Tips from ArcBest Technologies: 4 Ways to Cultivate a Partnership

September 25, 2020

With nearly 100 years of experience under their belt, ArcBest® is a leader in supply chain logistics and the 14th largest for-hire fleet in the United States—with more than 1,600 road units and 2,700 city vehicles. They refer to themselves as “pragmatic innovators,” as the practical needs of the business drive their creative problem-solving. To innovate in this manner, ArcBest invests in technology that not only helps their business run more efficiently, but also aligns with their vision for the future. 

Leading the business’s asset-based operational infrastructure is Lee Easley, Director of IT Solutions at ArcBest Technologies. Easley has overseen the implementation of many technologies across the business over the years, including Samsara in 2018. ArcBest partnered with Samsara to improve the safety and efficiency of their operations and has experienced incredible results, including:

  • A 13% decrease in the frequency of preventable accidents with more visibility into driver behavior from Samsara AI Dash Cams.

  • A more connected operation through 32 newly deployed API integrations between their internal systems and the Samsara platform.

  • 50% less time spent managing unassigned HOS with Samsara’s FMCSA-approved ELD.

Because of these achievements, ArcBest was recently named the winner of the 2020 Samsara Top Fleet Award for Most Innovative Fleet. We sat down with Easley to learn the secrets of the company’s success—and share Easley’s best practices for building a successful fleet vendor partnership rooted in innovation. Here are his top four tips for building a successful partnership:

1. Create a list of requirements

It’s important to know what you want to get out of a partnership when you’re evaluating different vendors. But to make sure you don’t overlook anything, consider creating a list of requirements. This should include all the things your business expects to receive from the partnership, along with some nice-to-haves. ArcBest did this with every telematics vendor we evaluated, and if a critical requirement was missing, that vendor was removed from our shortlist. A partnership should help build your business’s long-term success, so speak up about what you need and don’t be willing to settle. 

With that being said, it’s just as important to keep an eye out for the vendors that can respond to your needs. At ArcBest, we pride ourselves on our rate of innovation, and we need a partner that can keep up. So, if there’s a vendor who does not have an existing solution for your requirement but is willing to create one—pay attention. A business that’s willing to acclimate to your needs can be a strong testament to that vendor’s commitment. Not only that, but this can be a valuable window into how your teams will work together in the future. 

 

When ArcBest was evaluating Samsara, there were a few things we wanted that their product didn’t offer at the time. But the reason we ultimately chose Samsara as our telematics vendor is because they rose to the occasion. Samsara made a commitment to our needs, and they worked alongside our team to implement those requests as quickly as possible. We were looking for a partner we could grow with, and Samsara showed us that they could innovate with us for the long-term. 

2. Find a partner that makes your job easier

While it might sound obvious, it’s important to find a partner that will ultimately simplify your operations and make your job easier. This can be accomplished in a couple of different ways. A vendor’s services and product offerings will be critical, but identifying a partner with an aligned work ethic is just as essential. If you want a long-term partner, you need a vendor that’s as curious and passionate about your business as you are.  

With Samsara, we noticed a like-minded symmetry right away when we visited their headquarters in San Francisco. The leadership team emphasized the importance of their customer-first approach and strong customer feedback loop—things that are equally important to ArcBest. Plus, Samsara’s pace of innovation matched our own. This ensured we would move at the same speed but also made it clear that both our businesses prioritized iteration and growth based on new needs and ventures. These similar approaches to business, along with many others, ultimately helped our teams build a strong foundation for smooth collaboration. 

3. Consider your existing workflow

While a shared perspective can help teams work together more diligently, you also want a partner that can easily integrate with your existing tech stack. Identifying the right technology solutions for your business can be time-consuming, and you don’t want to have to change what’s already working.

 

We found that Samsara’s open API provided a seamless integration with our existing tools and workflows—something that was incredibly important to us since we have custom-built tools for specific needs. In this way, the open API created flexibility for our team and allowed us to keep using the solutions we already get a lot of value from. Last year, we deployed 32 new API integrations—leveraging Samsara’s platform to develop a more connected operation between our internal systems.

4. Be open to learning from one another

Select a partner that knows your strengths but can also support you in your growth areas. When you find a partner that can help in areas where your team lacks bandwidth, you suddenly have the room to excel at what you do best. Plus, you gain a greater understanding of what it takes to grow those particular areas of your operations. 

One reason ArcBest decided to partner with Samsara is because we were both able to lend one another our expertise. This has not only strengthened our respective skillsets, but allowed each of us to grow a richer product roadmap that benefited both of our businesses. Since ArcBest partnered with Samsara in 2018, together we’ve been able to:

  • Build a reliable way for drivers to log hours in areas of poor cellular connectivity. ArcBest worked closely with the Samsara Compliance Team to design a solution that enabled this functionality.

  • Share critical user insights from a driver-focused workshop ArcBest led with help from the Samsara Mobile Product team. Takeaways from the workshop provided a roadmap for a newer version of the Driver App that will allow for more integrations. 

  • Pilot a DVIR integration with ArcBest’s maintenance platform to automate the process for tracking vehicles that need attention. 

Get more best practices from Top Fleets

Want more best practices from the 2020 Samsara Top Fleet Award-Winners? Subscribe to our new blog series to get tips delivered right to your inbox. Plus, we invite you to access our on-demand webinar recording from Inside Look: Secrets from Top Fleets. This exclusive digital event gives you direct access to four of our most accomplished customers—ArcBest, GP Transco, Sprint Waste, and Athens-Clarke County—recent winners of the Samsara 2020 Top Fleet Awards. During the 90-minute conversation, leaders from these fleets share insider tips for leveraging Samsara to drive next-level efficiency and safety. 

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