Mesilla Valley Transportation Elevates the Driver Experience with In-Cab Tablets  Mesilla Valley Transportation Elevates the Driver Experience with In-Cab Tablets

Mesilla Valley Transportation Elevates the Driver Experience with In-Cab Tablets

Mesilla Valley Transportation Elevates the Driver Experience with In-Cab Tablets

INDUSTRY
BUSINESS SOLUTIONS
Telematics and Fleet Management
TECHNOLOGY

Galaxy Tab Active

Platform Science

Founded in 1982 by two drivers with three trucks, Mesilla Valley Transportation started out as an independent fleet in the Southwest.

Today, headquartered in Las Cruces, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, MVT is a multinational long-haul dry-van truckload carrier with more than 2000 employees, 1,600 power units and 6,000 trailers delivering time-sensitive truckloads throughout North America and between major manufacturing areas in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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The Challenge:
Integrated data access for drivers

Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) needed a modern, flexible telematics solution that integrated their workflows with navigation, electronic logging devices (ELDs) and messaging.

 

As consumer technology has evolved, so have IT opportunities for transportation companies. Sensor technology and geofencing have unlocked the internet of things (IoT), while applications and APIs make it possible to automate workflows, integrate navigation and streamline communication. Yet trucking companies can only take advantage of these advanced technologies if they have 1) a cloud-based platform to integrate enterprise apps and truck/sensor technology, and 2) a reliable mobile interface for drivers.

 

In 2019, MVT CIO Mike Kelley decided it was time to upgrade the fleet's telematics solution. "Methodologies and technologies were changing so quickly in the modern consumer market, but the enterprise market was years behind," says Kelley. 

"Updating workflows in our previous telematics solution was not an easy process. And we struggled to leverage all the sensors and modern capabilities we needed to innovate rapidly and enhance the driver experience."

"Updating workflows in our previous telematics solution was not an easy process. And we struggled to leverage all the sensors and modern capabilities we needed to innovate rapidly and enhance the driver experience."

MVT faced two other challenges in 2019: the sunsetting of 3G networks, which affected older devices in trucks, and the federal Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, which required new software to ensure compliance.

 

Kelley started looking for a new telematics provider — a "disruptor" in the ELD market with a cloud-based solution that would let MVT leverage the latest technology. The solution needed to address four core areas: workflow, hours of service/ELD, navigation and messaging.

 

The old solution did these things, but the functionality wasn't integrated. Drivers viewed their schedule on one screen, compared it to their hours of service on another screen and manually entered customer addresses into the navigation app. The lack of integration required MVT to ask drivers for information that the company already had, such as client information and driver locations.

 

Kelley wanted drivers to get all the information they needed in one solution with an integrated workflow. He wanted forms prefilled with customer information to streamline driver documentation and GPS-optimized so drivers didn't have to message their fleet managers with location updates.

 

To deliver the driver experience that Kelley envisioned, MVT needed a platform that would let his team integrate apps and data. They also needed a fleet of standardized and ruggedized tablets to replace the mismatched and aging hardware in the trucks.

MVT faced two other challenges in 2019: the sunsetting of 3G networks, which affected older devices in trucks, and the federal Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, which required new software to ensure compliance.

 

Kelley started looking for a new telematics provider — a "disruptor" in the ELD market with a cloud-based solution that would let MVT leverage the latest technology. The solution needed to address four core areas: workflow, hours of service/ELD, navigation and messaging.

 

The old solution did these things, but the functionality wasn't integrated. Drivers viewed their schedule on one screen, compared it to their hours of service on another screen and manually entered customer addresses into the navigation app. The lack of integration required MVT to ask drivers for information that the company already had, such as client information and driver locations.

 

Kelley wanted drivers to get all the information they needed in one solution with an integrated workflow. He wanted forms prefilled with customer information to streamline driver documentation and GPS-optimized so drivers didn't have to message their fleet managers with location updates.

 

To deliver the driver experience that Kelley envisioned, MVT needed a platform that would let his team integrate apps and data. They also needed a fleet of standardized and ruggedized tablets to replace the mismatched and aging hardware in the trucks.

The Solution:
Streamlined driver experience on a rugged tablet

Starting in 2019, MVT began equipping all of its trucks with ruggedized Samsung Galaxy Tab Active tablets and a cloud-based telematics solution from Platform Science.

 

The new platform integrates data and core functionality (workflows, ELD, navigation and messaging) to enable more robust capabilities and a streamlined user experience. Drivers get all the information they need via one user-friendly dashboard, including where and when to stop, instructions for each client pickup or drop-off, and where to refuel so MVT gets the best gas prices. Drivers can also see an ELD countdown clock and view messages from dispatch, which are intelligently routed to ensure they're not delivered while drivers are driving or sleeping. Driver forms are prefilled with customer and load information, and drivers no longer have to message their locations to dispatch.

 

Delivering this experience requires the integration of real-time data from a variety of sources, including the truck's engine and safety cameras, back-office technology (such as CRM and the dispatch system) and geofences at each client site.

 

Driver workflows start out in the legacy dispatch system, where a fleet manager enters the basic instructions for pickups, drop-offs and appointment times. When the fleet manager presses send, Platform Science initiates an intelligent workflow.

