Customer Tip: Using Proximity Search to Exonerate Your Crew

August 08, 2019

This blog post is a part of our new “Customer Tips” series that highlights innovative ways our customers are using Samsara. Have a great tip to share? Email customer-tips@samsara.com to get in touch with our team.

Whether you’re an owner-operator or part of a large fleet, you never want to find yourself getting blamed for something you didn't do.

That’s just one of the reasons why Trees Atlanta — a 14-vehicle non-profit focused on preserving and conserving urban forests — uses Samsara.

Tabitha Schwartz, Trees Atlanta’s Logistics and Data Manager, uses Samsara to manage her fleet and six crews across the city. Every day the fleet transports equipment and debris, as well as planting, restoring, and maintaining Atlanta’s trees.

Delivering a positive experience for their community is Trees Atlanta’s number one priority. As such, Schwartz was very concerned when the organization received concerned calls that crews had left tree limbs on the street or that crews were planting trees in yards without permission.

Schwartz and David Simpson, Trees Atlanta’s Planting Manager, spoke with the crews and heard that the complaints were unfounded. Meanwhile, the organization’s project plans indicated no plans to be in the areas associated with the complaints. It seemed more likely that the complaint was associated with the work of some other organization doing similar projects -- but Schwartz and Simpson knew it was critical to protect Trees Atlanta’s public reputation and relationship with the city.

To get hard proof, Schwartz and Simpson turned to the Samsara dashboard. Utilizing proximity search, which let them pinpoint vehicle location related to a specific address and time, Schwartz and her team were able to determine where their vehicles were at the time of any given complaint. This capability gave Schwartz the knowledge and data to confidently defend the organization.


How to exonerate your drivers using Samsara’s proximity search:

    1. Use proximity search to find the location in question
    2. Narrow down the time of the concern
    3. View vehicles and trip details by time and location to gather proof for exoneration


1. Use proximity search to find the location in question

In one situation, a citizen called about a crew planting trees in her yard without permission. Simpson felt this was unlikely, so he asked the citizen for her address and typed the address into Samsara’s proximity search to see if any of Trees Atlanta’s trucks were in the area.


2. Narrow down the time in question

Next, Simpson asked the citizen the day and time she noticed crews planting trees in her yard. With this information, Simpson is able to select from the times in the drop-down menu or input a custom time down to the minute.


3. View vehicles and trip details by time and location to gather proof for exoneration

After Simpson selected the start and end time for the proximity search, he was able to see which (if any) of his vehicles were at the specified location during that time. If multiple vehicles appeared, Simpson could click “view trip” to verify the trip details and route. In one case, Simpson found that one of his vehicles was in the location of the complaint at the same time and was able to work with Schwartz to coach the driver of that vehicle to avoid the behavior or action that caused the citizen complaint.

But more often, no vehicles appeared in the search—proving that Trees Atlanta’s vehicles and crew were not at the site at the time of the complaint. With the confidence from the proximity report and the project plans, Schwartz was able to share this data back with the citizen. “We feel even more organized—we not only know where our projects are based on our plans, but now we can also prove that we know where our people are at all times,” said Schwartz.


How to continue to improve relationships in the community once you've exonerated your team

In order to continue to foster positive relationships with their community, Trees Atlanta takes this investigation process one step further to help citizens get to the bottom of who was on their property or leaving debris on the roads. Because of their great relationship with the city, Schwartz and Simpson work with the local government and city councilors to track down permits that other organizations may have been issued for that day. In doing this, Schwartz and Simpson demonstrate Trees Atlanta’s commitment to the community by reassuring them of the work their organization does while helping hold other organizations accountable.

Thanks to Trees Atlanta’s diligence and use of Samsara’s proximity search, Trees Atlanta is able to maintain their stellar reputation within the community - and even improve it. Schwartz says, “Samsara helps us prove the integrity of our organization and reassure the community of our work and mission.”

Do you have a great tip on how to use Samsara?

Email customer-tips@samsara.com to get in touch with our team. Please include details on the creative way you’re using Samsara, as well as any results (like time or money saved) that you are able to quantify.

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