Aftermarket

Commentary: Bringing the Diagnostics to the Fleet

December 2016, TruckingInfo.com - Editorial

by Denise Rondini, Aftermarket Editor - Also by this author

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Denise Rondini
Denise Rondini

Rapid diagnosis of trucks has been standard operating practice at many dealerships for quite some time. But some dealers have taken it a step further.

One of them is Fyda Freightliner. At its Cincinnati, Ohio, location, it recently launched Mobile Express Assessment, a program that dispatches a mobile van and a technician to where the customer’s truck is located. The van is equipped with all of the latest diagnostic equipment and operates as a fully functioning office, allowing a preliminary diagnosis and worst-case estimate for repairs.

This is not the traditional mobile maintenance service that many dealers provide. According to Dustin Nunley, service manager for Fyda Freightliner Cincinnati, “Mobile EA is a diagnostic process only, and our technicians do not do on-site repairs, so we don’t have the overhead typically related to traditional mobile service and maintenance trucks.”

The state-of-the art mobile diagnostic vehicle is used to diagnose complex fault codes, performance concerns, regeneration issues, etc., he explains. “Mobile EA features a flat base rate change with no hidden costs, such as mileage.”

The idea for Mobile Express Assessment grew out of a weekly change management meeting at the dealership. “It was during one such meeting when our team was discussing ideas on how to increase our business level by adding a new offering that would be a big customer benefit,” he explains.

“By offering our customers the opportunity to have our service technician come to them to diagnose their vehicles, we not only build our relationships with our customers, but we also help them control their maintenance expenses. Mobile Express Assessment allows the customer to make an educated decision about needed vehicle repairs without the cost associated with transporting the unit to our facility,” he adds.

Carole Firth, marketing manager for Fyda Freightliner, says that as with Express Assessment at the dealership, with Mobile EA the dealership promises that within two hours from when the technician arrives at the customer’s location, he will receive a preliminary diagnosis, preliminary repair strategy and cost estimate. “Then they can decide what they want to do. Do they want the repair made or not? If they do, we can help coordinate them getting the vehicle to our Cincinnati location.”

Nunley says there are many benefits to the program for customers, including:

  • Eliminates the wasted expense of a tow
  • Eliminates cost associated with a driver transporting the truck to the repair facility
  • Reduces downtime
  • Allows the customer to retain control over their vehicle and to make educated repair decisions before the unit leaves the yard.

Since it was launched in August, there has been an “overwhelming positive response from our customers,” Nunley says. He adds that customers have told him they “appreciate the timely response, the flat rate and the instant communication they receive once a diagnosis has been made.”

He says, “customer retention rates have been fantastic” and that once customers use the Mobile EA program they become repeat customers. Nunley adds that each month appointments are increasing and the dealership is “excited to see the program successful so early in the launch.”

It remains to be seen whether the program will expand to other Fyda Freightliner locations. The dealer currently has six locations and is in the process of building a seventh. Firth says, “even though we are a group, each location is a little bit independent and the management team [at each location] decides for itself what they want to do.” But Nunley says other locations are watching the program’s progress to see whether it will be a viable program to launch in their area of responsibility.

Corrected 1/10/2017 to correct the spelling of Carole Firth's name. Our apologies for the error.

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