Managing Editor, Features
Penske Truck Leasing Launches Connected Fleet Platform, Remote Diagnostics Service
Penske Truck Leasing has expanded its technology offerings with the launch of its connected fleet solutions, which tap into existing telematics systems to enable services such as a remote diagnostics.
The proprietary data platform is designed to connect with virtually any truck and engine combination or telematics service provider, the company said.
Penske currently is using its connected fleet platform to support its new remote diagnostics capability, which gathers fault code and vehicle location data from onboard telematics hardware to respond more quickly to service calls.
Penske said is offering the connected fleet solutions to its fleet customers at no added cost.
“Our unique approach makes it easy for customers to connect their vehicles and share their vehicle data with us,” Penske Truck Leasing CEO Brian Hard said. “We’ve designed these connected fleet solutions to improve vehicle uptime, safety and compliance and help keep customers well informed about their vehicles.” The platform currently is collecting data on more than 20,000 vehicles, the company said.
Bill Combs, director of connected fleet at Penske Truck Leasing, said the company’s new remote diagnostics system was designed specifically for its truck lease and rental operations.
“Our customers don’t want some application where they’re going to log in and see 18 trucks with some kind of fault code coming off,” he said. “They want us, as their maintenance provider, to operate around that.”
The service collects vehicle data across truck makes, and Penske’s maintenance teams work with the truck makers to better understand the fault codes issued by those vehicles, Combs said.
When a driver calls Penske’s 24/7 roadside assistance call center with a maintenance problem, Penske’s coordinators can use the remote diagnostics system to quickly check key vehicle information and fault codes, rather than just asking the driver a series to questions to troubleshoot the problem.
“We can see a lot of things that can help that conversation go faster,” Combs said. “Those call times go down, and we can help trucks get back on the road faster.”
Instead of introducing its own telematics hardware, Penske chose to take advantage of the various systems that many fleets and truck makers have already deployed.
“When we did a survey of our top customers, our largest fleets, we found that over 90% were already using some kind of device,” said Sherry Sanger, senior vice president of marketing at Penske Truck Leasing.
Penske has started by integrating its connected fleet system with the devices its fleet customers use most frequently, and the ones that the original equipment manufacturers are using, but plans to expand those integrations over time, she said.
While many fleets are already using telematics systems, they often struggle to put that data to use.
“The real sizzle right now is in making use of the data,” Sanger said.
Penske also said its connected fleet services provide a technology pathway toward providing predictive maintenance services.
Right now the company is using data to react much better when a maintenance problem arises, but the “ultimate goal,” Combs said, is to know in advance when a problem is likely to occur for a particular piece of equipment in a particular application, based on the data and trend analysis.
“With mixed fleets and the scale at which we operate, we will be among the first to see that there could be issues with some given piece of any OEM’s vehicle and how it’s being operated,” he said.
Separately, Penske Truck Leasing also recently introduce a free mobile application for its full-service lease and contract maintenance customers.
The Penske Fleet app, available for download on the Apple App Store and on Google Play, enables users to view current company fuel prices, as well as fuel costs at third-party fueling locations across the United States.
Customers also can use the app to review a 90-day history of vehicle maintenance services performed, make roadside assistance calls and search for Penske service, fuel and rental locations, as well as public scale locations and third-party compressed natural gas fueling stations.
Penske Truck Leasing also recently launched a technology consulting group and also said it plans to begin offering portable electronic logging devices for its rental trucks this year.