YOUNTVILLE, Calif. – Stefan Kurschner wants Daimler Trucks North America’s (DTNA) dealerships to be the Starbucks of truck dealers.
The senior vice-president, aftermarket for DTNA, wants customers to know they can go to any location in the continent and receive the same fast, consistent service. And he’s given dealers an ambitious challenge: to get trucks in for service and repaired within 24 hours.
“We cannot allow a customer to have a good experience, and then a not so good experience,” Kurschner told the trucking press during an event here July 17. “If you go into Starbucks to get a cup of coffee, you know what to expect. We are striving for exactly the same…We have spelled out a goal for us, that is 24-hour service turnaround. In 24 hours, your truck is back on the road.”
Fast turnaround times are vital today, as fleets struggle to find and retain good drivers. Kurschner said a driver is tempted to leave a company as soon as six to 12 hours after his or her truck has been broken down. The 24-hour goal is already being met by about 56% of DTNA’s dealerships, Kurschner said.
“We are not going to stop at 24 hours,” he added, noting dealers will be closely monitored to ensure they’re meeting the new target. “We believe this is a very feasible goal, but we need to make it nationwide.”
One of the ways DTNA plans to achieve this, is by expanding its network of parts distribution centers (PDCs) so that parts can be delivered to dealerships overnight in most cases. The company is adding its 10th PDC in Phoenix, Ari., which will mean 90% of all dealers will be able to receive next-day parts delivery if they place their order by 4 p.m. The sole Canadian PDC is in Calgary, Alta., but Kurschner said the company is planning to add another in Canada.
Improvements are also being made in the dealerships themselves. Kurschner said 75% of the work done by DTNA’s dealers now go through Elite Support locations. These are dealerships that have adopted best practices and met certain criteria.
“We are not selling them a sticker they glue on their window,” he said. “It’s something you have to work for. There’s a process of certification you go through and you have to earn the badge. It’s a rigorous process and not a one-time event, you get re-audited and have to live up to the standard.”
DTNA is also leveraging technology to improve service time and communication with customers. Building on customer demands to “tell me more, tell me sooner, and fix my truck faster,” Kurschner said a new suite of uptime management software programs have been brought together.
Express Write-up is a tablet-based app that connects to the truck via Bluetooth and reads the data needed by the service writer. It serves as the first point of contact with the customer.
Uptime Pro is a desktop-based program used by technicians in the dealership. It allows the technician to see the VIN, customer complaint, fault codes and other information. It also draws in big data generated by the entire population of trucks that have seen warranty repairs, which helps direct the technician to the most likely source of the problem.
“Uptime Pro is the central nervous system of the entire repair process,” Marty Kubiak, manager of service systems explained during a demonstration. “The technician is provided with standard repair instructions and times specific to the vehicle model. They have easy access to service manuals and instructional videos. Lengthy repair stories are eliminated.”
Uptime Performance is a measurement tool that provides key performance indicators and measure the dealers’ ability to meet its 24-hour turnaround objective.
The latest tool to be part of the suite is Service Tracker. It’s a mobile app which allows customers to track the repair process. Think of it as the pizza tracker app from Dominos, which lets you know when your pizza is being made, when it goes into the oven, and when it’s been sent out for delivery. Five fleets are in pilot testing, with a nationwide rollout scheduled for Sept. 1.
“With this tool on your phone, 90% of all trucks in our service network will be visible to our customers,” said Kurschner.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies