MIAMI, Fla. – Telematics will continue to evolve until no truck is ever offline, according to Ron Huibers, president of North American sales and marketing for Volvo Trucks. And judging by what Volvo launches this Monday, the future may well be here.
Volvo Trucks, during a special media conference held in Miami in conjunction with the Volvo Ocean Race Friday, announced the launch of its Remote Diagnostics aftermarket service for North America. The service is designed to provide “a seamless, dynamically connected system of vehicle management tools to help maximize vehicle uptime.” Remote Diagnostics will be standard on all Volvo-powered VN model highway trucks as of Monday.
Huibers said Volvo was the first North American truck manufacturer to deliver a telematics solution, offering fleet management tools in 2002. Today, Volvo’s Remote Diagnostics provides proactive diagnostic and repair planning assistance with detailed analysis of critical diagnostic trouble codes. The remote communication platform facilitates live dealer and customer communication through Volvo Action Service, Volvo’s 24/7 support team. Proactive diagnostics streamline service procedures with confirmation of parts on-hand before a truck arrives at a service location, increasing uptime.
Remote Diagnostics also provides service case communication and documentation among Volvo Action Service, dealers and customers through ASIST, Volvo’s web-based service management tool, which comes free of charge for two years with the purchase of all new Volvo trucks.
“Remote Diagnostics maximizes vehicle uptime by reaching far beyond proactive diagnostics to deliver total connectivity among the vehicle, Volvo and the decision-makers responsible for maintenance,” said Stephen Roy, Volvo Trucks senior vice president, aftermarket and soft products. “As part of our integrated business solution, Volvo Trucks Support Services, and bundled under Connected Vehicle services, Remote Diagnostics leverages Volvo’s support network and service management tools to rapidly address service issues before they occur.”
For nearly a year, Volvo field-tested Remote Diagnostics with motor carriers in the U.S. and Canada, drawing on the feedback from 15 customers operating more than 1,300 Volvo VNs with the service.. Volvo officials said the test trials found that by using Remote Diagnostics downtime could be reduced by about one day per event.
Challenger Motor Freight was one of the Canadian participants in the test trials and Bryan Burningham, director of maintenance at Challenger Motor Freight, was on hand at the launch to talk about his experience with the system.
“The Remote Diagnostics service has really helped with vehicle uptime,” Burningham concurred. “It’s much easier to manage events with the service communication tool because it provides a very good data trail so we know what we’re working on, what we’ve done and when we expect it will be done….Communication has really sped up and internally we are able to have more intelligent discussions.”
Ron Huibers said Remote Diagnostics raises the bar to a whole new level in terms of what a truck maker can deliver to help keep customers on the road moving freight. He believes it will help “leap frog” Volvo over competitors.
“If we can help keep trucks on the road, everybody wins,” Huibers said.
Remote Diagnostics is the first service being offered under the new Connected Vehicle Services category of the Volvo Trucks Support Services bundled aftermarket offering. Previously launched categories include:
Service Management Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, Volvo Trucks offers ASIST at no charge with all new truck purchases. ASIST lets customers receive electronic estimates, approve repairs and issue a purchase order, regardless of the vehicle’s location. The online tool allows the customer to monitor vehicle status online, communicate directly with the dealer and maintain an electronic “file cabinet” of service activities. Consolidating all maintenance events and communication in one web-based tool also eliminates invoice and repair surprises, according to Volvo.
Parts Purchasing Volvo customers can order parts online through their local dealer. The online portal provides 24/7 access to parts availability and pricing from the local Volvo dealer. Customers can also receive nationwide credit access at all Volvo Trucks dealer locations in the U.S. and Canada through a charge card program.
Fleet Services Volvo Trucks Support Services offers 24/7 roadside assistance through Volvo Action Services and full contract maintenance services and a variety of leasing and rental program options.