WheelTime Network - North America's largest dedicated service and parts network for Quality Truck Care – has launched Fleet Services. This is an integrated preventive maintenance program that can be combined with the other WheelTime service processes to reduce the cost of both planned and unplanned repairs.
In announcing the news, company president and CEO Mike Delaney said WheelTime continually investigates new ways to measure and perform services. To date, it has collected quality metrics on more than 1.4 million repair orders and followed up with more than 50,000 customer interviews to better understand how to make service better.
WheelTime has also identified that about half of the estimated 63 billion truck parts and service market is preventive maintenance, he added. In spite of significant fleet investments, however, more than 70 percent of the trucks and busses coming into member shops needed more than just the repair requested.
It was discovered that with the complexity of repairs that were normal for its 18 WheelTime member shops, customers were happy to have the shops take care of other work, such as brake work, inspections and replacements while the vehicles were in-house.
Reduced total out-of-service times
"By compressing multiple maintenance events into a single visit, we reduced total time out of service," said Delaney. "While we started out as primarily focused upon engines and transmissions, a large portion of our work is now on all makes and the total truck, bus or coach.
"Many repairs we see could have been easily avoided or reduced through better preventive maintenance practices," said Delaney. "The processes being used today often allow for too much variability.
"Also, inadequate record keeping and systems that don't talk to each other can make it hard to stay on top of things."
Critical to the development of WheelTime Fleet Services was the development and installation of WheelTime LINQ, the Network's "game-changing" customer service platform, Delaney explained. LINQ contains a number of innovative, service enhancing capabilities.
For instance, it can identify when a vehicle needs preventive maintenance through on-board telematics. The system also has the capacity to download detailed vehicle data to the appropriate location, generate a work order and monitor the work to ensure it is completed on time and to customer generated requirements.
With the same system in use at many locations, LINQ feeds data from work performed anywhere into the same central data base. On-site work and in-shop repairs across the Network can be combined to create the vehicle's complete maintenance records, and detailed records provide advanced data for analysis and continuous improvement in cost control for the fleet.
In addition, LINQ controls costs up front by ensuring quotes and work conforms to pre-agreed time standards, he said. "This ensures quality, eliminates surprises and speeds up the administrative processes surrounding the repair. Quotes can become nearly instantaneous, lengthy approvals are cut to minutes and disputes are eliminated."
Common set of systems
"Since we are standardizing on a common set of systems and capabilities, we can easily link the quote process to a centralized billing and rate verification process - on both parts and labor," said Delaney. "That gives us an unmatched capability to manage customer costs before, during and after the repair."
For fleets with challenges at many locations, WheelTime can roll up reporting to provide a clear picture of local, regional and national costs and trends, he noted.
The Network will expand service coverage through a high-quality associate partners program of independent shops and service providers, said Delaney. Associate partners will have access to standards data to maintain both cost controls and transparency in efforts to provide customers assurance that work will be performed consistently, wherever it gets done.