Boston-Based Mercedes-Benz franchise Intercounty Truck & Van achieves 40% productivity gains thanks to voice-directed maintenance & inspection solution from Dakota & Truckfile

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Operating as a Mercedes-Benz franchise for over 20 years, Intercounty Truck & Van covers the five counties of Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Lincolnshire with dedicated commercial vehicle dealerships to support its ever-growing and wide-ranging customer base.

With a company-wide ethos that ‘even the best trucks and vans are only as good as the support behind them,’ the business recognises that the standard of service which it offers its valued customer base is fundamental to growth, success and nurturing ongoing client relationships.

When Intercounty’s Boston Depot wanted to improve upon its productivity levels due to an ongoing increase in demand, they looked to technology to improve efficiency, accuracy levels and vehicle inspection processes in order to uphold its service provision in light of an ever-growing workload.

The problem

Tasked with servicing around fifty trucks and vans on a daily basis, Intercounty’s Boston Depot previously used a tablet system to record data taken during its maintenance and inspection processes.

Steve Sargeant, Depot Manager at Intercounty Boston explains, “Whilst the old system of using a tablet worked in terms of recording data taken during a vehicle inspection, the process was not one hundred percent efficient, as the flow of data and information was disjointed. Our technicians had to continually pause from the inspection process to record the necessary information on the tablet, so standard inspections would take anything up to two hours each. With more and more vehicles coming through the door, it was a necessity for us that we looked at an alternative method to complete these inspections more quickly, whilst adhering to strict industry standards for vehicle compliance. And then of course there was the issue with potential human error, illegible writing and lost paperwork and devices, so we recognised that the whole process needed a complete overhaul.”

As a long-standing customer of Truckfile, having used its Workshop Software for a number of years, Intercounty Boston knew that Truckfile’s system was constantly evolving and using cutting-edge technology to improve system processes whilst reducing maintenance costs and downtime, so with that in mind, Intercounty Boston turned to Truckfile for assistance in helping to reinvigorate its maintenance and inspection processes.

Paul Whittingham, Managing Director at Truckfile explains, “Having worked with Intercounty Boston for some time, their request was extremely timely, as we had just launched our voice-enabled solution in conjunction with our partners Dakota, so we were keen to offer this new system to help improve Intercounty Boston’s inspection procedures and drive efficiency improvements across their maintenance and inspection processes. Having worked in partnership with Dakota for three years to bring this solution to market, we were confident that collectively we could deliver the gains and improvements that Intercounty Group were looking for.”

The solution

Truckfile’s partnership with Dakota has enabled its industry-leading Workshop Management Software Application to become voice-enabled, allowing for the smooth transfer of data taken during vehicle inspections thanks to the real-time upload of information onto the host system over a WiFi network.

Philip Jarrett, Commercial Director at Dakota explains, “Voice-directed data capture solutions are fast becoming a popular choice within a variety of maintenance and inspection environments, particularly within industries such as truck and fleet, rail, automotive, manufacturing and aerospace, enabling businesses to run a better and more compliant business with voice. For many commercial entities, the documentation of maintenance and inspection processes is inefficient, with technicians having to enter their observations and findings as a separate process from the actual inspection procedure itself, leading to potential human error and discrepancies in vehicle compliance.”

With voice-directed maintenance and inspection solutions, prompts are delivered and operator responses are provided through the spoken word. Operators use a compact, wearable computer with a headset to receive instructions by voice. The computer is connected to the host system over a wireless network, so operators are able to communicate directly with the host system to confirm his or her actions verbally back to the system in real time, whilst working hands and eyes free.

Jarrett continues, “In addition to a smooth flow of data and information, the ‘hands and eyes free’ benefit of our voice-directed solution means that operatives are able to work on vehicles much more safely, as both of their hands are free to use whilst conducting an inspection. This helps to ensure that all operatives remain safe while performing their day-to-day tasks. It also helps to immeasurably speed up the entire process, leading to massive productivity and efficiency gains.”

The result

The results of the new system have been far-reaching, with Intercounty Boston recording a staggering forty percent increase in productivity. 

Sargeant explains, “Vehicle inspections are now taking ninety minutes instead of two hours, so our productivity and efficiency has gone through the roof. We had initially hoped for a ten percent increase in productivity, but the reality of the solution has far exceeded our expectations. The system has basically paid for itself in under two months. All of our inspection data is now instantly uploaded and available on our Truckfile Workshop System for our customers to see, meaning that every vehicle leaving our depot is equipped with a fully compliant inspection sheet. Our technicians love the new voice solution and would never go back to how we were working previously.

The depot is now functioning much more smoothly and efficiently than ever before. Voice has completely revolutionised our business, so I would encourage anyone working in the maintenance and inspection space to seriously consider implementing a voice-directed solution. Both Dakota and Truckfile have been phenomenal; they have supported us every step of the way and have been a pleasure to work alongside. We are very much looking forward to expanding the solution in the future, and we look forward to both companies being a part of this expansion and growth.”

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