Most everyone agrees that in the world of IoT (Internet of Things), that the specific topic of vehicle telematics offers huge value for manufacturers, dealers, and vehicle owners. This especially applies to trucks and the various forms of heavy equipment; vehicles that are relied upon day after day to move products, dig building foundations, pave roads, plow and harvest fields, and bring raw materials to the surface of the earth.

It is time we get very practical and begin to benefit from all the possible uses of IoT technology. We need to get beyond the hype and put new capabilities and business processes into place.  The technology exists today and many high-value applications should be considered low hanging fruit for the vehicle manufacturers that have the courage to move forward; to change the way they operate, the way they interact with customers, the way they design and improve products, etc.

The first course of action for getting high value from your telematics strategy is simply by capturing and storing the vehicle data, and then using the data to gain knowledge and insight about the performance of the vehicle as well as other information such as driver habits, vehicle utilization, etc.  SAP HANA is the data platform that provides the data access and processing tools for managing and leveraging the massive amounts of data that a vehicle telematics program can generate.  SAP Lumira is then utilized to design easy-to-use user interfaces, in both desktop and mobile formats, for the various manufacturing roles, as well as for dealers and vehicle owners/operators.

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Individual vehicle components such as electrical components, drive train load, and exhaust emissions can be evaluated over the life of each vehicle.  Correlations between multiple vehicle performance characteristics can be determined to improve the ability to diagnose specific vehicle issues.  Huge potential repair and warranty savings are possible when fewer parts require replacement as the manufacturer is better equipped to know more precisely which components in which vehicles are potentially faulty.

Once parts are repaired, replaced, and/or re-engineered, the manufacturer can then remotely monitor the impacted vehicles to validate the effectiveness of their corrective action. Without telematics for this purpose, the manufacturer would likely need to wait for future warranty claims and customer complaints.  The use of telematics analysis allows the manufacturer to be much more proactive and less reactive to customer and product issues.

The second course of action is to combine the telematics data with data from other sources.  Data such as vehicle production details from ERP and MES applications, customer data from a CRM system, customer interaction and service history from dealer DMS systems, as well as data from public sources such as social media can round out a more complete view of vehicles, customers, and dealers.  For example, a quality assurance technician may want to analyze the frequent occurrences of a particular DTC (diagnostic trouble code) on a particular model.  He or she will want to see other information such as service history, vehicle configuration, and component lot numbers in order to determine a course of corrective action which best resolves the issue at the lowest cost to the manufacturer.

The third course of action is the integration of the telematics program with other enterprise applications.  Outputs of the program can provide inputs to other processes.  For example, rules could be set up to trigger product quality alerts to the enterprise quality management system.  Other examples include the automatic creation of maintenance orders when specific vehicle performance issues are detected, or the creation of a service lead for the appropriate dealer when a potential customer machine issue is predicted.

While nearly all manufacturers of trucks and heavy equipment are installing sensors on their products for data collection, most have just started to scratch the surface in terms of the many possible ways to use the data to better interact with customers, build better products, increase revenue, and reduce costs.

SAP continues to work collaboratively with our customers to bring the promises of IoT to reality for some of the world’s best manufacturers of truck and heavy equipment vehicles. If you would like to learn more about this topic, please attend the SAP Manufacturing Industries Forum June 23-25, 2015 in Lombard, IL.  View the event brochure to learn more.

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