Today’s truck drivers want the same degree of technological sophistication in their truck cabs as they have in their personal lives, including wireless internet access on highly capable mobile devices. This technology should also offer drivers resources they can use to advance their careers through top-of-the-line industry training and promotional opportunities. Trucking companies that lack modern in-cab technology can have trouble attracting — and retaining — employees.

“We had drivers on orientation day that would look at the system we were using and walk out just because of how complex they felt it was,” says Peter Covach, Paper Transport’s director of information technology. “It was very rigid and outdated.”

Savage Services faced a similar in-cab technology deficit. They wanted to move to a modern communications platform to improve fleet operations and maintenance without creating extra stress for drivers or IT. Savage’s in-cab technology also needed to be upgraded to comply with the federal electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, but the company hoped to do much more.

“Our choices were about the future,” said Dallas Hartle, director of infrastructure solutions. “We were interested in not just supporting electronic logging but looking at what else we might want to do and making choices that would give us the capability to grow.”

In both instances, Paper Transport and Savage Trucking solved their in-cab technology issues by deploying Samsung tablets.

The right tablet for the job

Paper Transport chose Samsung’s rugged tablets loaded with Omnitracs’ Roadnet Solution ELD platform. The Omnitracs software serves as the drivers’ central hub, supporting workflow management and ELD functions such as route plans, task checklists and a built-in barcode scanner.

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Savage also deployed Samsung tablets, using the Knox Manage cloud-based enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution to configure and manage their tablets and access them remotely for troubleshooting. To ensure ELD compliance, the tablets integrate with Geotab’s GO vehicle tracking device and use Geotab Drive software.

Tools that can stand the test

Rugged tablets, like the Galaxy Tab Active3, enhance in-cab technology by ensuring maximum durability, reliability and longevity. These benefits streamline fleet operations and maintenance — while improving driver recruitment and retention.

To meet the U.S. military’s MIL-STD-810 standard for toughness, the Tab Active3 had to pass 21 tests, including 26 drops from a height of 5 feet, as well as exposure to extreme temperatures, weather and altitude. Samsung’s rugged tablets, including the Tab Active3, are also IP68 certified for dirt, dust and water resistance. Even after being immersed in 5 feet of water for 30 minutes, the tablet kept working normally.

Additionally, these rugged tablets can power through any project with a long-lasting, 5,050mAh replaceable battery. When traveling from one location to the next, the driver can simply keep a fully charged battery at their side and plug it into the tablet when they need to use it. A No Battery Mode is also available, allowing drivers to plug the device into a power source directly to avoid overheating batteries and keep it powered for longer.

Samsung now offers Enterprise Edition rugged tablets, which come equipped with a one-year license of Knox Suite and five years of security maintenance and updates.

Rugged tablets are well suited for today’s trucking industry, where fleets are pivoting to meet changing market needs. “As always, the trucking industry’s ability to respond quickly to long-term economic trends, such as e-commerce growth, favors an increase in trucking’s market share,” reads an American Transportation Research Institute report, “An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking: 2020 Update.” “In addition, trucking is seen as resilient in short-term downturns as seen in late 2019, and responsive in times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Engaging results

For Paper Transport, shifting to Samsung tablets has more than paid off. The company has reduced its driver turnover rate from 72 percent to 63 percent, even with their staff growing 19 percent year over year. Putting Tab Active devices in their cabs provided Paper Transport’s drivers with easy hours-of-service logging, route optimization, driver-to-driver communications and a learning management system (LMS) — all through a user-friendly interface.

Paper Transport also opted to load their tablets with an in-house app that delivers driver scorecards, which boosts drivers’ engagement and self-management. In fact, “Driver engagement [has] increased nearly four times, with drivers voluntarily learning from training videos instead of having to be persuaded to do so,” says Covach.

Savage Trucking has achieved similar benefits by installing Samsung tablets in its cabs. In addition to ensuring ELD compliance, these tablets are supporting several of Savage’s proprietary dispatch and routing apps, as well as some from third-party providers. These apps give Savage’s drivers the information they need to do their jobs effectively, and puts it right at their fingertips.

At the same time, Savage can prevent drivers from visiting unauthorized nonbusiness websites, which keeps the company’s mobile internet expenses under control. “With Knox Manage, we were able to lock down the tablets significantly and control what users see on their screen,” says Hartle. “This was key to their safety and reliability. We can decide which applications they can access, and we’re able to lock down all the applications that could use more data than is necessary.”

It’s worth noting Savage’s IT department has been able to execute and manage their tablet deployment without any increase in staff, even though the company operates about 900 dry and liquid bulk vehicles across the continental U.S.

Rugged options worth investing in

Samsung offers a range of rugged tablets that can address in-cab technology needs, no matter the size of your trucking firm. Collectively, these devices offer trucking firms a more effective and efficient way to manage their device fleets while keeping drivers active and engaged. The result is a win-win-win — for employers, employees and customers.

In a particularly tough working environment, you need particularly tough solutions. As you brainstorm how to improve your trucking operations, see how Samsung’s rugged devices can help. Or, discover how rugged push-to-talk smartphones are transforming field communications.

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James Careless

James Careless is an award-winning freelance writer who covers EMS, fire and police public safety communications. He has contributed to Corrections1, EMS World, Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment, Fire Chief, FireRescue1, Law and Order and Police1 magazines; among others. Careless has produced content for NBC-TV, NPR (radio), and CBC Radio/TV.

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