Daimler Trucks North America is taking steps to meet a goal of "undisputed leadership" in the aftermarket parts and service business, including revamping inventory and parts delivery and using technology to speed diagnosis and repairs.
A business dedicated to customer service and dealer commitment is the way Friedrich Baumann, senior vice president, aftermarket, described DTNA's aftermarket operation at a press conference over the weekend in Miami, Fla., where Alliance Truck Parts was sponsoring Penske race car driver Sam Hornish in NASCAR's Nationwide Series.
As proof of this dedication, Baumann pointed out that DTNA Aftermarket has six remanufacturing centers, seven parts distribution centers, two call centers and a total of 730 dealer and distributor locations.
Baumann added that DTNA Aftermarket is working on gaining “undisputed market leadership,” and he challenged the journalists present at the press conference to track the company’s progress over the next year and ask him to report on how it did in achieving its goals.
He then went on to speak about what the company would do to achieve those goals. He said the company plans to broaden its retail approach, revamp its retail inventory management system, implement Detroit Connect, leverage the company’s Detroit remanufacturing operation and raise the network performance of its dealers and distributors.
Broadening the retail approach will include having more parts available at dealership locations. with the goal of driving more parts and service business to its dealer network. The company’s Alliance Truck Parts brand is part of this strategy.
Todd Biggs, director, aftermarket parts and service marketing, acknowledged that historically truck dealers have not done a good job meeting the needs of the second and third truck owner.
“The first owner gets 50% of his parts from the dealer, but after six years customers are not going back to dealers for parts because they are in value mode.”
The Alliance product line is aimed at owner-operators and small fleets as well as the second and third owners of trucks.
Biggs described the Alliance brand as a “true all-makes portfolio of products” and added that the company wants to gain a bigger piece of the vendor parts market. The Alliance brand currently is made up of 32 product lines in three categories: accessories, repair/replacement and maintenance.
Baumann explained that DTNA Aftermarket is revisiting the investment it made in its retail inventory management system and is ready to roll out a pilot retail parts program with some of its dealers. The company is moving to a direct delivery system to ensure that the right parts are at its dealerships when they are needed. In addition, it is working with its dealers to ensure that fleets get good customer service no matter which DTNA dealership they take their vehicle to.
Baumann also announced the availability of the Detroit Diesel all-makes telematics solution for mixed fleets beginning in the first quarter of 2014. Detroit Connect Visibility fleet software and the On-Board Tablet will use the latest commercial telematics technology to boost efficiency and driver performance, he says.
The Detroit Reman operation is shifting from Series 60 engines to the new DD engines. It will continue remanufacturing axles, but in the future will add DT12 transmissions to the remanufacturing portfolio. The company is looking at new market and business segments to expand into, which could include the remanufacturing of gasoline engines.
The company is continuing its efforts to raise the performance of its dealer network, and to date 400 locations are offering rapid assessment of vehicles brought in for repairs. Under Express Assessment, within two hours of bringing a vehicle in for service, the customer will be given a diagnosis of what the problem is, told if parts are available, find out how long the repair will take and deliver an estimate of what it will cost to repair.
To improve service performance, currently 240 dealers are using UpTime Pro to track and manage the vehicle repair process.
“Once a repair order is opened, everything concerning that repair will be recorded,” Baumann said.
In 2014 DTNA Aftermarket will introduce a fleet portal, which will allow the fleet owner or manager to see where a vehicle is in the repair process.
In an additional effort to have a strong dealer network, DTNA’s network of Elite Support Certified Dealers have agreed to new criteria for ongoing certification, promising a superior customer service experience, he explained. The new standard raises the number of criteria that dealerships must measure themselves against from 127 to 135, covering areas of customer service, turnaround times, quality of workmanship, rapid diagnosis of repairs, consistent communication and parts availability.
The company is working toward being able to benchmark the total cost of ownership for its customers. Baumann said an OEM can influence 15% of the total cost of ownership with is parts and service policies because they impact uptime.
To sum up DTNA’s aftermarket efforts, Baumann said, “We deliver uptime."