- Photo: Volvo Trucks

Photo: Volvo Trucks

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, truck dealers have been creating new procedures to help ensure the safety of employees and customers, from paperless document handling to pickup and delivery for customers. Mack and Volvo highlighted what some of their Certified Uptime dealers have been doing.

Along with social distancing, workplace and vehicle disinfection, staggered work shifts, adjusted break and lunch times, usages of mask, gloves and disinfectants and hand sanitizer, Vision Truck Group, based in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, moved to a paperless operation, minimizing face-to-face interaction while still enabling efficiency by using Mack Asist, Mack’s web-based service management system. No paper is passed throughout the site. Rather, teams communicate via ASIST, allowing technicians to receive and view work assignments on their iPads, while also allowing fleet managers complete visibility into the work being completed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges of social distancing in our industry,” said John Slotegraaf, president of Vision Truck Group. “Vision already had some processes in place, including creating a paperless operation in 2019, offering a strong response to minimize exposure risk.”

Vision sites also feature enhanced automation, including motion-activated lighting, faucets, toilets, hand dryers, water fountains and doors, enabling employees  and customers to avoid contact with typically highly touched areas.

Affinity Truck Center, with two Certified Uptime locations in California’s Central Valley region, created a process for quick, accurate service check-ins. As trucks enter, they trigger a bell in the service office. A technician thoroughly disinfects each truck before it is driven through the gate. Each new write-up is handled through a secure, tented entryway equipped with a sensor that alerts service staff when a customer enters. Specially installed plexiglass barriers separate the customer and service advisor during check-in.

“Now that the weather is heating up, we are actively looking into additional ways to keep our customers safe and enable them to practice social distancing in a comfortable, indoor environment,” said Chris Paris, service manager, Affinity Truck Center. “Along with custom plexiglass shields and floor markers in both the parts and sales sides of all of our facilities, we are in the process of opening a larger customer waiting room with dedicated restrooms in a building next to our service location in Fresno, and have remodeled a storage room off the shop floor for an additional customer lounge in our Bakersfield location.”

TranSource, in Colfax, North Carolina, has been offering pickup and delivery services to assist customers who are working with reduced staff. 

“Many of our customers may need service but do not have the personnel available to bring the truck into our dealership,” said Jason Lucero, service director at TranSouce. “Recognizing this, we are offering them an option to have a CDL driver transport their truck should they need it.”

TranSource also has been increasing training and making sure any customers with vehicles affected by open campaigns or recalls are contacted to make sure their vehicle is addressed.

How Dealer Best Practices and Tech Tools Help During the Pandemic

All of these dealers are Volvo/Mack Certified Uptime dealers, which distinguishes them as having met stringent requirements to improve customer service. Certified Uptime dealers use a process of combined best practices for Volvo Trucks and Mack Trucks dealers and their technician teams. Repairs are quicker because of standardized workflows and redesigned service bays reserved specifically for trucks requiring less than four hours of work for service and repair.

The Asist service management system is built into the Certified Uptime Dealers’ workflows. With social distancing and other public health requirements still in place, service staff can use the Asist communication platform, developed by Decisiv for Volvo and Mack, which allows for remote communications and automates the documentation for each service event, creating a “paperless” working environment and reducing internal interaction.

Noregon's JPro platform allows Certified Uptime dealers to gather all essential information from the truck, including VIN, mileage, engine hours, diagnostic codes and other data, reducing direct contact with customers or vehicles. The software platform was recently upgraded to include the ability for dealers to update customer information for each truck in real time.

“The Asist platform has made it possible to have a paperless process in order to minimize human contact,” said John Slotegraaf, owner and dealer principal at Vision Truck Center.

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