If your fleet is making a decision about whether to outsource fleet maintenance and repairs or keep it in-house, there are a variety of factors to consider. These include fleet size, budgets, shop and technician resources, service territories and a host of operational needs.
When it comes to handling roadside breakdowns, which can be one of a fleet’s most costly issues, downtime that impacts customer service is a major concern.
With 7,000 trucks operating out of approximately 300 terminal and satellite locations, Kenan Advantage Group (KAG) is North America’s largest liquid tank truck transporter. The KAG fleet, which delivers fuels, chemicals, specialty products, food products and industrial gases, is maintained at 130 company maintenance facilities.
“While we could operate our own roadside assistance program, we have a partnership with a nationwide provider,” says Kirk Altrichter, KAG’s vice president of fleet services. “For our operation we’d need at least 20 people to provide around-the-clock breakdown service, and we’d have to develop and maintain a vendor database.
“Ultimately, it’s about whether you can justify the expense and realize an ROI in your own breakdown assistance operation,” Altrichter continues. “If you’re comfortable with your provider from a control and quality experience perspective, there is a favorable return on outsourcing.”
Another ongoing and constantly evolving challenge related to roadside assistance for all fleets is the increasing complexity of new equipment. Breakdown services now require highly trained and certified technicians to ensure proper diagnosis and repair. Fully outfitted mobile service vehicles equipped with the same diagnostic tools as traditional shop facilities are also necessary, as is access to diagnostic information such as fault codes.
Managing breakdowns, however, is considerably easier today with the range of roadside assistance programs available from truck manufacturers, leasing organizations, truckstop networks and other service providers. Investing in the tools, technologies and technicians required to provide fleets with effective roadside assistance, those operations connect fleets with the help they need, and get trucks and drivers back on the road as quickly as possible.
Freightliner ServicePoint, a partnership between Freightliner Trucks and TravelCenters of America and Petro Stopping Centers, is a network of 24/7 roadside, express service and light-duty repair centers. Offerings include parts for brakes, electrical, heating and A/C service issues.
International Emergency Breakdown Service (EBS) is offered through more than 700 North American International dealers. Through the EBS Control Center, technicians have access to component data on all makes and models of trucks. Services offered include roadside repairs and, if necessary, towing to the closest International Truck dealer or participating service provider.
“Ultimately, it’s about whether you can justify the expense and realize an ROI in your own breakdown assistance operation”
Kenworth PremierCare works directly with drivers or dispatchers to handle breakdowns and provide a range of services, including towing, jump starts, tires and repairs. The roadside assistance system tracks all aspects of each job and has mapping technology to locate the nearest dealer or independent service provider. Personalized fleet profiles are available to specify roadside assistance preferences.
Mack OneCall around-the-clock roadside assistance is available anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. The network includes more than 500 authorized dealers and service locations with more than 5,000 qualified facilities. Also connected to OneCall are six distribution centers in North America so replacement parts are easily located and can be shipped for overnight delivery.
Peterbilt TruckCare provides roadside assistance for towing, jump starts, tires and repairs. Fleets joining the network can personalize profiles with roadside assistance preferences. The service also uses mapping technology that locates the nearest dealer or independent service provider. Also available is a Roadside Reporter system that provides real-time status of service requests.
Volvo Action Service offers 24/7 roadside assistance anywhere in Canada and the U.S. to schedule repairs or address any issue that happens on the road. If an unplanned service event keeps a truck from making its delivery, the operation can coordinate rentals or arrange for the load to be delivered by another fleet.
Leasing and more
FleetNet Emergency Roadside Assistance from FleetNet America uses experienced technicians to review event details and dispatch appropriate service providers to a breakdown location. Customized profiles are available to meet unique needs with specific instructions or protocols, and real-time updates are provided via text messages, emails and secure web logins.
Idealease IdealNet 24/7 roadside assistance offerings include replacement rental vehicles. The service, offered for the operation’s 45,000-plus trucks, tractors and trailers at more than 430 locations, is staffed by qualified service technicians equipped with diagnostics technology.
NationaLease Road Rescue, an emergency road service network, operates form more than 900 locations with 36,000 pre-approved repair facilities providing roadside assistance, fuel and substitute vehicles. Road Rescue also offers customized vehicle support information for service providers.
PacCentral Roadside Assistance is available from more than 50,000 PacLease, Peterbilt and Kenworth locations across North America. Breakdown calls are handled using mapping technology to pinpoint vehicle locations and the nearest service provider. If a PacLease vehicle requires time for non-scheduled maintenance, substitute vehicles are available to ensure uninterrupted deliveries.
Penske 24/7 Roadside Assistance is available to full-service leasing and contract maintenance customers to handle breakdowns, flat tires, towing, accident remediation and emergency permitting. Call center specialists work with qualified vendors and to keep fleets and drivers informed throughout the process. Comparable substitute vehicles are also provided if needed. The service also includes Roadside Assistance Tracking to track breakdown and repair details using Fleet Insight, an online suite of fleet management tools.
RoadSquad Connect deploys trained and experienced dispatch teams with the technical expertise required to diagnosis breakdowns qualified technicians with the tools and parts. Repairs, jump starts and towing services are offered.
Ryder offers emergency roadside assistance as part of its maintenance offerings. The 24/7 services include extended repair hours and available rentals across a network of 800 service facilities with more than 6,300 certified technicians.
XTRA Lease RoadWatch Emergency Service operates from an in-house call center staffed by company representatives who dispatch help from a network of 30,000 authorized repair vendors. RoadWatch also employs an automated management system so any an XTRA Lease branch can answer questions about a breakdown.