Digitalising the Workshop - Connecting with the Connected Customers


DriveTech Australia AAAA -Article

Digitalisation changes everything. It has already revolutionised many industries and permanently changed the customer’s expectation of service and the customer loyalty for all.  The automotive industry has now entered this era.  “At the same time as cost of the new vehicle telematics solutions has reduced significantly, all the major automotive industry sectors internationally, i.e. fleet operators, repair and maintenance, insurance, fuel, tyres, parts, and advertising, are seeking ways to benefit from the new telematics based ‘Linked Car’ ecosystem.  Drive Tech Australia (DTA) was founded to enable this paradigm shift in the Australian markets to sustain and improve profitability and reduce customer churn”, says the Managing Director of Drive Tech Australia, Graeme Mann.

“Customer trust and relationship have always been crucial for repair and maintenance, without this the customers will just shop around for the lowest price, a race to the bottom.  For the modern ‘connected customer’ telematics means they can now expect an easy and seamless experience in dealing with the workshop and replace cost only selling with a higher value proposition. They want more visibility of condition and maintenance of their vehicles, while being provided other valuable applications and information. It is this challenge the DTA maintenance and repair business applications were developed and optimised for, to enable low cost of entry and simple timely implementation enabling the world’s first smart car servicing”, continues Graeme.

“Better customer service at lower labour costs”

The Drive Tech Australia telematics applications aim to digitalise the customer relationship. The applications are based on a telematics device installed in the customer vehicle and connected to the vehicle’s OBD-II port. The device collects comprehensive data on the trips made, driving, and the vehicle itself, and transmits it to the DTA cloud services in real-time. “With the online and mobile applications the customers can get real-time information on the maintenance and condition of their vehicle, book the services themselves with automatic reminders, get detailed costing and parts, as well as monitor their total running costs. What this means for the maintenance businesses is that they can offer better customer service at lower labour costs. With visibility of vehicle use the maintenance business can balance the peaks and trough’s in their workshop with proactive maintenance invitations as well as plan their logistics and work flows more efficiently based on the real forecasted need of parts and resources”.

“Increase the customer loyalty and provide additional revenues”

Besides the existing business processes one of the focus areas of DTA is to enable workshops to offer completely new services based on the real-time visibility of the vehicle. Using the connectivity, the maintenance business can, for example, diagnose error situations remotely and, for example, clear the non-critical alerts or provide customer road side assistance by sending the nearest available free assistance vehicle to the location with right parts and tools already on-board.  “In addition to improving their normal business, where it gets really exciting is when the same platform is used for offering other services to the vehicle users. These services, like log-books, business reports, tax-reports, and advanced fleet-management features, increase the customer loyalty and provide additional revenues for the maintenance business, service otherwise not available to the individual or small fleets” says Graeme Mann. “Besides these additional services the knowledge on the driver and vehicle can be used for other purposes like getting better insurance policies or making right marketing offers to the right drivers at the right time. For example, new tyres or tuning parts can be advertised to the customers based on vehicle make, kilometres driven and driving style”.

“With VTaaS we enable fast deployment and low total cost of ownership”

Like the other DTA telematics applications, the repair and maintenance applications are delivered as a full ‘Vehicle-Telematics-As-A-Service–solution’ (VTaaS).  The businesses do not need to install any software nor require personnel to manage the systems with only internet connectivity and a browser/mobile app required to take advantage of the capabilities, anywhere and anytime.  “With VTaaS we enable fast deployment and low total cost of ownership not previously available” summarises Graeme Mann.

“What sets us apart is our business-grade approach to the services”

 “To be able to offer the industry leading applications for each use case, and at the same time foster a true linked vehicle eco-systems, we needed to find a new kind of product”, says Graeme Mann.  “And, having evaluated and discussed with multiple international technology providers, we ultimately selected to partner with a Finnish company Aplicom-Helpten. With a background of Nokia telematics and over 20years in the telematics business their solutions have proven their industry leading quality in deployments from Arctic to Middle-East in all linked vehicle categories, from fleet management to insurance companies, from government to repair and maintenance applications.  Besides their impressive list of customers, like Mercedes Benz, Shell, BP Europe, Qantas, and ADAC, what really convinced us was their cloud service platform: Having been designed from ground-up together with large fleet operators, maintenance and repair businesses, insurance companies, and government organisation - as well as having won the prestigious German Automotive Industry Association Award for the best solution - it fits the bill perfectly.

It provides a full spectrum of vehicle telematics applications and flexible access to the data for all categories of driver, while still ensuring that the highest levels of data security and privacy, for the business and the individuals. Furthermore, as Aplicom-Helpten both design and manufacture the devices and applications themselves in Finland, we have the full flexibility of adapting the solutions to the needs of Australian customers”, adds Graeme.

 “Besides a unique platform designed with the key users of telematics, what sets us apart is our business-grade approach to the services. Unlike most cases in which the services are delivered from a mere data-room (tier-1 “data centre”), we utilise redundant tier-3 data centres to guarantee the availability and capacity of the systems.  Our handling of data is always secure and not only ensures the business continuity but, as the access to data is controlled and visibility can be limited, employees’ and individual privacy concerns are also avoided.  For example, by enabling business to see only the distance travelled when vehicle is being used for private purposes or limiting the business vehicle tracking to only certain business personnel. Furthermore, all our service management, operation and support processes follow the ITIL-methodology and are based on the personal experience of delivering cloud services for over 80million active users.  Everything in what we do is aimed to ensure that the telematics systems are approached as the business system which they are, not just hardware and software explains Graeme Mann.   

“We want the AAAA members to get ahead of the connected vehicle adoption curve”

“The AAAA membership gives us the opportunity to connect with the resellers and repairers and work together with them not only digitalising their business and customer experience but also enabling the vehicle telematics benefits for the unserved small-fleet market which constitutes 80% of all commercial vehicles and opening the pathway to the massive private vehicle market” says Graeme Mann. “We want the AAAA members to get ahead of the connected vehicle adoption curve so they can remain as a key part of the automotive value-chain and eco-system they are today”.

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