In the middle of an emergency roadside service operation

Emergency roadside assistance was the cover story of Fleet Maintenance’s June 2011 issue. For that article, I spoke with a number of emergency roadside service providers, and I learned a lot in the process.

I learned even more recently when I had the opportunity to observe an emergency roadside service call from all viewpoints, thanks to the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.

The company staged a live simulation of its fleetHQ and business solutions programs at its Danville, VA, tire manufacturing plant – Goodyear’s largest North American truck, bus and airplane tire manufacturing facility.

I talked about touring that plant a couple of blogs ago.

In addition to Goodyear and Dunlop tires, fleetHQ provides 24/7 roadside assistance through the 2,000 plus locations in the fleetHQ Servicing Dealer Network. Plus, fleetHQ offers a variety of other services and tools to address fleet and owner-operator needs.

Looking on

The simulation took attendees step-by-step through the process of a fleetHQ road service.

The demonstration began with a company driver, whose tractor trailer was down due to a blown left rear outside tire. We watched as he called the fleetHQ service center and explained his problem to the agent who got his call.

We could see the fleetHQ service center via a television hook-up, just like the evening news anchor talks with a correspondent in a foreign country.

Some 80 agents are on duty over three shifts.

Getting permission from the driver first, the fleetHQ agent pinged the driver’s smartphone to determine his exact location.

Since the trucking company had already registered with fleetHQ (there are no enrollment fees), after giving his truck number, the agent was able to identify the particular tractor, its tire sizes and the fleet’s preferences for replacement tires.

The fleetHQ agent then located the nearest servicing dealer, after which he put the driver and road service technician in contact with each other.

The next part of the simulation was the road service technician arriving on scene and replacing the tire and completing the service call by notifying the fleetHQ service center.


Certain standards

I learned from Bruce Woodruff, director of business solutions marketing, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems, that companies who join the fleetHQ Servicing Dealer Network must meet certain company and tire technician standards and requirements.

Beyond that, Goodyear continually measures how its servicing dealers perform to ensure they continue to meet performance standards.

Woodruff was the MC for the emergency roadside incident simulation.

“The fleetHQ benefits are available to fleets of all sizes, from owner-operators to the largest national fleets,” he explained. “The preferred fleet program includes nationwide pricing and billing available through the fleet or owner-operator’s hometown dealer.

“Once you establish your tire and service program with your local participating fleetHQ dealer, you will pay the same price for covered fleetHQ services, regardless of where you get service throughout the fleetHQ network. For preferred fleets, billing is handled through your hometown dealer, so there is no need for a driver to carry cash.”

Within Goodyear’s fleetHQ program is the fleetHQ Truck Stop Network. This is a network that includes more than 300 locations. Participants include Wingfoot Truck Care Centers, Travel Centers of America, Petro Truck Stops, PTP Truckstop Network and Boss Truck Shops.

The reason for the simulation, Woodruff told me, was “to demonstrate all of fleetHQ’s many components, which, when fully leveraged and working together, can help fleets make better business decisions, improve truck uptime and drive down their cost of operation.”

The simulation did just that.

On a side note, kudos to Tim Miller, Goodyear’s “Tire Answer Man” and marketing communications manager for the company’s commercial tire business, for his performance as the downed trucker, and to Larry Tucker, Goodyear segment marketing manager, who well-played the tire service technician.