Mack Trucks Going After Highway Market

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Mack Trucks has big things planned, including a new over-the-road trucking initiative and re-launch of the 114-year-old Mack brand at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2014 the first week in March.

The trade show, an international gathering place for the construction industries, is the appropriate venue as vocational truck market, especially in the refuse segment, noted.

Mack is firmly entrenched in the vocational and daycab, regional markets, so the venue for the announcement make sense. The new focus on trucking’s highway segment, comes on the heels of having developed “a strong dealer network that has been well trained in selling to this market segment,” according to Mack’s president of North American sales, Stephen Roy.

In a meeting Friday with a select group of truck journalists, Roy explained that the company and its dealers (428 locations in the U.S. and Canada) have spent five years investing millions to build not only the dealer network and facilities but “to make sure we have the right products for our customers, the right product support and the right products solutions.” The intention is to build market share.

Don’t expect Mack’s focus on vocational and regional markets to waver. “We are always looking to deliver improvements somewhere and we will continue to invest in innovation.” And the company plans to introduce a new product for curbside refuse collection later this year.

There has also been significant investment in technician training. The ranks have increased 50 percent, and now one in every four Mack technicians is an ASE Certified Master technician.

As an enhancement to its GuardDog Connect, Mack now has geofencing around its dealerships. Geofencing establishes a virtual perimeter determined by GPS coordinates around a dealership. Any vehicle equipped with GuardDog Connect communicates with the geofence to identify each time the vehicle enters or leaves a dealer location.

Based on the Mack GuardDog maintenance monitoring system that strengthens communication among the truck, driver, customer and dealer, GuardDog Connect is a telematics solution that enables quick diagnosis of issues, proactive scheduling for repairs and confirmation that needed parts are in stock and ready to install, all while the truck is still on the job.

GuardDog Connect “is not a Big Brother,” said Roy. It is there “to assist our dealers” to ensure they get vehicles repaired and back on the road in a timely manner.

Going forward, the company will expand solutions and services based on telematics and connected vehicle technology because “it gives us much more opportunity to be proactive rather than reactive for improving vehicle uptime for dealers and fleets.”

Roy feels a next phase of this will be to help fleets understand the life expectancy of components to help them avoid on the road issues.

Mack has partnerships with PeopleNet and Telogis to flow gathered telematics information to help fleets achieve gains in operational efficiency and productivity by more easily analyzing and utilizing the data collected.

Roy said Mack is using telematics data to see how its trucks, by vehicle model, are performing. This information is analyzed by engineers to better develop products or, if there is an issue, to find a solution much sooner.

“The predictive side will grow to the point that OEMs will be able to advise a customer on what configurations and options they should spec for a specific application to get the most advantageous operating costs.”

By October, Mack hopes to have completed its Uptime Center – a command type center with personnel from various corporate service and repair departments, assigned to teams for various regions, to help expedite truck repairs, whether in a dealer shop or in a fleet.