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September 23, 2014 5:00 PM, EDT

Industry Must Focus on Preventive Maintenance, Volvo Trucks Exec Says

Eric Miller for TT

ORLANDO, Fla. — The trucking industry needs to change its mindset to performing preventive maintenance rather than fixing trucks too often after they break down, a top Volvo Trucks North America executive told a meeting of maintenance technicians and executives.

In a keynote speech to attendees at American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council fall meeting here, Göran Nyberg, North American president of sales and marketing for Volvo Trucks, said truckers should follow the airlines’ lead in adopting a mindset of proactive maintenance.

“I would like Volvo Trucks to become the first airline in the trucking industry,” Nyberg said. “I’m not saying to put wings on the truck, but I think the mindset needs to change.”

“We need to change mindset and find the value of being proactive; making sure that we change components, making sure that we repair trucks before they break down,” Nyberg said.

He stressed technology as the answer to some of the industry’s future challenges that range from fuel efficiency to productivity.

Along those lines, Volvo’s connected-vehicle remote diagnostics system that sends major fault codes back to service providers from the roadway is showing great promise, Nyberg said.

So far, the company is logging average reduced diagnostic time by 70%, reduced repair time by 22% and maintained first-time right repair times to more than 90%, he said.

“We are capturing things that are about to happen before they happen,” Nyberg said. “So I think that proves that these technologies are here to stay and that they create value for providers.”

He added, “Connectivity is here to stay. Today, we have one-way communication; but tomorrow, we will have two-way communication.”

Nyberg said he also sees a future in such trucks as those with GPS systems that memorize roads and adjust engine performance to increase fuel efficiency, and systems that allow trucks to platoon to reduce fuel consumption.

“Of course we can have longer vehicles with heavier loads, but is that really going to change in a big way our way of transporting goods?” Nyberg said. “We need more sophisticated solutions than that.”