DTNA expands service technology to maximize uptime

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Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has announced it is expanding its suite of service technology and customer solutions with the rollout of Techlane, Service Pre-Authorization and TechAssist this year.

These enhancements to DTNA’s service process are designed to increase technician efficiency and service bay throughput, complementing network capacity gained through recent dealership expansions, and helping to propel DTNA closer to its goal of 24-hour maximum repair turnaround and uptime for all Freightliner, Western Star, FCCC and Thomas Built Buses customers.

“With investments in new technologies like Techlane and TechAssist, we estimate that we could see as much as a 20 percent gain in technician efficiency at many dealer locations,” says Paul Romanaggi, DTNA chief customer experience officer.

“And with the addition of Pre-Auth to our service products, we eliminate communication lag that could make the difference between a four-hour versus next-day repair,” Romanaggi says. “It’s all about maximizing uptime. DTNA understands this and so do our dealers.”

New to the Uptime Management Suite, Techlane leverages DTNA’s big data analytics including warranty repair history in connection with fault codes logged during a repair event to provide the technician with a jumpstart in the diagnostic process. The application provides specific guided diagnostics to verify identified components during testing by the technician as well as an interface to the vehicle’s electronic systems through DTNA’s proprietary diagnostic tool, DiagnosticLink, DTNA says.

Techlane also will automatically log the data from each repair into the “technician’s story” in the background to further inform future repairs across DTNA’s dealer network and eliminate the need for the Tech to write a summary of the repair. The company says Techlane was rolled out in a pilot phase in February 2020 at six dealer locations as part of a joint development process, with plans for deployment across DTNA’s dealer network later this year.

New to Pinnacle Fleet Solutions, the Service Pre-Authorization feature automates the repair approval process to reduce communication lag during a service event.  When fleets enroll in this service, they establish a repair-cost threshold by dealer, under which repairs will proceed without the need for additional authorization. After the repair order is completed, the dealer submits the invoice to Pinnacle for the customer to finalize, a process that previously needed to be coordinated and completed before the vehicle service could occur, the company says.

DTNA’s Pre-Authorization program launched in January 2020, and currently has more than 280 dealers enrolled to support their customers. Customers can sign up with any participating dealer today.

“Service Pre-Authorization and Techlane have brought a new level of efficiency to our service operations, dramatically improving our customer experience by reducing the amount of time their vehicles spend in our shops for repair,” says Scott Zeppenfeldt, senior vice president of operations, Velocity Truck Centers.

Coming later this year, TechAssist is a voice controlled smartphone app designed to improve technician efficiency by providing audible step-by-step instructions on how to perform repair operations, leaving technicians’ eyes and hands on the repair job. Conceptualized during a Hackathon sponsored by DTNA in Austin, Texas, in 2019, the winning team started the company Reinforce Inc., and is actively engaged with DTNA to bring this application to the dealer network, the company says.

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