Daimler Trucks North America launched a new e-commerce platform, is using technology to help dealers make repairs faster – including simplifying the warranty process – and is on the cusp of adding predictive diagnostics to its uptime tools.
 - Photo: Deborah Lockridge

Daimler Trucks North America launched a new e-commerce platform, is using technology to help dealers make repairs faster – including simplifying the warranty process – and is on the cusp of adding predictive diagnostics to its uptime tools.

Photo: Deborah Lockridge

Daimler Trucks North America launched a new e-commerce platform and is using technology to help dealers make repairs faster – including simplifying the warranty process – and is on the cusp of adding predictive diagnostics to its uptime tools.

At the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta Oct. 28, DTNA launched a new e-commerce platform called Excelerator.

“About 20% of last year’s truck parts purchases were made on electronic devices,” said Senior Vice President of Aftermarket Stefan Kirschner. “That trend will only grow, and we aim to be at the forefront of the industry.”

Excelerator, launching early in 2020, is “turbocharging uptime,” Kirschner said. It streamlines access to the company’s parts catalog, provides ETA track and trace, and allows for delivery in as fast as two hours if part is available at the dealership.

“It links our entire network — our Dealer Management Systems, parts distribution centers, and Alliance Parts stores, adding an unparalleled level of transparency and setting the foundation for future customer enhancements. It makes it easier for customers to get the right part at the right time at the right price.” Rapid delivery through a dedicated delivery service further contributes to increased uptime; DTNA’s dealer network has been investing heavily in delivery vans along with other improvements.

Excelerator is just one part of what DTNA is doing to reduce the time spent on repairs, both in the service bay and in the office.

Guided Diagnostics for the DTNA Techlane app, a streamlined pre-authorization process, and a forthcoming Voice App for technicians are all dedicated efforts to speed up turnaround times at the dealer.

The launch of a new One Stop program in November 2019 will eliminate the variations in claim processing requirements and procedures for customers and dealers when filing for supplier extended coverage programs for parts supplied by DTNA’s top suppliers.

Paul Romanaggi, recently named chief customer experience officer, explained to HDT that technicians are able to quickly download all the history of the vehicle, its warranty history, mileage, powertrain components, the year and other critical information. From there, technicians conduct an Express Assessment within two hours.

“Then we utilize the customer pre authorization system if it’s a customer pay job to get auto approval of the fleet to begin the repair. From there we then move into Guided Diagnostics. That takes all that information and through algorithms and so forth, it tells technicians, here’s what the problem is with the truck with 97% accuracy.”

“From there they go into Tech Lane, which guides them through the repair process. Service Tracker allows the customer to see the status of the vehicle from point of arrival to point of departure, so they get to see the truck through the whole process.”

But the really exciting part, he said, is that in 2020, “We’re going to move in predictive analytics. Predictive diagnostics will actually identify a failure before it occurs. We’re working hard with outside IOT firms to develop these algorithms. That will be another tool, on board in the vehicle, which says we’re predicting this failure, finish what you’re doing, then bring your truck in so we can replace that component that’s starting to fail so you don’t have unplanned downtime.”

Also in 2020, DTNA will launch voice recognition technology for its technicians.

“You know as well as I do there’s a big shortage of techs out there," said Romanaggi. "We have to make our techs more productive through technology. They’ll be able to ask their smartphone questions from all our technical and warranty literature and information, and the smartphone will then read them back the answer to their question – so that way they don’t have to go back and forth to their laptop to get the information they need.” Or even set down their tool.

Also making things faster and easier will be the new One Stop warranty system.

“Today a lot of industry suppliers provide warranty coverage over and above the OEM’s coverage, but every one of those suppliers has got their own method, their own process, their own terms, their own system to file for it,” Romanaggi explained. “It’s a pain, it’s terrible and it’s frustrating for everybody. We’re taking all of that and we’re running it into our warranty system, so when the truck comes in, we know what the supplier’s coverage is. We then allow the dealer to do the repair, file for their reimbursement through us, we pay them up front, and then we deal with the filing and the recovery on the back end. We’re in pilot with about eight of our dealers right now and hope to launch in November/December.”

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