Service Provider Issues

New TMC committee seeks to build better relationships


Service providers and fleets face a variety of challenges in doing business with one another. Some key problem areas: communication processes, downtime, unfair bill times, padded estimates and warranty coverage and procedures. A new TMC committee has been established to deal with such matters, and one of its task forces has held a session on "truck triage."

In an effort to deal with the long-standing issues that service providers and fleets often have in transacting business together, the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) has established a new committee: the Service Provider Committee (SPC). Formed during TMC's annual February meeting, the SPC's objective is to create industry practices, improve efficiencies and build better relationships between fleets and service vendors.

"The Service Provider Committee will promote activities that will improve maintenance practices and relationships relative to both the independent service and OEM dealer network, and transportation providers," says Steph Sabo, TMC General Chairman and maintenance manager for NOTS (Norrenberns Truck Service), Nashville, IL.

"The committee will work to raise the bar on service," adds SPC Chairman Charles Voyles, service director for Truck Centers, Troy, IL. "As the committee evolves, and with the involvement of TMC's fleet members and its growing service-dealer membership, committee members will gain a better understanding of the challenges that both the fleets and service providers face, enabling the creation of procedures that will benefit both parties."

Seven task forces have been formed within the Service Provider Committee to target issues frequently identified as problematic. These task forces met during the TMC Annual Fall Meeting held Raleigh, NC, in mid-September.

"Each task force is working towards developing a TMC Recommended Practice to benefit both the service provider and fleet customer," Sabo says. "More tasks forces will be created in the future."

AREAS OF FOCUS

The initial task forces are:

Repair Assessment Task Force. The scope of this group is to create a workflow process to provide customers with a repair diagnosis within a specified period of time. This would be along the lines of Freightliner's Rapid Assessment, Volvo's Triage, International's Service Partner and DDC Distributors' WheelTime programs.

The objective is to establish an agreeable time frame with service providers to allow customers to have their unit diagnosed and a repair plan provided. This task force will also implement a matrix to measure the success of the assessment time frame to determine the best way to communicate between the service provider and customer.

Chairman of this task force is Scott Zeppenfeldt, vice president of service operations, Velocity Vehicle Group, Whittier, CA.

Warranty Task Force. This group is charged with identifying the workflow process for each OEM to determine fleet basic and extended warranty coverages.

Often, a fleet may have extended coverage with a truck OEM or parts supplier but dealers don't have visibility to this coverage, observes Sabo.

This task force is working to institute a common process to:
• Identify a customer's extended coverage with truck OEM or parts suppliers.
• Gain visibility of the coverage.
• Develop reporting tools for customers and service providers to submit warranty repairs.
• Find expedited ways to check for parts replacement warranty.

Jack Porter, fleet/service trainer, Decisiv, Glen Allen, VA, is this task force's chairman.

Approval and Authorization Task Force. The purpose of this task force is to produce a workflow process for estimating repairs and creating an approval process for the repairs to begin. From this will come a Recommended Practice between service providers and customers to supply guidance during the process of obtaining mechanical repairs to equipment from service providers, and to establish the guidelines for both parties to aid in the successful completion of repairs in a timely manner

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