Revolutionizing Uptime: Navistar’s OnCommand™ Connection helps fleets operate more efficiently

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August 9, 2017 CCJ Digital

OnCommand™ Connection is part of the OnCommand™ family of fleet management services from Navistar and is the first open architecture system that works with all telematics systems. Navistar’s connected services specialists answer your questions about how OnCommand Connection works for your fleet. Linda Negel is the senior manager for business strategy in Navistar’s Connected Services and holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science with a specialty in heterogeneous database technology. Andrew Dondlinger is vice president, general manager of Navistar’s Connected Services business and is a 28-year veteran of the technology and automotive industries, including IBM and PriceWaterhouse Coopers. He has been with Navistar for 12 years.

Q: How does Navistar’s OnCommand Connection work with a fleet made up of multiple makes and models?

A: OnCommand Connection (OCC) uses a unique, open architecture diagnostics platform that leverages the SAE J1939 communication standard used by all OEMs. This allows OCC to support remote diagnostics for all makes and models of heavy-duty trucks and buses. To date, over 250,000 vehicles are registered in OCC, 60 percent of which are vehicles from other OEMs.

Q: What kind of maintenance information do your customers find most valuable?

A: The most valuable data comes from our Fault Code Action Plans (FCAPs), which are available only in OCC. FCAPs not only give customers information about what is happening with their vehicles in simple English, but they also provide questions to review with the driver to determine whether they have a fault or a problem. Once we know we have a problem, the FCAP also speeds access to diagnostic and repair information to get the truck back in operation faster.

Q: How do predictive maintenance alerts work?

A: OCC can be customized to send alerts when certain conditions occur. For example, a fleet manager can set an alert for a specified time, date and frequency whenever a low fluid condition occurs.

Q: Describe some interesting patterns that have emerged from studying customer data.

A: We applied a machine learning technique to group vehicles based on their actual usage data. We looked for any unusual patterns between the groups. It quickly picked up a fleet that was beginning to have a high rate of failure on a component. We were able to work with them to replace it proactively and save them from unscheduled downtime. We also noticed an increase in our Class 8 long haul vehicles traveling off road in the fall in the Midwest. Turns out they were driving out into farmers’ fields to pick up corn to deliver to processing locations.

Q: How can OnCommand Connection help a fleet manager take the guesswork out of managing their fleet?

A: Let’s consider the example of a fleet manager who schedules a report in OCC reporting that a low coolant condition occurs. The driver may have added coolant and made the diagnostic trouble code go inactive. The manager has been notified of the condition and can decide that a repair is needed before any progressive damage can occur.

Q: How do you monitor the health of the vehicle in real time?

A: The electronic components on a vehicle are constantly sending information to the communication network or “CAN bus”. This information includes status and health information about the vehicle as well as Diagnostic Trouble Codes – messages about potential issues. TSP’s collect this information as it is generated and send it to OCC. Customers can see this information in the OCC portal as soon as it is sent.

Q: Describe how an action plan works?

A: Fault Code Action Plans (FCAPs) are unique to OCC. While the data from TSPs tell what the condition of a vehicle is, FCAPs tell the “why” and the “how”. They even provide a list of questions to ask the driver so a fleet manager can fully understand what issues are occurring and what needs to be done to get the vehicle back on the soon as possible.

Q: How do the mapping and alerts tools add to a fleet’s bottom line?

A: Alerts tell the fleet manager about potential issues immediately – before they become catastrophes. Mapping tells the manager where the vehicle is when immediate attention is needed, and where the nearest service facility is. Our customers have reported up to an 80 percent reduction in roadside breakdowns and more than 30 percent reduction in maintenance costs as a result of using OCC.

Q: Will there be an ELD offering?

A: Yes. Our ELD product is currently in development and will be available in 2017. It will leverage our OnCommand Link device, which provides 2-way communication with the vehicle communication network.