How Connected Are You to Your Truck?

Freightliner Trucks

Freightliner Trucks Explains Why Connectivity Is Key to Profitability

Wouldn’t it be great if the “check engine” light in your car was more informative? Since the majority of the time it signals minor issues, people tend to ignore it until something is noticeably wrong. But that’s always a gamble considering how expensive repairs can be.

When it comes to keeping trucks rolling down the road hauling freight or delivering loads to the jobsite, knowing if a warning light means you have to stop immediately, or you can wait until the next time the vehicle is in the shop for routine maintenance, can have a big impact on uptime and profitability.

That’s the idea behind Detroit Connect® and its Detroit Connect Virtual Technician® remote diagnostic system. It is like having an extra set of eyes and ears to inform you of malfunctions as soon as they occur.

Trucks perform tough tasks on a daily basis. Even the best-maintained trucks can develop unexpected maintenance issues. The ability to capture, transmit and analyze data directly from your vehicles as they move down the road can not only dramatically improve operational efficiency for fleets and owner-operators alike, it can prevent costly breakdowns and losses in uptime.

When it comes to lowering Real Cost of Ownership℠ (RCO), nothing is more important than keeping a truck on the road. Unscheduled repairs mean you’re not making money.

Connectivity Is a Tool

Virtual Technician, standard on all Freightliner Trucks equipped with Detroit® engines, offers real-time engine fault code diagnosis through data transmission capabilities using telematics hardware equipped with a 3G cellular signal. That fault code information, including a 75-second recording of the fault event, is sent to our Customer Support Center (CSC) in Detroit for determination of fault severity.

In many “Service Soon” events, the problem causing the fault code can be resolved during planned downtime, preventing interruption of the delivery of important cargo. If it is an urgent issue — a “Service Now” event — CSC technicians can analyze the situation and alert fleet managers to the cause of the fault, what the recommended actions are to solve the problem, what parts are needed, and what the nearest dealer locations are with those parts. Fleet managers can directly communicate with the factory-trained staff at the CSC for further guidance in solving the problem with their Detroit engine.

Still wondering if connected vehicle services can really help your business? Ask a trucking company owner who has benefited from Virtual Technician. Detroit’s Customer Support Center has assisted more than 16,800 customers with actionable and detailed service recommendations as they rolled down the highway.

Detroit Connect Virtual Technician takes the guesswork out of heavy-duty truck engine repair, enabling drivers and fleet managers to quickly and accurately understand warning lights, and in many cases allowing them to continue driving when others would have to stop to evaluate the event. This level of connectivity plays an important role in minimizing time in the repair shop by reducing the diagnostic time, since the Detroit Customer Support Center has already investigated the situation.

Tools to Run Your Trucking Business

Freightliner customers who need a fleet management telematics solution should also consider using Zonar Systems’ Ground Traffic Control fleet software to gather sophisticated real-time data. Zonar’s 2020 mobile communications tablet can be used to simplify driver communication and recordkeeping. The 2020 tablet comes with four useful apps that help streamline driver reporting responsibilities and communications. The tablet makes it easier to track hours of service, keep drivers informed through text or voice messaging, document pre- and post-trip inspections, and provides advanced navigation. This device reduces downtime and helps maximize driver performance.

Freightliner’s focus on improving its customers’ Real Cost of Ownership is a comprehensive consideration of hard and soft costs over the lifetime of a vehicle. Some of the costs are hard numbers you can get by using a calculator, like monthly diesel expenses; others, such as avoiding unplanned downtime caused by breakdowns, are a bit more difficult to express in dollars and cents. But these real-life challenges factor into the RCO for any trucking business just as much as an increase in the price of tires.

Freightliner Trucks is a leader in telematics because we recognize connectivity is a key part of managing Real Cost of Ownership. By receiving data about your trucks while they are on the road or at a jobsite, you can analyze truck performance, schedule maintenance during planned downtime, check electronic driver’s logs and contact drivers with important information.