"Our partnership with Samsara always helps us make sure we’re doing everything in the most safe and efficient way we can."
GP Transco is a trucking and logistics company headquartered just outside of Chicago, with 400 drivers operating across the lower 48 states and Canada. The business has built a culture centered on safety and the driver experience, relying on Samsara to help make a quantifiable, positive impact on their drivers’ day-to-day. GP Transco was presented Excellence in Driver Experience in the 2020 Samsara Top Fleet Awards for their industry-leading approach.
Real-time visibility into fuel and idling enabled a driver-wide incentive program that rewarded fuel-efficient behaviors, helping GP Transco save $350,000 in annual fuel costs—money that's used to fund driver pay increases and bonus programs.
Samsara AI Dash Cams helped GP Transco proactively coach drivers to help reduce speeding by 66% and decrease accidents by 30%.
Seamless API integration provided GP Transco’s in-house transportation management system (OpenRoad TMS) with real-time data so drivers and dispatchers have visibility into Hours of Service (HOS), loads, and more.
Paperless DVIRs created more frictionless communication between drivers and maintenance staff, ensuring GP Transco's equipment is properly maintained and safe for the road.
GP Transco began in 2006 as a small motor carrier but has since grown to include a maintenance department, brokerage division, and even a custom-built TMS. With nearly 15 years of experience in the industry, GP Transco has also expanded to 400 drivers, 410 tractors, and 550 trailers across the lower United States and Canada. The business prides themselves on their rate of innovation, leveraging new technologies to create a better experience for their drivers and customers while also improving their operations.
Leading the organization’s safety and people operations efforts is Marija Jamontas. As VP of Safety and HR, Jamontas’ role is a sneak peek into GP Transco’s unique approach to bridging hiring and safety. “We’re only as safe as our drivers and the drivers we hire,” Jamontas said. To accomplish this, Jamontas focuses on creating strict hiring standards, and works closely with the operations and maintenance teams to ensure safe practices are inherent to all parts of the business.
“How can we provide a better experience for our drivers? How can we do things more efficiently and safely—and overall, better?”
Beyond safety, GP Transco takes a driver-centric approach to many other aspects of their business. They empower drivers to provide frequent feedback so that the driver perspective is considered in every part of their business. Whether it’s finding ways to slash fuel use or reduce maintenance turnaround times, GP Transco always starts with the driver’s feedback—and it shows. In fact, GP Transco maintains one of the lowest driver turnover rates in the industry at just 34%, in comparison to the industry average of 90-95%.
“We always like to think outside the box and think about how we can do things differently,” Jamontas said. “How can we provide a better experience for our drivers? How can we do things more efficiently and safely—and overall, better?”
One way GP Transco does this is by investing in technologies, like Samsara, that simplify processes for drivers while providing the company, as well as their customers, with more visibility into the business. By partnering with Samsara, GP Transco is able to streamline fuel efficiency, safety, and compliance across their fleet.
Like any business scaling their operations, GP Transco is always looking for ways to increase efficiency and decrease costs. The difference at GP Transco is that drivers are always part of the conversation, and directly benefit from the savings.
“We’re always thinking ‘How does the driver feel about this?’” Jamontas said. That’s why when GP Transco initiated a company-wide fuel efficiency effort, drivers were at the forefront of the program.
While this is something GP Transco had wanted to start for a while, they didn’t have the tools to accurately measure fuel consumption until they partnered with Samsara. Now, GP Transco uses Samsara’s Fuel & Energy Report and Idling Alerts to better understand how fuel is used across their fleet and which drivers are idling in excess. “There are a lot of factors that affect fuel use, but the main ones are driving habits and unnecessary idling—that is where Samsara is irreplaceable,” said Jonas Bidva, GP Transco’s VP of Operations.
GP Transco also uses the Samsara Driver Efficiency Report to get visibility into where drivers are underperforming, and then coaches them accordingly. “This report lets us see how well the driver utilizes cruise control all the way to other metrics such as time spent in the most efficient RPM band or high torque,” said Bidva. “By giving the driver this kind of feedback, we can coach them to be more efficient on the road.”
“It saves the company money, which we can then pay back to the drivers.”
This additional insight prompted the start of GP Transco’s FUEL (Fuel Utilization Efficiency Leaders) program which uses a combination of data and coaching techniques—including a driver leaderboard and practical tips to reduce fuel use. The program divides GP Transco’s fleet into multiple categories based on truck specs including model and year, to ensure the company is comparing fuel use fairly across vehicles with varying fuel efficiency. Next, GP Transco uses Samsara fuel data to analyze how drivers are consuming fuel across their vehicles. If a driver is in the top 50% of their category’s MPG, they’ll receive a bonus of one cent per mile driven that month.
“It saves the company money, which we can then pay back to the drivers,” Jamontas said. Last year, this program helped GP Transco save $350,000 in annual fuel costs.
