Note: This is part two of a two-part report covering a recent press conference at Kenworth’s headquarters in Kirkland, Wash. Click here for part one, Kenworth bullish on vocational truck market.
Kenworth execs are excited about TruckTech+.
Since launching the remote diagnostics and service management platform in 2015, more and more trucks have gotten connected and Kenworth execs couldn’t be happier.
TruckTech+, which comes standard with every Class 8 Kenworth, is designed to streamline communications, accelerate diagnostics, and expedite service work to help maximize uptime for fleets and truck operators that have Class 8 Kenworths with either PACCAR or Cummins engines.
In March, Kenworth issued a press release stating that more than 30,000 trucks were connected to TruckTech+. At a recent press event at its headquarters in Kirkland, Kenworth announced that since then 20,000 more trucks have been added to its telematics roster.
“These numbers just continue to amaze us since the launch of this program with the PACCAR engines in ’15 and now last year with Cummins, we now have 50,000 trucks built that are connected and closing in on 3 billion miles,” Kenworth’s assistant general manager of marketing and sales, Kevin Baney, told reporters.
“So this is really the basis for our connected truck platform that we continue to expand,” Baney continued. “It provides us—not only ourselves, but our dealers as well as our customers—a lot of information we use to make the products better, the dealers use to improve service and uptime for the customers and then the customers use to just run their trucks better and make their fleet more efficient.”
Members of Congress backing a bill to delay ELD requirements for two years have expressed concerns with telematics security issues. HWT asked Kenworth if they had any security concerns with their telematics platform.
“With any connected technology, security has to be a primary concern,” said Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president. “As we develop our connected truck strategy, which will be the platform for our over-the-air capabilities, security is at the forefront of where we’re spending—the combination of security and the customer interface so that the customer has control over when updates happen so that it fits within their business model, but certainly security, for all the reasons were aware of, is at the forefront of developing the technology and integrating it into the vehicle.”
As far as partnerships in telematics are concerned, that area is still somewhat foggy with no clear paths set in place.
“There is and will remain room for consolidation of technologies,” Dozier said. “It’s yet to be seen what’s the right level of consolidation and integration of multiple technologies.”
TruckTech+, like other telematics programs, has vastly increased the amount of actionable data available to PACCAR, dealers and customers.
“That’s expanding the data that both the customer, the dealer, ourselves have at the same time so that’s broadening and putting a lot more depth into the service—the diagnostics at the same time that data’s growing. Diagnostics will be turning into prognostics so that we’re able to flag things sooner,” Dozier explained.
Of course, more data equals more diagnostics. For quite some time, Kenworth has been encouraging dealers to set up more diagnostic bays, a point made clear by one of the reporters at the meeting who went a step further and asked why dealers are resisting the bays.
“I don’t think they are,” Baney said. “I think they’re coming at a really rapid pace right now partly because of the connected truck. Through PACCAR solutions any dealer can see all trucks in their area of responsibility and so they know, and they’re starting to put the teams in place to reach out to those customers. We also have a process where if it’s a truck that has a stop now, we actually contact them. We partner with the fleet, but we reach out directly to, whether it’s through the breakdown center or whatever mechanism that we’ve agreed with with that customer. We reach out to them so that we’re being proactive and that’s where the trend will be, in the prognostics.
“The ultimate mission is in uptime and to reach out and to schedule service around driver downtime—when they need to be down for hours of operation that ties into the ELDs and that type of stuff,” Baney continued. “The ultimate goal is uptime, and whether it’s due to a truck being down or upcoming maintenance, that needs to be scheduled.”