“The unanimous customer feedback was that every hour–and sometimes every minute–counts when it comes to uptime,” said Aftermarket senior vice president, Stefan Kürschner. “This is why we evolved our commitment to 24 hours or less–because it’s what our customers need to operate their businesses, and it’s what they need to satisfy their customers.”
Kürschner is referring to the changing standards when it comes to commercial truck repairs or maintenance–because for trucking companies, time is more valuable than ever.
For example, Daimler Trucks North America used to have a promise that it would be able to repair vehicles in three days or less–which wasn’t nearly quickly enough.
Peterbilt has also tightened its maintenance times with an overarching goal of averaging only 24 hours for repair. According to the company’s director of after sales, Bruce Croker, Peterbilt collaborates with dealerships to stick to this goal. A dealership can qualify for the company’s Platinum Program if they have an average time of 2.5 days or less for their own repairs.
To make these quick turnarounds possible, Peterbilt has implemented innovative communication tools and data flow capabilities in an effort to ensure its customers are receiving regular updates in regards to their repairs, and so that it can efficiently monitor the repair process to see right away if any approval or maintenance issues take place at any of its dealer locations. Peterbilt currently operates at 400 different sites.
“There’s lots of things that happen in a service event, and any one of those can slow down things to a crawl,” Croker explained. “So we’re data mining like crazy to work on our bottlenecks.”
The parts distribution sector of the industry is also seeing the effects of these changing standards, explained Rush Enterprises truck dealerships’ managing vice president of operations, Mike Eppes.
“When Amazon and others are delivering next-day or even same-day, that becomes your expectation in your business world as well,” Eppes noted.
For the best–and fastest–customer experience, Rush has ensured customers can order parts any time of day and hold their place in line for when warehouse employees show up. The company has also invested in route optimization for all of its delivery trucks to be able to reach customers as quickly as possible.
Additionally, Rush is utilizing an innovative call center system. This system is able to analyze data in a way to leverage these analytics to meet the needs of all customers in the most efficient way. Dwell times have also seen major reductions thanks to mobile repair capabilities–with 500 mobile technicians now part of the Rush team, explained the company’s vice president of service, Victor Cummings.
USA Truck’s vice president of maintenance, Jeff Harris, explained that other aspects of the trucking industry are undergoing changes in repair time expectations. USA Truck has quick time out estimations for all its equipment.
Hours-of-service requirement updates have also made these companies feel further pressure when it comes to repair times. If a fleet loses time, it loses money just as quickly.
“Operations is just waiting on you,” Harris said. “They just want to know when you’re going to have it done, and do they need to make a move with the driver?”
Because of this, USA Truck is utilizing capabilities to internally and externally track repair times, and ensure that it doesn’t need to wait on any other fleets.
P.A.M. Transport has never set a 24-hour benchmark, but aims to just get all repaired trucks back on the road as soon as possible. The express triage lanes of dealers have helped overall uptimes, P.A.M’.s vice president of maintenance, Shane Barnes, explained.
“In the old days, a carrier’s wait would depend on whatever kind of truck repairs were in front of it,” he said. “You might be behind an oil change, or you might be behind an engine swap.”
C.R. England doesn’t have the same approach, and has one of the fastest turnaround times of all–a 10-hour-or-under target for all repairs requested.
After initially assessing the vehicle, C.R. England’s technicians begin their estimated completion times which come with an accuracy target of 75%, plus or minus one hour of the time given. Because of this, repair times can come down to the minute.
“We’re trying to push the dealers to kind of do the same thing: Geofence your lot,” said vice president of maintenance for C.R. England, Doug Kading. “Don’t tell me when you wrote the work order up. Tell me how long, again, it was physically present at your location.”