An exclusive interview with Caterpillar dealer expert and FDC Consultant, Bob Jenkins. Learn important IT trends, how CAT dealers can improve field service operations, and the impact of connected equipment on dealerships.
When it comes to Caterpillar dealers, FDC Solutions is the best technology consultancy in the business. In a recent interview with Bob Jenkins, Consultant at FDC, we came away with key insights into the most important IT and field service trends CAT dealers should be following and how CAT dealerships are prioritizing product support operations through advances in connected equipment.
Q&A with FDC’s Bob Jenkins
MSI: For those who aren’t familiar, explain FDC. Who are you? What service do you provide CAT dealers?
FDC: FDC is a software development company specializing in software solutions for Caterpillar Dealers, Caterpillar Corporate, and diversified industries within the extended supply chain.
FDC also provides ERP Software and Operational Support for CAT Dealers using Caterpillars’ Proprietary ERP software. Because of our extensive technical and functional understanding of this industry we have become the preferred company for integrating third party software with Dealer ERP Solutions.
MSI: CAT dealers have been feeling pressure to increase revenue from service and product support. How have they been responding to that pressure? In other words, what strategies and solutions are they investing in to drive revenue from product support?
Bob: Caterpillar Corporate is increasingly challenging the dealer community to bolster revenues from Service and Product Support. Dealers have been working with CAT by sharing ‘big data’ around customers and equipment. This data is being analyzed by Caterpillar to assist dealers in identifying the collective market “opportunity” and establishing concrete targets related to both revenue and market share. CAT dealers are consuming this data in advanced CRM applications by the sales teams and implementing more advanced service scheduling and routing tools with mobile capability in order to ensure the increased opportunities are addressed in a timely and efficient manner for their customers.
MSI: Connected equipment through sensors is becoming a key differentiator for manufacturers like Caterpillar. How are CAT dealers utilizing connected machine data?
Bob: The biggest impact on connected equipment for Dealerships has been the automatic updating of machine hours. With this accurate meter reading technology, software solutions are able to automatically schedule existing maintenance contracts.
After machine hours, the next biggest impact are Fault Codes. Dealers are now able to use software to analyze and compare fault codes transmitted from connected equipment in order to provide customers with information about their equipment and operators’ performance. This translates into customer benefits such as longer lasting machines, lower fuel consumption, and the accurate scheduling of preventative maintenance.
MSI: What are some of the most important IT trends CAT dealers should be following when it comes to improving field operations?
Bob: CAT Dealers today are looking for real-time mobile solutions for field service. They need to be armed with all the necessary information regarding the equipment and the customers plus be able to react immediately while on the customer location for unscheduled repairs, parts orders, and quotes.
All new CAT Equipment is equipped with electronic equipment location and monitoring technology. Dealers are consuming this data to preempt major issues by addressing the problems with customers through field service agents prior to major component failures.
MSI: How does Service Pro address service needs for today’s CAT dealers?
Bob: As a trusted advisor to CAT Dealers world-wide we were very happy to help bring Service Pro to the CAT Dealer Community. It has revolutionized the typical Dealership approach to servicing Preventive Maintenance contracts and it has given their Field Service Techs (and supporting back office) tools and flexibility to realize the opportunities they are working with CAT Corporate to identify.
Process change is difficult, but having the right tools in place, like Service Pro, can make those changes happen smoothly. Service Pro is definitely making its mark in terms of improving efficiency and empowering the mobile service team. Dealers are just now realizing the power that it’s bringing them and their customers. They will continue to improve and grow their service shops as they apply this new technology to other areas of their service business.
Learn how Service Pro and FDC can take your Service Operation to the Next Level
FDC’s mission is to provide Caterpillar Dealerships worldwide with quality solutions to achieve their best results. With the recent emphasis on growing revenue from product support, many CAT dealers are differentiating themselves by investing in a field service management solution integrated with their ERP system. Service Pro is a leading FSM solution for CAT dealers and FDC can help smooth the transition.