You Don’t Know What You’re Missing: 5 Common Operational Blind Spots You Can Remedy ASAP

February 29, 2024


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In today's fast-paced and competitive market, organizations face not only the external pressures of a demanding industry but also the internal challenge of unknown inefficiencies. Blind spots in operational efficiency can silently drain resources and money, while negatively impacting worker productivity. These hidden roadblocks can stem from outdated technology, disjointed systems, or a lack of data integration, leading to a multitude of challenges. As a result, organizations may find themselves lagging behind competitors who harness the power of streamlined operations and data-driven insights.

Identifying and addressing these inefficiencies is crucial for businesses looking to stay ahead, protect their bottom line, and ensure their workforce is both safe and productive. Achieving this requires a proactive approach, using technology and data to uncover and mitigate these blind spots. With end-to-end operational visibility, you can protect your business from the five most common hidden inefficiencies—let’s explore what they are and how to overcome them.  

Blind spot #1: Disjointed, manual systems impede responsiveness and increase risk.

Siloed systems and paper-based processes not only slow down operations but also give you a fragmented picture of your business, especially when managing a complex supply chain. Tracking goods, people, and vehicles becomes exponentially more difficult when piecemealing everything together, inhibiting your ability to react quickly—ultimately increasing the risk of infractions and violations, accidents, and theft.

Connecting disparate systems and digitizing manual processes helps you pinpoint and manage any aspect of your operations, making it easier to accelerate risk response, incident investigation, and theft recovery. One example of this is DHL—they consolidated seven point solutions using Samsara to gain total operational clarity. Now, they have complete visibility into their cargo, vehicles, and trailers—all within the same platform they use for managing driver safety and compliance—ensuring operators can confidently track deliveries while reducing risk.

Blind spot #2: Mobile device usage affects driver safety and productivity on the road.

For many operations, the most important work happens miles away in the field where workers are delivering goods or services. This makes remote communication essential. But using mobile devices on the road is often highly inefficient—drivers need to pull over to use their devices and when help is needed, the back office either has to blindly troubleshoot or isn’t immediately available for assistance. Moreover, mobile devices pose major safety risks when device distractions compete for drivers’ attention while behind the wheel. 

Tailoring your drivers’ mobile device experience is key to keeping them safely on the move throughout their day. Remote device management unlocks employee productivity and promotes safety through customized home screens that quiet distractions while maintaining essential app access and functionality. When help is needed, remote troubleshooting promptly resolves issues with the back office able to see everything the driver sees. One company that accomplished just this is U.S. Logistics Solutions—using Samsara’s mobile-first technology, they streamlined their drivers’ in-cab experience and improved safety by eliminating device disruptions, resulting in a 15% reduction in their preventable collision rate. Additionally, the ability to remotely see drivers’ screens decreased driver call time by 80%. 

Blind spot #3: Underutilized trailers lead to unnecessary overhead.

The rising costs and limited availability of new trailers have made utilization top of mind for fleet managers. Manual tracking methods are inherently error-prone and nearly impossible to maintain, leading to suboptimal utilization rates and unnecessary overhead. Instead of your existing trailer fleet making you money, underutilized assets can become a huge cost. If left unchecked, underutilized trailers can mean leaving money on the table, declining new business opportunities, and paying to maintain seldom-used trailers.

To address this, fleet managers must accurately assess their operation’s capacity and plan purchases and replacements to maximize trailer usage. With utilization reporting, your organization gains a holistic view of your trailer fleet to make informed business decisions when right-sizing your inventory. Fraley & Schilling gained real-time visibility to optimize trailer utilization, saving an estimated $150,000 per year. “Samsara’s Smart Trailer solution is life-changing,” said Mike Bussberg, Vice President of Operations. “We used to track trailers via phone calls and Excel spreadsheets, and that method is almost never accurate because by the time you get your data compiled, it’s old data and not useful anymore.”

Blind spot #4: Maintenance issues cause unplanned downtime and service disruption.

There’s no convenient time to take a truck or trailer off the road for maintenance, but unplanned downtime disrupts your service commitments and is more costly than preventative maintenance. Moreover, the chances of a truck or trailer requiring extensive and expensive work increases greatly when the repair is not planned for. 

By identifying potential issues early with fault code alerts and scheduling maintenance based on actual usage, you can take your maintenance program from reactive to proactive—and reduce downtime and maintenance costs. Samsara customer Certarus transformed their preventative maintenance program using Samsara automation and maintenance tools to create work orders before issues arise, saving $500,000 in repair costs in just one year and reducing service downtime by 97%.

Blind spot #5: Maintaining the integrity of temperature-sensitive loads.

Cold chain monitoring protocol includes several checkpoints to ensure proper trailer temperature before departure. But once on the road, the driver is often left powerless when faced with temperature-related issues. If something goes wrong with refrigeration or reefer settings while in transit and the driver has no advanced warning of the problem, the entire load is at risk for spoilage. 

By employing advanced temperature monitoring and alerts, you can protect your temperature-sensitive cargo from anywhere to prevent load loss and ensure product integrity. Remote visibility and control allows the back office to proactively track any load and alert the driver of temperature deviations. As a result of digitizing their cold chain management, Aegion eliminated manual temperature checks for their reefer fleet, driving significant cost savings. By building a temperature monitoring alert system with Samsara, they avoid over $6 million in annual costs due to temperature-related events.

Eliminating safety and efficiency blind spots with end-to-end visibility.

By strategically addressing these hidden blind spots, businesses can unlock new levels of efficiency, safety, and profitability. With end-to-end visibility, your organization is able to identify and address formerly unknown challenges. Explore how to optimize your fleet's profitability and operational efficiency by engaging with our on-demand webinar: Optimize Your Trailer and Reefer Operations to Boost Fleet Profitability → 


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