Warranty Recovery

Tips for maximizing fleet profitability through a formalized program


There also ought to be a “system that provides the supply base the information they need to quickly and efficiently process their claims,” says Needham of Eaton. “Claim quality is a very important factor in reducing the rework in the claim process flow.”

“The most important advice I can offer is to know the terms and conditions of the vehicle and component warranties,” Kenworth’s Kalkoske says. “A fleet should have a strong relationship with their selling dealer. The dealer can, at times, intercede on the customer’s behalf and ask for policy consideration through the field service organization if there are extenuating circumstances that should be considered.

“If a fleet is capable to do warrantable repair work, it needs to keep their technicians trained and tools in good shape so that warranty claims aren’t rejected due to ‘improper repairs, no defect found.’”

SOFTWARE PROGRAMS

There are a wide variety of commercially available warranty recovery software programs that can make the warranty process more efficient.

“One of the most daunting tasks of warranty administration is identifying potential claims in the mass of paperwork that flows through a maintenance system,” says Dave Walters, technical sales manager, TMW Systems, a developer of enterprise management software for the surface transportation services industry. “Without computerization, this task requires a manual review of each document by a skilled warranty administrator or team of individuals based on the volume of repairs.

“This manual process occurs after-the-fact and eliminates the option of optimizing the warranty solution. Computerized, electronic records lay the foundation for automated warranty identification and warranty alerts in real-time, whereby the fleet can optimize a repair solution.”

“Inputting data into a software program provides an avenue to track all warranty information, adds Andrew Lewellyn, senior sales consultant, Collective Data, an industry-leading fleet management software provider.

“It’s a lot like automatic bill pay,” Lewellyn continues. “Customers can enter in their billing data and not have to worry about it anymore. Warranty recapture in software provides the security of knowing that all warranty information is logged, tracked, recouped and reportable.”

SOFTWARE MODULES

Some warranty software systems can identify warrantable repairs at the creation of the repair order or outside repair. TMW Systems’ Walters says that by building the vehicle warranty schedule into the vehicle master file, the system will monitor each repair order and each individual repair order line for potential warranty.

This early identification allows the fleet to optimize a repair solution, order parts or farm out the work to the warranty provider.

Software programs also have the ability to alert a service writer or technician that a particular job or task may be covered under warranty, says Marc Knight senior consultant, AssetWorks, an industry-leading provider of technology and consulting solutions for asset-and-infrastructure-intensive organizations.

“When work orders are created in real time as the work is done, such alerts can prompt maintenance managers to determine if the job should be sent to the vendor covering the warranty or, if the shop is an authorized to do the warranty, take the steps necessary to capture the information to file a claim with the vendor.

“Systems may also have a warranty claims processing function that takes the labor and part charges from the warranty job and uses that information to file a claim with the vendor. These modules link the repair to the claim, track the status of the claim and then apply any reimbursement back to the work order the claim is linked to.

“This allows a fleet to manage its warranty reimbursements and insure that claims are filed and paid,” Knight goes on. “Additionally, fleets can compare the cost of the work against the reimbursed amount to see the financial impact of warranty activity against its bottom line.”

Some software systems also have modules and tools that provide the ability to see not only vehicle warranty, but also part warranties on the vehicle before the vehicle ever hits the shop, notes Collective Data’s Lewellyn.

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