Effective warranty administration, says Derek Messulam, vice president of channel sales at Decisiv, starts with an understanding of warranty coverage going into a service event.
“Only by having access to consolidated information at the point of service can a fleet capture all of the warranty coverage on its vehicles,” he states. “The next critical steps that follow are documenting the item and administering a process for reimbursement from the manufacturer. Without these capabilities, fleets are losing money.”
Fleets using the Decisiv Service Relationship Management (SRM) platform can address this challenge effectively. The SRM platform delivers information about parts used in vehicle service activity through a shared-view web portal that makes the process more organized. Today, more than 750 medium- and heavy-duty fleets are using the SRM platform to manage more than 325,000 assets.
“One part of the value of SRM is in the ability to look up information, including a consolidated picture of warranty,” Messulam says. “Research on one large LTL fleet that uses this technology showed several situations where they had figured out that some items were under warranty. While that was only a small sample of the data, the value of that information was easily seen in the savings they realized.”
In-house fleet maintenance software also enables more effective warranty management. For example, TMT Fleet Maintenance from TMW Systems includes a module that provides for OEM, extended and aftermarket parts warranty tracking, as well as failed parts analysis. Equipment and component warranty management also is a feature of Dossier Fleet Maintenance Software from Arsenault Associates.
Efficient and timely
OEMs also are enabling more effective warranty management. “At Peterbilt Motors, we work closely with our dealer network to ensure that all aspects of warranty administration are handled in an efficient and timely manner,” says Rick Wood, director of customer service. “Peterbilt provides warranty training at both the dealer and customer levels that comprehensively explains best practices for filing warranty claims.
“During a service experience is when our dealers explain how a warranty is most effectively used,” Wood continues. “In addition, customers are provided with detailed documentation to reference should the need for a warranty inquiry arise.”
In select cases, Peterbilt will allow dealers to “sponsor” a large fleet customer. This sponsorship lets the fleet perform its own warranty repairs, while warranty administration details are handled by the dealership. This service is typically provided to larger fleets that want to integrate the warranty process with their existing operations or have remote operations.”
Mike Kalkoske, director of quality services for Kenworth Truck Co., says the OEM encourages customers to work with their dealers through a Dealer Sponsored Fleet Warranty (DSFW) program. “In this case,” he explains, “the customer does its own repairs and sends invoices to the dealer, who in turns submits a warranty claim on the customer’s behalf. We reimburse the dealer and they reimburse the customer.”
Navistar also works with fleets to perform some warranty work in-house. “We validate some fleets with their own shops to perform minor warranty repairs on vehicles,” says Elissa Maurer, manager of external communications. “Examples of minor warranty work include repairs to components such as starters or alternators.”
A choice for fleet managers, contract maintenance services offered through OEM dealer networks can address challenges such as the increasing complexity of late model vehicles and the cost of diagnostic equipment. Additionally, outsourcing service to dealer networks can enhance productivity in fleet maintenance operations.
Offerings from OEMs include:
Daimler Trucks North America
Daimler Trucks North American (DTNA) Excelerator Contracted Services is a suite of services available through select dealers that includes Excelerator Contract Maintenance. The program offers a Contracted Preventive Maintenance program that covers a negotiated annual quantity and type of PM, service and scheduling, required oil and fluids, filters, roadside assistance and emergency tire purchases.
A Contracted Comprehensive Maintenance offering from DTNA includes scheduled maintenance, PM service and scheduling, routine and non-routine repairs, breakdown event coordination, required oil and fluids during PM, tire maintenance and replacement, towing and fulfillment of DOT record-keeping requirements.
Mack Complete Care is a preventive maintenance and inspection plan that includes scheduling of service by factory-trained technicians. Complete Care is offered as part of the Bulldog Asset Protection component of Mack Pedigree Uptime Protection, a suite of aftermarket solutions. Complete Care can be bundled into the price of a new Mack truck at the time of purchase, or it can be purchased separately within the first nine months after delivery.
Customers utilizing Complete Care also have access to vehicle service history reporting through MVASIST, Mack’s web-based fleet service management system developed by
Decisiv, that allows fleet managers, service providers and dealers to work together in real time to expedite repairs.
Mack also offers Quick Care service at dealer locations across the U.S. and Canada. Quick Care provides pricing on parts and service. Quick Care programs offered by preferred dealers will establish a fixed monthly expense that provides for annual fleet maintenance budget planning and priority scheduling.
Available through the Volvo Trucks dealer network is the Uptime Protection Plan, which bundles pre-purchased preventive maintenance with other features such as additional engine warranty. Customers only need to make one call when they require a service event and a Volvo Action Service case manager will schedule the customer service at a dealer location. The event is then managed via Volvo’s service event management tool ASIST, developed by Decisiv.
As part of the Uptime Protection Plan, Volvo’s Ride Assured base service plans can be purchased for 24-, 36-, 48- and 60-month terms and can be financed with the purchase of a new truck. Additional engine component warranty included in the Uptime Protection Plan is a 36-month/300,000-mi. plan. Through its Uptime Protection Plan, Volvo also offers registered customers a $100 a day credit for each day up to five consecutive days for a warrantable engine repair that is not completed within 24 hours from the time of diagnosis.