Jamontas’ role is to champion both drivers and safety. That’s why Samsara AI Dash Cams have become such a pivotal piece of GP Transco’s safety program. The dash cams provide better visibility into on-the-road driving behavior and are an equally important tool to train drivers off the road. Dash cam footage is frequently used during safety reviews to help drivers identify unsafe behavior and improve their overall driving performance.
“If I had to pinpoint one thing that has been the most effective with driver training, it would have to be the dash cam footage,” Jamontas said.
GP Transco uses Samsara AI Dash Cam footage to personalize coaching—providing "aha" moments for drivers who might otherwise be unaware of their unsafe behaviors. By leveraging a video-based approach to safety, management stays informed and drivers make better decisions on the road.
“Just seeing it from that perspective really shakes them to their core,” Jamontas said. “Numerous times I’ve had drivers say, ‘Wow, I need to stop doing this.’ We’ve seen real changes in those drivers. This is a really huge contribution from Samsara.” What’s more, GP Transco will sometimes use the footage for safety case studies that are shared with the fleet. This helps drivers buy-in to the process and has a ripple effect across the fleet’s safety.
“If I had to pinpoint one thing that has been the most effective with driver training, it would have to be the dash cam footage.”
In 2019 alone, Samsara AI Dash Cams helped GP Transco reduce speeding by 66%. Other driving habits improved too:
Cell phone use decreased by 34%
Seat belt use increased by 50%
Tailgating was reduced by 50%
Ultimately, GP Transco was able to reduce accidents by 30% and vastly improve their CSA score in the “Unsafe Driving” category in just eight months. This helped keep drivers safe and on the road.
“We’ve definitely been able to change the way we measure safety because of the capabilities of Samsara,” Jamontas said. “Samsara technology is continuously helping our company perform in a much safer manner. The evidence is in how well we’re performing.”
Drivers are the first line of defense when it comes to protecting a fleet. They’re at the forefront of customer service, and they are responsible for the vehicles essential to fleet operations. That’s why GP Transco places such a high premium on equipment durability and maintenance. They want to ensure drivers have access to the latest vehicle models and if anything goes wrong, a maintenance team that’s ready to help.
“We’re always cycling out older equipment to make sure our drivers are in the safest, newest equipment possible,” Jamontas said. As a rule, trucks at GP Transco are never older than three years.
GP Transco has an additional way to ensure maintenance is as frictionless as possible for drivers: an in-house maintenance department. Located at their headquarters, the maintenance department allows drivers to focus on their routes, instead of worrying about servicing their vehicles. The department has a full maintenance staff that helps with nearly all service needs not covered by a warranty.
“We’re always cycling out older equipment to make sure our drivers are in the safest, newest equipment possible.”
This allows drivers to coordinate equipment drop-offs when they already need to be in the office (for a safety review or meeting), so drivers can maximize their time off the road. And sometimes, this means simply getting a chance to socialize with colleagues. “We’re able to sit down and have a conversation that's not necessarily a disciplinary situation,” Jamontas said. “It’s just nice to have a chat and see how they’re doing.”
When there is an issue with a vehicle, drivers submit paperless DVIRs to efficiently communicate what’s going on with the maintenance team. This allows the maintenance staff to receive updates in real time so they can better anticipate urgent repairs or even coordinate drop-off times directly with drivers. DVIRs instantly appear in the Samsara dashboard and sit alongside preventive maintenance schedules, maintenance logs, and real-time vehicle statuses, which helps GP Transco mechanics prioritize the most pressing issues for drivers.
One major reason GP Transco chose to partner with Samsara is because they needed a telematics solution that seamlessly integrates their in-house built software, OpenRoad TMS. Samsara’s open API powers GP Transco’s TMS with real-time location and HOS data from Samsara Vehicle Gateways and Asset Gateways. This provides drivers and dispatchers with all the information they need in a single dashboard—saving significant time.
“They don’t have to open up Samsara separately, find the Hours of Service log, count the hours, and things like that,” Jamontas said. “It’s all right there and everyone has access to it. It’s a one-stop shop.”
Before Samsara, dispatchers had to manually input delivery times and locations once a driver returned from a route. Not only did this require additional time and effort, it was also prone to inaccuracies. But with Samsara geofencing, a virtual perimeter is now drawn around the drop-off location prior to a delivery. As soon as a driver crosses that geofence, the drop-off location and time is automatically documented and marked as completed. This streamlines the workflow for both driver and dispatcher, and ensures the driver’s work is accurately captured in OpenRoad TMS.
GP Transco is committed to innovation; in fact, it’s written into their mission statement. They pledge to never settle for standard industry practices and to always have the courage to implement improvements to their operations. GP Transco’s partnership with Samara is just one testament to this promise. Samsara provides GP Transco with the tools and technologies that help them create a foundation for an excellent workplace environment for their drivers. This is key at GP Transco, since drivers are at the heart of their business.
“We treat our drivers as the backbone of our company,” Jamontas said. “If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn't be here. We really focus on making sure our drivers feel heard and respected. They’re part of the family and we appreciate what they’re doing out there on the roads every day.”
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