How Eicher is driving efficiencies across functions using digital tools
Published On Dec 31, 2020
At a time when businesses are looking to overcome pandemic related challenges by embracing new tools, the leading truck maker brings digital at the core of its strategies to respond to the changing business environment. The aim is to adopt new ways to source, manufacture, distribution, and serve customers better by gaining speedier internal & external efficiencies.
The Covid 19 has upended the world, and forced businesses to change the course by adopting new ways to serve customers, stay relevant and look ways to grow. Responding to the changing times, Indian truck makers aren't shying away from biting the bullet to become leaner and at the same time efficient. Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicle, the leading truck maker, has taken steps by identifying the increasing importance of digital. To take advantage of digital as a medium, the company has made significant investments in its digitisation initiatives that have only accelerated during the pandemic to offer pioneering value-driven solutions to all the trucking industry stakeholders.
The focus has brought the necessary changes across operations, right from sales and aftermarket value service offerings to driving operational and supply chain excellence. VECV has digitised multiple functions throughout the value chain that has resulted in a considerable scaling down of ownership costs for consumers by offering better market-ready products and differentiated experience by consistently ensuring superior uptime to our customers.
Digital Manufacturing and Product Development
VECV embarked on its digital transformation journey in the manufacturing domain with the extensive usage of advanced technologies like AI and ML enabled IoT frameworks. The state-of-the-art manufacturing execution system was designed to enable faster decision making on shop floors, providing meaningful insights to improve overall line efficiency, productivity and quality.
In designing, for example, VECV supports technologies like multi-mechanical CAD, 3D printing and rapid prototyping. The entire digitised product life cycle includes product build history, serialised part inventory and software versions. A complete picture of the product allows service function to analyse the product's status and performance for scheduling preventive and predictive maintenance.
With full tracking and traceability of all assembly operations, the company achieved a significant reduction in time required to identify the root cause issues. Predictive maintenance of assets has also significantly helped in reduction of downtime and improvement in asset efficiency. Furthermore, real-time visibility of inventory and resources have helped reduce overall operational costs, thus helping deliver quality products at a low cost.
Products & Solutions with Advanced Tech
In July 2020, VECV took a giant step towards modernising the CV industry by offering 100% connected BS6 products in the country. With BS6, the electronic content on trucks has gone up substantially. The company decided on connecting complete trucks and buses to help the customers manage their vehicles and transport operations more effectively, by leveraging the data generated in the truck combined with connected services capabilities.
To help the customers run an efficient fleet and manage a lean transport business, Eicher's advanced telematics system is fully integrated into the vehicle electronics. It is engineered as a part of it. With Eicher Connected Services, the focus is on solving problems. It is going beyond presenting the information through an interactive portal and apps, like the traditional telematics solutions currently available in the market that focus on providing insights which drive actions that drive profitability. For instance,
Eicher not only detects over-speeding or excessive idling but also unravels how it affects their fuel efficiency. For transport operations, most customers use digital solutions of third party players across their multi-brand fleet.
There are both start-ups and digital players disrupting logistics with innovative solutions. With Eicher's 'Collaboration platform', our customers can avail of these players' services by using the Eicher telematics system's data. Eicher has also partnered some leading solution providers who are already integrated on its platform.
Eicher aspires to become the Uptime Company of India by consistently ensuring superior uptime to customers. All the functions (frontend and backend) have been aligned towards delivering this objective and addressing customers' concerns proactively. The uptime support capability was created as a control tower and real-time support centre. The objective was to move from reactive management to active management so that Eicher responds within committed repair SLAs. Six unique services enabling high uptime to customers were identified, and a co-located team from various functions are working closely to support uptime.
Digitalised Partner Engagement
With a robust frontline enterprise platform (UDAAN) in place and supported by an integrated digital ecosystem, Eicher has driven the retail organisation capability transformation. For workshop responsiveness, various digitalisation tools powered by the analytical framework and leveraging mobility solutions in a simplified and intuitive manner were rolled out at dealerships to drive the performance enablers. Processes high on manual interventions were digitalised in an innovative manner which led to overall productivity improvement. These features made it easy for dealers to adhere to the processes and create an end to end transparency of workshop performance.
Achieving a threshold performance has become a criterion for dealer-wise Uptime certification for its flagship 24x7 uptime facilities offering.Various elements of training had been identified for ensuring requisite technician competency at dealerships for BSVI readiness. Overall competency framework was revamped, and the focus was developing competencies on mechanical, product, electrical, and especially diagnostics skillsets. Additionally, a role-based structured learning program was rolled out for 4500+ dealer technicians, and BS6 diagnostic training was conducted for 220+ front end VECV team. This was enabled through new learning methods like byte size, tech contest and self-eLearning content supported by guided learning management platforms.
Traditionally the transport business was driven by physical connect with customers and this was a hindrance for effective customer engagement with the onset of lockdowns. While the customers wanted to avoid physical meetings to maintain social distancing, the VECV and channel team too were bound by frequent lockdowns restriction and personal safety concerns. Online meets and webinars were conducted to ensure critical aftermarket assistance with minimal customer impact.
The workshops started operating with a lean team and taking all precautionary safety measures. A remote call centre team was set up to monitor vehicle breakdowns & seamlessly coordinate for breakdown assistance between the Uptime centre & dealerships. This was enabled through real-time call allocations based on geolocation services and assignment of service requests to the nearest breakdown vehicle.
Various initiatives were kicked-off for contactless aftermarket operations across the workshop repair process, channel communication, documentation, and training.
VECV enabled digital payments solution for customers to overcome the dependency on physical connect for service payments. WhatsApp for business is enabled for self-serviceability for all aftermarket solutions and seeking prompt breakdown support as an alternate service channel. Eicher introduced a new way of customer connection through virtual platforms to digitally engage with customers for meets and product launches. This became even more effective as it helped the company to maximise the customer reach seamlessly.
VECV focused employee learning and development remained unhindered, with a delivery of more than 10500 person-hours of online training through internal and external trainers covering over 3000 employees. Overall, employee performance-related processes were completed in time with a 95-100% closure rate, which was a testimony of the effective productivity and engagement level of employees. It also showcased that the engagement levels in the organisation did not dip during the current pandemic.
Committed to Serve
Eicher has been known for offering world-class technology, be it through its 100% connected vehicle range with advanced telematics or industry first 24x7 uptime facilities. Applying technologies beyond product offerings further reiterates Eicher's bold approach to staying relevant in the digital world. The company strives to help its customers in all ways possible to scale and accelerate their business by promising trucks that offer a clear edge in the total cost of ownership.