finally bill accurately for detention.

“With this integration we now have accurate data, not just a bunch of data. We can now make educated decisions to help us generate more revenue and grow our business.” 

Samsara also helped TCI identify that they were under-pricing some of their routes. For their business in the Southwest, TCI pays drivers based on their mileage and hours. By gaining accurate GPS tracking with Samsara, TCI discovered some driver’s routes were taking more time, and thus costing more, than they were charging customers for. “With this integration we now have accurate data, not just a bunch of data,” said Figueroa, “So we can now make educated decisions to help us generate more revenue and grow our business.” 

Protecting drivers with contactless deliveries 

When the COVID-19 outbreak started, TCI’s top priority was protecting their drivers. 

Drivers were most concerned about exchanging paperwork while en route. From bills of lading, to fuel receipts, to proof of delivery—TCI’s drivers receive many documents from others throughout their shift. “We looked to Samsara to see how we could leverage the McLeod integration to better handle our paperwork,” said Figueroa. “We wanted to make sure we’re protecting the health of our drivers and their families.” 

TCI was already collecting some documents through the Driver App, but they wanted to expand this process so drivers didn’t have to touch any paper. Using Samsara, they built out custom forms to collect information on load sizes and ticket numbers. Drivers simply snap photos of their tickets and documents in the Driver App.“ We set up and tested a new form in under 10 minutes,” said Figueroa. “The platform is so intuitive that it doesn’t take any expertise to create the customizations we need to be successful.” 

The power of real-time data and integrations

With Samsara, TCI finally has real-time visibility across their entire fleet. And with Samsara’s McLeod LoadMaster® integration, they can easily leverage this data to improve their dispatching efficiency, document collection, and billing accuracy and time. “Samsara has helped us function as a more collaborative company,” said Figueroa. “We have the visibility into our operations to achieve the goals and milestones we’ve set for ourselves.”

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