The pandemic has forced everyone to move towards digital means of sales or communication with customers. Whether it is one of those Google Meet or Zoomcalls, customers too are happy to connect with their vehicle manufacturer and seeks answers to queries. Volvo-Eicher Commercial Vehicles or VECV as it is better known as, claiming to be the first-mover in digitalising critical functions in its organisation. The company says that they have made significant investments in its digitalisation initiatives – accelerated during the pandemic. This started from sales and continued to service offerings, till continuously driving operational and supply chain excellence. The digitalisation, VECV claims, has led to a significant reduction in the overall cost of ownership for customers by providing better and market-ready products.
VECV embarked on its digital transformation journey in the manufacturing domain with the extensive usage of advanced technologies like AI and ML-enabled IoT frameworks. The state-of-the-art manufacturing execution system was designed to enable faster decision-making on shop floors, providing meaningful insights to improve overall line efficiency, productivity and quality. In designing, for example, VECV supports technologies like multi-mechanical CAD, 3D printing and rapid prototyping. The entire digitized product life cycle is inclusive of product build history, serialized part inventory and software versions, with a complete picture of the product allowing service function to analyse the product’s status and performance for scheduling preventive and predictive maintenance.
With 100 per cent tracking and traceability of all assembly operations, the company witnessed a significant reduction in time required to identify the root cause issues. Predictive maintenance of assets has also significantly helped in the reduction of downtime and improvement in asset efficiency. Additionally, real-time visibility of inventory and resources have helped reduce overall operational costs, thus helping deliver quality products at a low cost.
In July 2020, VECV took a giant step towards modernizing the CV industry by offering 100% connected BSVI products in the country. With BS6, the electronic content on trucks has gone up. The company decided on connecting 100% range of their trucks and buses to help the customers manage their vehicles and transport operations more effectively, by leveraging the data generated in the truck combined with connected services capabilities. The telematics system is fully integrated into the vehicle electronics. With Eicher Connected Services, the focus is on solving problems. It is going beyond presenting the information through an interactive portal and apps, like the traditional telematics solutions currently available in the market that focus on providing insights which drive actions that drive profitability.
For instance, Eicher not only detects over-speeding or excessive idling, but also tells how it affects their fuel efficiency. For transport operations, most customers use digital solutions of third party players across their multi-brand fleet. There are both start-ups and digital players disrupting logistics with innovative solutions. With Eicher’s ‘Collaboration platform’, customers can avail of services of these players by using the data from Eicher telematics system. Eicher has also partnered with some leading solution providers who are already integrated on its platform.
With a frontline enterprise platform (UDAAN) in place and supported by an integrated digital ecosystem, Eicher has been able to drive the retail organization capability transformation. For workshop responsiveness, various digitalisation tools powered by analytical framework and leveraging mobility solutions in a simplified and intuitive manner were rolled out at dealerships to drive the performance enablers. Processes high on manual interventions were digitalised which led to overall productivity improvement. These features made it easy for dealers to adhere to the processes and create end to end transparency of workshop performance.
Achieving a threshold performance has become a criterion for dealer-wise Uptime certification, for the company’s flagship 24×7 uptime facilities offering. Various elements of training had been identified for ensuring requisite technician competency at dealerships for BSVI readiness. Overall competency framework was revamped and the focus was developing competencies on mechanical, product, electrical and especially around diagnostics skillsets. Additionally, role-based structured learning program was rolled out for 4500+ dealer technicians and BSVI diagnostic training was conducted for 220+ front end VECV team. This was enabled through new methods of learning like byte size, tech contest and self-eLearning content supported by guided learning management platform.
Traditionally the transport business has been driven by physical connect with customers and this was a hindrance for effective customer engagement with the onset of lockdowns. While the customers wanted to avoid physical meetings to maintain social distancing, VECV, and the channel team too were bound by frequent lockdown restrictions and personal safety concerns. Online meets and webinars were conducted to ensure critical aftermarket assistance with minimal customer impact. The workshops started operating with a lean team and taking all safety precautionary measures.
A remote call centre team was setup to monitor vehicle breakdowns & seamlessly coordinate for breakdown assistance between the Uptime centre & dealerships. This was enabled through real-time call allocations based on geolocation services and the assignment of service requests to the nearest breakdown vehicle.
For contactless aftermarket operations, various initiatives were kicked-off across workshop repair process, channel communication, documentation and training. VECV enabled digital payments solution for customers. As an alternate service channel, WhatsApp for business is enabled for self-serviceability for all aftermarket solutions and seeking prompt breakdown support. Eicher introduced a new way of customer connect through virtual platforms for digitally engaging with customers for meets and product launches. This became even more effective as it helped the company to maximize the customer reach seamlessly.
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