Daimler’s aftermarket initiatives resulting in faster repair times

YOUNTVILLE, Calif. – A renewed focus on aftermarket support is reaping rewards for Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) as it continues to pursue its goals of completing all truck repairs within 24 hours.

Stefan Kurschner, senior vice-president of aftermarket with DTNA, announced a year ago the ambitious plan to turn around trucks needing repairs within 24 hours. He said significant progress has been made, while work remains to be done.

“We have learned by talking to and focusing on our customers, they need to know more. They need to know it faster. And they expect trucks to ultimately be fixed faster. We said ‘Okay, we get that,’ and we made a commitment and promise of 24 hours or less,” Kurschner said during a press briefing here Aug. 20. “Last year we started to talk about what it takes to make this promise a fact. We talked about the need to have parts available, the right parts at the right time at the location they’re needed to be, we needed better systems to track, to diagnose and to inform our customers.”

DTNA is in the process of opening a new parts distribution center in Phoenix, Ariz., which will allow it to ship parts to 90% of its dealer locations within 12 hours. The company is also in the site selection process for a second Canadian parts distribution center, to complement the one in Calgary, Alta.

Kurschner also spoke of DTNA’s broad service network, which includes 636 authorized locations, 173 distributor locations and another 251 partner service locations, including the TA Petro travel stop chain, a partnership that dates back 20 years. It adds 1,000 service bays and 3,300 technicians.

The Alliance Truck Parts chain is also expanding, and now boasts 10 standalone stores, 32 stores within dealerships, and features 11 new value product lines.

“With this, we have more parts with more competitive prices at the right locations,” said Kurschner.

To improve turnaround times at dealerships, the company uses an Uptime Management Suite, featuring Uptime Pro, Express Writeup, Service Tracker, and Techlane. This provides better visibility into the repair process for customers and expedites repair times.

Similar efforts, but a different approach, is being taken to also enhance the aftermarket experience for vocational customers.

“We are trying to expand our footprint in the vocational segment,” said Kurschner. “It becomes obvious that what works for on-highway does not necessarily work for vocational customers…we need to go where the customer is and provide that service application.”

A group has been established within DTNA’s aftermarket operations to assess the needs of vocational customers.

DTNA aftermarket boss (left) Stefan Kurschner and Western Star president David Carson discuss the aftermarket needs for vocational truck buyers.
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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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