Maintenance

Thomas Built Parent DTNA Deploys Service Enhancements for Increased Uptime

Posted on May 15, 2020
Daimler Trucks North America is expanding its suite of service technology and customer solutions with Techlane, Service Pre-Authorization, and TechAssist. Photo courtesy Daimler Trucks North America
Daimler Trucks North America is expanding its suite of service technology and customer solutions with Techlane, Service Pre-Authorization, and TechAssist. Photo courtesy Daimler Trucks North America

PORTLAND, Ore. — Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is expanding its suite of service technology and customer solutions this year with the rollout of Techlane, Service Pre-Authorization, and TechAssist.

These enhancements to DTNA’s service process are designed to increase technician efficiency and service bay throughput, according to a news release from the manufacturer, complementing network capacity gained through recent dealership expansions. The enhancement are also expected to help propel DTNA closer to its goal of 24-hour maximum repair turnaround and uptime for all Freightliner, Western Star, FCCC, and Thomas Built Buses customers.

“With investments in new technologies like Techlane and TechAssist, we estimate that we could see as much as a 20% gain in technician efficiency at many dealer locations,” said Paul Romanaggi, chief customer experience officer of DTNA. “And with the addition of Pre-Auth to our service products, we eliminate communication lag that could make the difference between a four-hour versus next-day repair. It’s all about maximizing uptime. DTNA understands this, and so do our dealers.”

New to the Uptime Management Suite, Techlane leverages DTNA’s big data analytics including warranty repair history in connection with fault codes logged during a repair event to provide the technician with a jump-start in the diagnostic process.

The application provides specific guided diagnostics to verify identified components during testing by the technician, as well as an interface to the vehicle’s electronic systems through DTNA’s proprietary diagnostic tool, DiagnosticLink.

Techlane will also automatically log the data from each repair into the “technician’s story” in the background, to further inform future repairs across DTNA’s dealer network and eliminate the need for the technician to write a summary of the repair, according to the manufacturer.

Techlane was rolled out in a pilot phase in February 2020 at six dealer locations as part of a joint development process, with plans for deployment across DTNA’s dealer network later this year.

New to Pinnacle Fleet Solutions, the Service Pre-Authorization feature automates the repair approval process to reduce communication lag during a service event. When a fleet enrolls in this service, they establish a repair-cost threshold by dealer, under which repairs will proceed without the need for additional authorization. After the repair order is completed, the dealer submits the invoice to Pinnacle for the customer to finalize — a process that previously needed to be coordinated and completed before the vehicle service could occur.

DTNA’s Pre-Authorization program launched in January 2020, and currently has over 280 dealers enrolled. Customers can sign up with any participating dealer.

“Service Pre-Authorization and Techlane have brought a new level of efficiency to our service operations, dramatically improving our customer experience by reducing the amount of time their vehicles spend in our shops for repair,” said Scott Zeppenfeldt, senior vice president of operations at Velocity Truck Centers.

Coming later this year, TechAssist is a voice-controlled smartphone app designed to improve technician efficiency by providing audible step-by-step instructions on how to perform repair operations, leaving technicians’ eyes and hands on the repair job.

Conceptualized during a Hackathon sponsored by DTNA in Austin, Texas, in 2019, the winning team started the company Reinforce Inc., and is actively engaged with DTNA to bring this application to the dealer network.

Related Topics: Daimler Trucks North America, preventive maintenance, Thomas Built Buses

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