Founded in 1902, Navistar International Corporation is a holding company whose individual business units build integrated transportation solutions. Headquartered in Warrenville, IL, the company produces International® brand commercial and military trucks, MaxxForce® brand diesel engines, IC Bus™ brand school and commercial buses, Monaco® RV brands of recreational vehicles, and Workhorse® brand chassis for motor homes and step vans. Navistar's equipment and services are sold through a network of over 1,000 dealers in the U.S. and abroad.
Navistar was looking for a solution to standardize the diagnostic technology used by its dealers to service International brand commercial and military trucks and other Navistar transportation solutions.
The EZ-Tech program—consisting of durable and reliable Toughbook mobile computers and diagnostic software—was put in place to provide Navistar dealers the best technology at an affordable price point.
In partnership with reseller Bizco Technologies, Navistar has deployed more than 3,500 Toughbook mobile computers to its dealer network through the EZ-Tech program. With Toughbook notebooks, dealers are able to service more vehicles without the fear of device failure and have experienced strong ROI on their technology investment.
Service revenue is a critical part of dealership profit and success; however, many dealerships struggle to realize this profit without the necessary resources. For many companies, the solution is modernizing technology in the service bay.
In 1999, Navistar introduced a dealer program called EZ-Tech – designed to standardized service diagnostic technology in Navistar dealers' bays. The goal of the program is to offer dealers the best technology at a cost-effective rate. An EZ-Tech device consists of a rugged notebook loaded with diagnostic software and the vehicle interface cables. Upon arrival at the dealer's location, the EZ-Tech turn-key solution is ready to be deployed. Once deployed, Navistar is able to remotely manage the software program and push out updates to its dealer network.
Given the harsh service bay work environment, the right rugged computer was critical to the success of the program. Many of Navistar's dealers relied on early-generation military mobile computers which were extremely heavy, expensive and lacked performance capabilities. Navistar was looking for a new mobile computing solution that was rugged enough to survive the service bay, competitively priced to sell to dealers and would deliver strong return on investment (ROI).
Navistar's Vehicle Programming team evaluated approximately eight notebook vendors. After careful consideration, Navistar selected Panasonic's Toughbook® notebooks for the EZ-Tech program based on the Toughbook brand reputation, extreme durability and competitive pricing.
Navistar first deployed the fully-rugged Toughbook 27 and upgraded to the Toughbook 28, 29, 30 and 31 as the line refreshed. Navistar also offers its dealers the semi-rugged Toughbook 52 as an alternative option.
"With extreme environments like trucking service bays, durable technology and equipment is critical to success. We chose rugged Panasonic Toughbook mobile computers for the EZ-Tech program to ensure that our dealers have reliable technology in place to streamline diagnostic and repair procedures," said Tom Beesley, Electronics Service Tools Manager, Navistar Inc.
Early on, Navistar recognized that it needed to work with a partner to manage the product orders, billing and administrative functions of the program. Five years ago Navistar enlisted Lincoln, Nebraska-based Bizco Technologies, a full service technology firm that uses proven managed service strategies to help businesses establish and manage realistic and predictable IT budgets. Bizco developed a custom online portal that allows dealerships to review, select and purchase product directly – both domestically and internationally.
In addition, Bizco Technologies created a unique hardware as a service option that allows dealers to pay a low monthly fee with a built-in refresh cycle three years from purchase. This value added reseller also handles all mobile broadband activations purchased by the dealers making IT procurement seamless and easy for all Navistar dealers.
"Our partnership with Navistar provides their dealers a seamless way to secure a reliable Panasonic Toughbook computer equipped with the diagnostic software dealers need to service their vehicles properly," said Paul Zoz, owner of Bizco Technologies. "By allocating fulfillment and billing responsibilities to Bizco, Navistar can focus on what it does best – building reliable vehicles."
Additionally, Navistar and Bizco work very closely with Panasonic's National Service Center, Heartland, located in Kansas City. Once a dealer purchases product through Bizco, the order is sent to Heartland where the device is configured and imaged. Heartland is able to quickly configure the device with necessary software programs and ship out to the dealer in a timely manner. This greatly reduces the wait time as well as the responsibilities of a dealer's IT department or headquarters.
One of Navistar's dealers, Diamond International, has been a Toughbook customer for fifteen years. Headquartered in Memphis, TN, Diamond International offers a full line of International Brand trucks (medium, heavy and severe service) along with a large inventory of used trucks for sale or lease. The company's dealership has more than 150 service bays and 400 certified technicians located throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas.
Currently, Diamond International has Toughbook 29s, 30s and 52s, running a suite of International software, deployed in its service bays. The Toughbook notebooks are the ideal device for the dusty, dirty environment where devices are dropped frequently. On average, Diamond International issues 50-75 repair tickets a day and has at least 50-60 trucks on the lot to service.
As a result, the Toughbook computers are used heavily to perform diagnostics. Critical features include drop-shock protection, a rugged keyboard and dust and dirt resistance. Port durability is also an important feature as the USB ports are used frequently to connect vehicle-interface modules. Even in the demanding environment of the service bay, Diamond International has achieved an outstanding return on its mobile computer investment. Due to the longevity and reliability of Toughbook computers, the company's Toughbook 29s have been in service for more than six years.
"The service bay is a tough environment for mobile computers, but after six years our Toughbook laptops are still in use, making them a great long-term investment," said Jim Hinton, Trainer / Recruiter for Diamond International. "The reliability of Toughbook notebooks in our service bays leads to reduced downtime, improved efficiencies, lower support costs and more satisfied customers."
The EZ-Tech program has been a great success for Navistar and its dealers. The company is able to offer its dealers the best equipment to service its vehicles at a cost-effective price point. EZ-Tech has also reduced the burden on dealers' IT departments as the Toughbook devices are shipped fullyloaded and configured through partnerships with Bizco and Heartland, and their durability easily withstands the service bay environment.
Currently, Navistar has deployed more than 3,500 Toughbook units to its dealer network worldwide. With the EZ-Tech program, Navistar has proved that a centralized approach to service technology offers dealerships high-end solutions without the burden of management costs.