“Peace of mind in our industry is hard to get. Samsara understands the environment we operate in and is able to give us the solutions we need.”
Eran Blitzblau, Co-founder and CEO, Blue Lightning Logistics
National over-the-road truckload carrier uses Samsara to safely and reliably transport freight and maintain precision for temperature-controlled loads.
- Asset gateways and environmental monitors provide real-time visibility into location and temperature for 55 trucks and trailers operating in 48 states.
- Live GPS tracking led to the recovery of three stolen assets, worth more than $200,000.
- Proactively tracking and recovering equipment helps keep insurance rates low.
- Real-time alerts help maintain product quality control and prevent future thefts.
At Blue Lightning, transporting freight across the country is more than just a job. Eran Blitzblau founded the company in 2005 because he saw a clear need in the industry for better customer service. “We strive to be an extension of our customers’ business,” he said. “They can reach out to us 24/7. We want them to feel that our fleet is their fleet.”
Blue Lightning started in San Diego as a dry van business with a small fleet of three trucks. The company began to see rapid growth after Eran transitioned to transporting refrigerated loads, such as produce, frozen goods, and pharmaceuticals, in 2010. Blue Lightning continued to expand, growing at a rate of 30 percent every year. Over time, Eran’s dedication to customer service formed the foundation to the company’s success.
With 55 tractor trailers currently operating in 48 states, there’s a lot for Blue Lightning to keep track of. Their logistics are further complicated because they specialize in transporting temperature-sensitive loads. The team needed a better way to maintain temperature control and ensure goods arrive on time to their destinations.
“In the early stages of this business, I noticed that I had no way of monitoring what the trailers were doing: either their location or their temperature,” Eran said. “I saw that it was costing me 30 to 50 thousand dollars each year in rejected loads. I knew that something needed to be done.”
“Samsara is cost-effective—you get your money’s worth in the first six months.”
Improved Operations and Temperature Quality Control
To better monitor Blue Lightning’s operations, Eran deployed Samsara asset gateways, both the AG15 and AG24 series, and environmental monitors across the fleet. Now the team is able to track location and temperature data to protect their assets and maintain product quality control.
At Blue Lightning, the dispatch team uses Samsara as a core part of their workflow. Throughout the day, the team checks GPS locations and vehicle speed to ensure drivers are where they’re supposed to be and are driving safely. Alerts for temperature variance notify the dispatchers if there’s any fluctuation outside of the acceptable range so they can quickly resolve the issue.
Just from the savings in rejected loads, Eran saw a 300 percent return on investment with Samsara. “I’ve found that Samsara is cost-effective—you get your money’s worth in the first six months,” he said. “It’s a powerful tool that’s very easy to use.”
The team particularly likes the AG24’s two-way reefer control, which they use to pre-cool loads and to change the temperature remotely if it’s not set correctly. “We really like that it gives us more control,” Eran explained. “Before a driver picks up a load, we can set the proper temperature, which eliminates any room for error. Sometimes a customer wants a load to be at 36 degrees, but the shipper asks the driver to put it at 45 degrees. What our customer wants and what the shipper wants don’t always match, and this helps us operate the reefer the customer’s way.”
Tracking Down Stolen Assets
For Blue Lightning, reliable GPS tracking has recovered equipment valued at more than 7 times what they paid for Samsara. In 2017, a driver in Santa Ana, California, headed out to a tractor-trailer to pick up a load. But when the driver arrived at the designated spot, he discovered that the vehicle was missing. Eran immediately went to Samsara’s dashboard to check the GPS location of the trailer’s asset gateway. After contacting the police, he was able to recover the tractor-trailer, which had been broken into, hotwired, and driven 20 miles away to Long Beach, California, to a shop where it was going to be sold for parts.
Then, in February 2018, another driver went to pick up a trailer and found it had disappeared. This time, the thieves broke the gladhand locks on the trailer, attached it to their own truck, and drove 40 miles from the original location. Thanks to Samsara’s trailer tracking, Eran was once again able to find and recover the stolen asset.
Reduced Insurance Premiums
Recovering these stolen assets has significantly reduced Blue Lightning’s insurance costs. “Those trailers are about 70 thousand dollars each,” Eran explained. “If you file an insurance claim for a stolen trailer, then your cost of doing business goes up next year. Being able to recover the equipment shows our insurance carrier, first of all, that we’re proactive about watching our equipment and taking care of it, and secondly, that we’re limiting our damages and claims.” With Samsara’s continuous asset tracking, Blue Lightning has been able to reduce their reliance on insurance payouts and avoid increased rates. “Insurance is the biggest cost in this business,” Eran said, “so it has a huge impact on our bottom line.”
In light of the thefts, Blue Lightning has implemented new procedures to safeguard their assets. Now, on weekends or when a trailer is out of use, the dispatch team sets up geofence alerts so they’ll be notified instantaneously of any unauthorized movement.
While it’s impossible to prevent every issue, Samsara gives Eran and his team confidence because of the visibility it provides into asset location and cargo condition. “Peace of mind in our industry is hard to get,” Eran said. “It’s priceless. So when you have technology that gets you consistent results, that means a lot. Samsara is a tool that every business should have in their back pocket.”