 

"The system looks at the origin and destination, and determines the most efficient and safe route for the driver," Kelley explains. "The system also looks at how much fuel the truck has and the truck's average MPG to determine when it will need fuel. Then it looks at gas prices along that whole route, picks the truck stop with the lowest price, and adds the fuel stop into the workflow."

Streamlined driver experience on a rugged tablet

Soon, the workflow will also include maintenance stops. Thanks to integrations with the truck's engine control module (ECM), the back office can diagnose problems with the truck remotely and let drivers know what to do next.

 

"The Samsung tablet connects to the ECM and transmits error codes back to us, so when the check-engine light comes on, we can proactively tell the driver what we think the issue is and direct them to a maintenance location.”

 

MVT is also improving geofencing capabilities at client sites so it can navigate drivers around client properties.

 

"It always bugged me that we asked the drivers to tell us when they arrived at or left client sites, because we've got devices with GPS and we know our clients' locations," Kelley explains. "Now we have geofences around those locations, so we know when our trucks arrive and leave. Eventually we'll be able to message the driver and say, 'We see you arrived, thank you. Go pick up trailer 18 from the back northeastern corner. Just follow the arrows, and we'll guide you.'"

 

Drivers also use the tablets for communicating load status, scanning documents to be paid in a timely manner, taking photos of shipments or trucks, and documenting inspections of trucks, most of which they couldn't do with the previous solution. The included S Pen allows for easy form completion, even when wearing gloves. By contrast, the old tablets were hardwired into the trucks to prevent them from being dropped or exposed to the elements, but that's not a concern with Samsung Galaxy Tab Active devices, which are ruggedized to meet military standards.

 

"I'll never forget my introduction to the Tab Active," says Kelley. "The salesperson showed it to me, and when I reached for it, she tossed it across the room. Any normal tablet would have cracked, but it didn't phase this thing. I knew that's exactly what we needed — devices that could handle all the bumps on the roads and extreme weather."

 

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The Results:
A modernized driver experience

For MVT, the rollout of the Platform Science solution and Samsung Galaxy tablets has helped deliver a dramatically improved experience for drivers, while resulting in time and money savings for the company. Ultimately, the efficiency and safety gains achieved also mean MVT can better serve its customers.

Easy ELD compliance

When fleet managers enter assignments, Platform Science ensures they're giving drivers enough time to work safely. Meanwhile, a countdown clock on the tablets tell drivers when to take breaks.

 

Victoria Miller has driven for MVT with her husband Brian for 18 years. She explains, "I don't have to worry about my hours of service or remember when it's time to switch out driving. I just look at the tablet to know when I have to drive and when I should take a break."

 

Paperless paperwork

In the past, the Millers needed a laptop, printer and router in the truck to complete their documentation and often had to go inside truck stops to scan documents for invoicing.

 

"Now I use the tablet to take pictures of the MVT trip sheet or receipts or anything else and send them through the tablet," says Brian Miller. "I can work comfortably from my desk platform rather than the truck seat. And for pre-trip inspections, I take the tablet around the truck and complete the checklist. If there's a problem, I take pictures and message dispatch through the tablet, and they handle it immediately."

 

Ease of use 

Drivers say that the new solution is easier to use because the software is more intuitive and the device is familiar. "We use Samsung devices in other aspects of our life, whether it's our personal phones or the TV at home," says Brian. "I really like the S Pen on the new tablet because I have bulky fingers that often hit more than one key."

 

Rocio Stratton, an MVT equipment manager who helped roll out the devices, says it's easier to provide tech support now as well. "Everybody uses smartphones and tablets, so the drivers already knew how to turn it on and navigate it. They know what we mean when we say, 'open this app,' and if we can't talk them through it, we can remote into the tablet or have them bring it into the office."

A modernized driver experience

Saving time and money

Integrating fuel stops into workflows helps MVT save on fuel costs. Meanwhile, optimized routes and real-time communication help drivers work more efficiently.

 

"In the past, it wasn't uncommon to get to a customer location and wait because of some paperwork mishap. Now I can message dispatch and get an almost-immediate response. With the old system, I waited on a phone line for 20 to 30 minutes — up to two hours if dispatch was overwhelmed."


Durable hardware

In-cab technology takes a beating on bumpy roads, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active devices can withstand it.

 

"I have to replace the GPS device on my dash every 6 to 12 months," says Brian Miller, "but I've had the Samsung tablet mounted up there for 18 months with no problems. It has taken a pretty good licking on my dash, and I'm surprised because it looks like a regular tablet."


Improved driver experience

Truck drivers have one of the highest turnover rates of any profession, with an almost 100 percent attrition rate among new drivers. Kelly believes the new solution will help retention by improving the driver experience, and MVT has an internal development team that continually adds new features and workflow improvements.

 

"We're constantly making driving easier and safer," Kelley explains. "We're saving money on gas because we can automatically route drivers to our preferred truck stops. ELD compliance is practically automated, and we can communicate in real-time to solve problems or initiate repairs."

 

"Simply put, Samsung and Platform Science let us leverage new and emerging technologies so we can keep improving the driver experience and ensure our drivers have everything they need to improve our customer experience."

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