Kenworth TruckTech+ Remote Diagnostics Gives Dart Transit New Visibility for Roadside Issues


Kenworth TruckTech+ Remote Diagnostics Gives Dart Transit New Visibility for Roadside Issues

EAGAN, Minn., Dec. 5, 2016 – With more than 300 Kenworth T680s in its fleet, and on lease-to-own programs with independent contractors, Dart Transit Company and the Dart Network have been realizing high driver acceptance and excellent fuel economy. It’s now also seeing another benefit – improved uptime and fewer tows thanks to Kenworth TruckTech+ and remote diagnostics tools available on its other trucks.

“We implemented TruckTech+ at the beginning of 2016 and it’s given us great visibility on the health of our Kenworths,” said Paul Mages, who is the lead on Dart’s company efficiency team. “Across-the-board with our 600 company-owned trucks, remote diagnostics has allowed us to reduce our tows by 30 percent this year for a savings of more than $200,000. We figure each tow costs between $1,500 and $2,000 when you factor in the cost of the tow, the repair, and lost utilization. And, we’re really just getting started with remote diagnostics. As the trucks we have with remote diagnostics age, the information the trucks provide will allow us even better decision making and cost savings.”

According to Mages, the biggest contributor to improving up-time has been email alerts on when ‘re-gens’ are needed. “That’s been significant,” he said. “Before, the truck could be de-rated if a driver overlooked an alert or waited too long to clean the emission system – especially after the truck had been sitting over a rest period. Now, we get an email notification when the soot level gets to a critical level and can call the driver and get action taken before a de-rate takes place. If we see the truck idling, in stop-and-go traffic, or a truck stop we can instruct him to park the truck and start the re-gen process – something that takes between 15 and 30 minutes.  If we see the driver on the freeway, we know that the re-gen can take place automatically. Getting these alerts on re-gen is a great example of how we’re eliminating potential downtime.”

What’s more, Mages said it’s helping in driver training. “Remote diagnostics is showing us trends, and frequency of occurrences, so we can share that data with our drivers. Before we didn’t realize that some of our drivers didn’t know the procedure for a parked re-gen, for example.  But, now they do.”

Mages also said the amount of information and detail provided to Dart’s call center via remote diagnostics is taking the guesswork out of roadside issues.  “It’s not so much a roll of the dice anymore,” he said. “We would always want to err on the side of caution when it comes to trucks, and use our gut feeling as to whether to continue on, or shut the truck down completely. The codes and information we’re now receiving with Kenworth TruckTech+ enables us to make educated decisions. In addition, it allows us to reverse the call flow from our call center. We are transitioning from being reactive – where calls come in from drivers – to one where we are proactive. We’re now calling drivers and telling them they have an issue with their truck, and it needs to be taken care of. And we give them the course of action.”

While Dart has its own over-the-road shop network due to its size, it relies on Kenworth dealers in areas not covered. “This way we can direct a truck into a service location based on what TruckTech+ is telling us,” said Mages. “We’ll often call a driver and tell him that he needs to head to XYZ service location for maintenance, and we have the appointment scheduled and the part ready to go. The driver will ask, ‘how did we know there was an issue with the truck? We tell him the truck sent us an email, and we took it from there. For those experiencing that for the first time, they’re blown away.”

Mages said the strides that Dart has taken this year with remote diagnostics has been great, “but they’re just our first steps. The coming years are really going to be exciting. We will be able to collect a vast amount of data and use this in trend analysis, plus we’re going to integrate remote diagnostics into our fleet maintenance software. I can’t wait to see where all of this is in five years from now. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.”

Founded in 1934 as a family-owned business, Dart Transit Company has grown to become one of America’s largest and most successful truckload dry van carriers.  Dart has many operating choices for owner operators, and trucks are available for lease or purchase through Highway Sales, Inc., a truck and finance vendor.  Flexible terms make it easy for most professional truck drivers to qualify.

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Paul Mages of Dart Transit Company and Kenworth Truck Company are Excited to Help Roll Out New Advancements in Kenworth Trucks

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