- Werner's Breakdown Management tool, developed by its Werner Edge technology arm, has streamlined maintenance and optimized related costs, CEO Derek Leathers said on the company's latest earnings call. Werner started working on the tool in February 2020, Director of Breakdown Management Brian Gross told Transport Dive.
- Since implementing the technology last year, the company reduced its maintenance call time by 67%, reduced driver dwell time 52% for each maintenance event, and is set to realize an additional 25%-30% savings in warranty dollars by the end of this year, Leathers said.
- Breakdown Management, built on cloud technology, has three main functionalities, Danny Lilley, vice president of product and engineering, told Transport Dive. The tool matches the truck to a repair facility, shares information on the estimate for review, and provides visibility into equipment warranty coverage.
The maintenance process — not to mention the physical repairs — can cost significant amounts of time and money.
Before Breakdown Management, Werner's average dwell times were about 60 minutes, with an average of about 15 minutes to process a repair, Lilley said. Werner also realized some opportunities for warranty recovery were getting missed, due to human error.
Werner started searching for an outside solution, but Lilley said the market for digital maintenance tools is small. Technology for maintenance is an area with "a lot of legacy players," he said, adding he was surprised there weren't more modern options out there.
So, Werner decided to build a tool in house.
To use Breakdown Management, the driver sends a message through the system to give the location of the truck, as well as information on the maintenance issues, Lilley said. The tool adds that message to a work queue.
Once an agent gets to that message in the queue, the agent starts to match the truck to a repair facility. The tool shows geographically where the driver is and where the repair facilities are. Lilley noted a truck may need multiple repair facilities to fix the issues. Once the facility is chosen and the vendor takes a look at the repairs, an estimate is sent back to Werner through the system, where the company can review and approve it.
Now, driver dwell is in the 20-minute range, Lilley said, while the average time to process a repair is less than five minutes. Drivers have highlighted the change in driver dwell time, indicating its significance. "To get a driver to notice the dwell time is huge," Gross said.
The final step in the tool is the warranty part.
"One of the big struggles we've had in the past is, first of all, notifying the agents when a truck is covered under warranty. I mean, we do have a lot of trucks," Gross said.
With a digitized process, Werner has the visibility into its parts coverage and can notify breakdown agents whether there's an applicable warranty when they're assigning a vendor at the front end of the process, instead of searching for a warranty when the invoice comes in.
Now, agents can easily find all the information and simply file a claim. "We're not having to use old methods to look at our system for certain parts that may or may not have been missed or miscoded," Gross said.
Breakdown Management has made the process simpler for breakdown agents to execute. Also, the data is better, Lilley said, because the tool is based on a vendor database with all the information in one place. Werner is also integrating the tool with vendors' systems.
Before, Werner would have to track the repair in its system and the vendor's system. But with the integration, when the repair is recorded in Werner's system, it is automatically created in the vendor's system. And if the vendor updates the repair in its system, it will update in Werner's.
"We've gone from 12 phone calls after the repair is created to an average of four. So it just eliminates a lot of that back and forth," Lilley said.
Its integration with Navistar, for example, lets Werner see the OEM's parts. That also helps with pairing a repair to a facility — Werner can see inventory availability at a given location.
Along with Navistar, Werner has integrations with Eagle Tele-Services and Travel Centers of America, Gross said. More are planned, and Lilley said the company would announce new ones in coming months — up to 10,000 vendors.
"As much as we're excited about the warranty recovery, safety really is everything for us. And the fact that we can get our drivers back on the road ... oftentimes out of unsafe conditions, is probably the biggest benefit of this for us," said Lilley.