Samsara launches data report to show fleets how they stack up

In the commercial transportation sector, industrywide real-time data is a valuable thing.

Historically, it’s been difficult for trucking companies to know how their fleet is performing compared to other companies without access to industry benchmarks or a team of data scientists helping reveal the bigger picture.

Samsara aims to change that with the launch of its Fleet Benchmarks Report, which leverages a broad dataset to help compare a fleet’s performance to that of similar fleets across the trucking industry, providing insight into how they are trending relative to peers.

“The idea behind this report is to give our customers context that is not necessarily easily available to them, and to how their fleets are operating,” Ali Akhtar, director of data science for Samsara, told FreightWaves. 

Samsara’s Fleet Benchmarks Report collects from more than 2 trillion data points annually from IoT devices used by 20,000 customers from a wide range of industries. 

Samsara’s data engineers and data analytics teams take those data points — while taking the necessary measures to ensure customer privacy — and unlocks operational insights for customers that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, Akhtar said.

“If you consider any sort of operational metric, be it a safety metric like speeding or an efficiency metric like idling, historically customers have been able to see idling trends, speeding trends only for their own specific organization,” Akhtar said. “The challenge here is you don’t know whether those trends are necessarily good or there might be opportunities for improvement, given the fact that you really only know what’s happening within your own organization, rather than what might be happening with kind of the broader industry at large.”

San Francisco-based Samsara provides software and sensors to monitor and manage commercial fleets and industrial operations, with customers in the energy, food and beverage, construction and manufacturing, and transportation industries. Samsara’s software aims to allow companies to connect their fleets, equipment and sites within one integrated platform.

The Fleet Benchmarks Report is available now for all Samsara customers, who can access the report in their Samsara dashboard. 

Since the report compares a company fleet’s performance to that of similar fleets, it can identify potential areas of improvement across three key areas:

  • Harsh events (harsh braking, harsh acceleration and harsh turns).
  • Speeding (light, moderate, heavy and severe).
  • Idling.

“To ensure benchmarks are accurate and helpful, we group every organization into a fleet segment with similar driving characteristics, so you can see how you compare to the top 10% of your fleet segment, the average of your fleet segment or all Samsara customers for the time period you select,” Akhtar said.

Using data from the report, trucking fleets can make a more informed decision to prioritize certain operational programs, like improving safety or reducing the idling rate.

“Right now in the report for example, we have available harsh events, so that breaks down into harsh braking, harsh acceleration and harsh turns,” Akhtar said. “For each of these individual bits of harsh driving behavior, not only can you see how your own organization is performing, but how it relates to a cohort of customers similar to you.” 

Data on speeding is also an important feature.

“We can break down those trends; when you look at the data, some customers are very good in relation to the rest of their peers, really good about not being severe speeders, but are just kind of hanging around in that moderate speeding range,” Akhtar said. “I think that kind of provides insight to the safety program to say, ‘OK, you know, we’re not speeding quite significantly, but there are areas where we can make improvements.’ That might help provide coaching to drivers.”

Another dataset in the report is idling, which Akhtar said can have huge implications in terms of fuel costs.

“A fleet might be taking on more fuel expenses than it needs when it comes to fuel costs related to idling,” Akhtar said. “Having that kind of insight can lead you to drive a campaign and then try to improve that at the organizational level.”

Akhtar said companies can ultimately use the Fleet Benchmarks Report to understand their performance “in these key metrics in a way that’s contextualized.”

“Now, you can actually get better visibility into what areas that your fleet is performing really well compared to other fleets like yours, or where there might be room for improvement,” Akhtar said. “Companies can also use the data to prioritize companywide, fleetwide efforts and fleetwide programs to improve performance, be it within safety programs or within efficiency programs.” 

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