Fleet management data offers optimal opportunities
Above: Fleet management software allows dealers to track and manage both their rolling stock and their rental fleet. Programs like HBS Systems’ Net View ECO allow dealers to monitor the work and location of service technicians and their vehicles. According to Greg Bennett of HBS, dealers are also realizing they can “grow their businesses by capturing real-time data to drive sales, parts management and rental fleet expansion.”
For years, farm equipment dealers have streamlined their service departments with digital systems to monitor work orders and service fleets, but with today’s shift to increasingly integrated software, many dealers are seeing similar efficiencies emerging at the parts counter and in the sales department.
“It’s all about ‘speed of access to information’,” says Greg Bennett, sales manager for HBS Systems. “Many of our customers are not only realizing the benefits of monitoring the work and location of service technicians and their vehicles, but are growing their businesses by capturing real-time data to drive sales, management. parts and expansion in rental fleets. ”
HBS provides integrated software to approximately 1,500 businesses, including agricultural equipment dealers and those in equipment rental, construction, mining, material handling and industrial environments across the country. These companies have real-time access to the status of company vehicles and rental equipment, up-to-date depreciated values of their equipment, internal communications between sales, service and parts personnel, and the ability to take advantage of warranties, financing and parts information.
“It’s all about ‘speed of information’. Our salespeople can download a wealth of customer information to help them tailor their sales calls to the buyer’s potential needs… ” – Greg Bennett, HBS Systems
Michael Prengler, vice president of operations at HBS, explains that the system, known as NetViewECO, works much like a smartphone app with choices for financial management, productivity and efficiency, as well as information. on profit centers within a company.
“The program has been around since 2001 and ran on the web through a browser with drop-down menu items,” he explains. “About 4 years ago, we decided to integrate all the programs we were using into the integrated system that is the data ecosystem we now call NetViewECO.”
Prengler and Bennett say their farm equipment dealers see benefits in time management for in-store service technicians as well as those doing field repairs, as service calls and appointments can be. monitored at all times by laptop or smartphone – eliminating scheduling confusion. The Service Connect feature of the system also allows a technician to record explanations as part of the service call recording by verbally recording information on a smartphone.
Through the use of telematics, dealers can track the location, condition, performance, and fuel and lubricant information of their own fleet of vehicles, as well as rental equipment or machinery. that they watch for customers.
The software allows managers to set geographic fences around any equipment or location to monitor the movement of specific parts of machines – indoors or outdoors – which helps deter theft, in addition to ” ensure a digital trace of the rental and return or any other use of machinery.
Bennett says the system has also been extended, in the case of dealers and service organizations affiliated with Kubota, to allow access to warranty information and bulletins, sales programs and incentives, and more. OEM specific information.
“Additionally, when our partner dealers have access to current customer information through NetViewECO, salespeople can download a wealth of information to help them tailor their sales calls to actual customer needs and interests,” he explains.
Kunau Implement, a Case IH dealer in Preston, Iowa, has been using Fleetmatics to track their service trucks for approximately 8 years. The GPS program has improved their efficiency on the road and allows the dispatcher to give customers more accurate times for a technician to arrive. Communication between dispatcher and technician is via text via Fleetmatics software and appears on the technician’s GPS unit in the truck, says Todd Kunau, president of Kunau Implement.
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In North Dakota, Terry Tolbert says RDO Equipment Co. has its own fleet of around 1,600 vehicles, 1,000 of which are equipped with telematics tracking, while the company simultaneously monitors more than 30,000 equipment. rental and customers. Tolbert is the dealership’s vice president of aftermarket inside sales.
“We are now integrating Bluetooth devices with telematics on various trailers that we manage, and we can tell when they are attached, how much they are towing and, of course, their location,” he explains.
In addition to the economics of fleet management, he says location and load information is very important, especially when the equipment is used in heavily regulated mining or oil activities.
RDO, a John Deere dealership headquartered in Fargo, ND, with more than 70 locations in the mid-north United States, uses a local company program called Pedigree to integrate all of the data collected into one system. by their system.
“Dealer groups like us, which sell multiple brands and own large fleets of vehicles, are looking for single-source systems where all vehicle equipment and data is hosted in one location,” says Tolbert. “This includes machine monitoring as well as information about our staff who work at many remote sites.
“Having all of this information in one place is just more efficient,” he says.
Tolbert says Pedigree engineers are migrating GPS / telematics information about equipment into the company’s business system, which promises better financial and accounting productivity. Yet the backbone of the system is efficient fleet management.
“With Pedigree, a manager can open a work order and be notified if the equipment has telematics and the location and capabilities of the machine. The system will also show the manager the location of our service vehicles, trucks and vendors in the area, to ensure an efficient response to the service call.
“It really helped management assign the fastest and most efficient response,” he explains.
“Having all the information in one place is simply more efficient …” – Terry Tolbert, RDO Equipment Co.
Although Tolberg says RDO has never written down how much time the system saves, he knows the benefits are there.
“Our commercial fleet of service vehicles has to be fitted with electronic tracking devices anyway, so it’s a very inexpensive way for us to use that information to increase productivity,” he says.
Todd Kunau, president of Kunau Implement in Preston, Iowa, has been using Fleetmatics software with data collected by Garmin GPS units for approximately 8 years to improve the efficiency of service departments in its Case IH stores.
“We adopted the program to keep track of our assets and do so efficiently with minimal intrusion into the technician’s work and with maximum benefit to the customer,” he explains. “We really haven’t changed the system much over the years because it has worked really well for us.
Currently, he is eager to add an element of fuel usage to the tracking data provided by Fleetmatics.
The system allows communication between him and his after-sales service and the technicians on the road making service calls. It allows the dispatcher to see the location of trucks on the road at any given time so that the job can be assigned to the nearest technician, regardless of which store they call their base, he says.
“Communication between the dispatcher and technicians is via text via Fleetmatics software and appears on the technician’s GPS unit in the truck,” Kunau explains. “This eliminates the time-consuming phone calls and interruptions that inevitably lengthen the service call.”
Kunau says the system has been a pleasure for the customer because the dealer can now give them precise answers as to where the technician is and when he can expect his problem to be resolved.
“The system has also made billing more accurate,” says Kunau. “With it, we can create a precise time on site and record exactly how many hours and minutes the technician was on site. This gives us a timestamp for the job, which helps us bill for the job warranty with the manufacturer. “
Kunau says the system has been a positive tool for all parties involved – including technicians, customers, accounting and management.
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