With commodity prices and supplier costs both on the rise, truck and engine maker Navistar plans to increase sticker prices by 2 percent — an increase Michael Cancelliere, the company’s president of truck and parts, also believes reflects the “higher value’’ of the manufacturer’s product line.
“It is not just about the cost of materials; there’s a value to improved up time and fuel economy,’’ he said. “Think about the value better fuel economy on a daily basis in the long haul segment means over a three to four-year trade cycle,” he said. “Then factor in the benefits of greater up time. A day of truck downtime at the very least is $1,000 on the low side.’’
Cancelliere noted that both economic growth and freight volumes are accelerating, especially in the truckload segment, where he said “freight is strong, capacity is tight and rates are up.’’
Cancelliere added that to date, year-over-year orders are up 14.3 percent for Class 6-7 trucks, 39 percent for heavy trucks and 25.5 percent for severe service trucks. He said he expects that orders for Class 8 sleeper tractors will be particularly strong heading into 2018.
Still, he stressed that while Navistar “must still be competitive’’ on price in the commercial truck market, the “real focus’’ must be on providing more value to customers.
To improve on that value proposition, Cancelliere said Navistar just opened a new Up Time Command Center at the company’s headquarters in Lisle, Ill., that will tap a dedicated cross-functional team of specialists and key suppliers to assure 24-hour, on-road support for customer vehicles. The goal is to get vehicles back on the road no later than 48 hours after diagnosing a problem, Cancelliere said.
“That’s our goal for our Diamond-edged certified dealers; that we diagnose the problem within two hours and then repair it within 8 hours,” he said. “That’s our focus: to get 80 percent of those repairs completed in 24 hours and the remaining 20 percent in 48 hours.’’
Cancelliere outlined three key facets of the “up-time mission’’ Navistar is embarking upon:
- Proactive: The Up Time Command Center will tap into the manufacturer’s OnCommand Connection telematics network that “constantly monitors and captures data from more than 325,000 vehicles collectively traveling more than 8.8 million miles per day,’’ according to the company.
- Predictive: The next step is to craft “predictive maintenance strategies that take advantage of OnCommand Connection Live Action Plans, a feature now being pilot tested, which will predict when parts are about to fail before they actually do. And also to provide the customers with alerts about potential corrective actions, the potential repair, the parts needed, and the training required to make the repair. Furthermore, if the repair is performed as instructed and the vehicle is under warranty, Navistar would pay for the repair,’’ according to Navistar.
- Collaborative: The Up Time Command Center is working collaboratively with the international dealer network to begin offering 24-hour parts and service availability to support up time. This goal builds on the company’s long-standing commitment to 24-hour parts availability, which includes “hot-shot’’ part deliveries from one of the company’s parts distribution centers to the dealer.
To date, Cancelliere said Navistar customers using OnCommand Connection report a 30-percent reduction in unplanned maintenance.
“The Up Time Command Center reflects our steady progress in evolving to a proactive, predictive and collaborative maintenance model,’’ he added. “It builds on the International A26 Customer Up Time Assurance Program, which we launched in August, to signal our confidence in our newest 12.4-liter, big bore engine.’’
Cancelliere noted, too, that key suppliers such as Meritor, Cummins and Bendix will provide specialists to help staff the OEM’s new Uptime Command Center.
“The customer doesn’t see their names, though; they see our badge on our trucks,” he added. “That’s why we need to own the support platform.”
Navistar is also planning to launch what it calls the OnCommand Connection Marketplace on Friday, October 27; a new open-architecture, cloud-based technology e-commerce platform for complete telematics services and a broad range of related driver support tools and will be open to customer-created and third-party apps.
“It is another way we are helping our customers become more profitable,” Cancelliere noted. “The OnCommand Connection team developed the marketplace to give drivers and fleet managers centralized and easy access to applications and other resources that aid in day-to-day operations.”
He stressed that Navistar’s goal is “to provide our customers with the best overall connected experience and we’re doing this by creating products and services that are open to everyone.”