After announcing its ActiveCare Direct telematics system at ConExpo last year, Volvo Construction Equipment says “nearly 100 percent” of the customers who had one year of the service for free have re-enrolled in the company’s ActiveCare Direct fee-based subscription service.
Dave Adams, Volvo CE connected services product sales manager, elaborates: “With machine telematics, the hardest thing is the time and resources it takes to deal with all the data. With all the data that’s coming off machines, it’s hard to know what’s actionable.”
ActiveCare Direct sends out monthly fleet utilization reports on key areas such as fuel use and any machine abuse issues. Instead of the customer trying to determine what’s valuable and what’s not, the company monitors all machines in the system, and sends out additional alerts to the dealer and customer if it sees something awry in a customer’s fleet.
This allows Volvo CE to take a more global approach to resolving potential machine issues, Adams says. Working in Volvo’s Uptime Center, located at its U.S. headquarters in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, data analysts “track an issue from beginning to end,” using a case management system that discovers, for instance, whether Issue A and Issue B leads to Issue C, and how it can be resolved. If the issue pops up again, the dealer and customer have a blueprint on how to handle it.
Using the case management approach, ActiveCare Direct is constantly learning, Adams says. “It’s all about what we can do to get the machine up and running,” he says. “This data helps see trends and issues before our customers know there’s a problem.”
ActiveCare Direct is available on all new equipment, and can be retrofitted on some 2008 machines forward. At this time, it cannot be used on competitive machines.
ActiveCare Direct presents upsides for dealers, Adams says: “It helps them solve customer problems before they occur rather than just reacting to them. All of our dealers are engaged.” Volvo CE says it now has 44 North American dealers, with 233 service outlets and 1,424 dealer technicians.
Early adopter: “Significant changes in our operation.”
Daniel Jacome, national asset manager with Sims Metal Management, echoes many customer’s frustration with telematics. “It was very tedious, and we did not have the time and resources to monitor it correctly,” he says. But the multinational metal recycling company had plenty of impetus to look into ways to better manage its assets: with 60 locations in North America, it has around 500 mobile equipment assets, including 100 Volvo wheel loaders and excavators.
Sims became an early adopter of ActiveCare Direct. “We’ve seen some significant changes in our operation,” Jacome says, “especially with the increased communications between both corporations and our dealers.” Jacome says the additional information has allowed Sims to reduce idle times by 5 to 8 percent. “Since about 30 percent of our fleet is leased, that helps avoid extra hours on our leases, not to mention accelerated wear on the engines in our own fleet,” he says.
In addition, the company was using Volvo L90-sized wheel loaders in its East Coast operations and L70-sized loaders in its West Coast operations. When the data showed that the L70s were up to the task, Sims started downsizing their L90s.
“We also noticed that some loader operators were exceeding our speed limits,” Jacome says. By paying attention to the machine data, Jacome states that Sims saved “a significant amount of money across the fleet.”