Ascendum Machinery thrives on using machine data to help its customers manage not only maintenance, but also utilization and acquisition strategies. But the Volvo dealership does it strategically, cautiously, and collaboratively.
Chris Pierson, VP operations for the North Carolina-based dealership, acknowledges the early sensitivity among some equipment owners to dealership or manufacturer oversight of the data transmitted telematically.
“We absolutely don’t look at it like that,” Pierson says. “We’re a second set of eyes and ears to help the customer and partner with them to keep their productivity and their uptime.”
Volvo has worked with its dealer network to integrate ActiveCare Direct and the corporate data analysis it provides. Ascendum uses these tools to customize plans for its customers. All general production equipment (GPE)—articulated dump trucks and large excavators and loaders, for example—that is sold or leased with an extended warranty includes ActiveCare Direct, says Justin Glass, director of equipment care for Ascendum. The program is also offered to equipment buyers who do not want the extended warranty. Ascendum currently monitors about 2,000 machines.
“Almost everything in GPE [has the warranty and] a matching ActiveCare Direct term,” he says. “That allows us to better track those machines. We get alerts, uptime for the customer, and also help with our internally run warranty program.”
Glass describes two prongs of support: The customer actively involved in machine data, and those who rely on Ascendum to monitor and screen alerts. For the former, Ascendum will send weekly monitoring reports, including a preventive maintenance report showing the last service data, current location, current hours, and next service date. They will also provide fuel utilization, idle time, and—for leases—projected hours. These reports allow the customer fleet to better utilize individual machines, he says.
“If they want to rotate machines, because they have one that’s really getting utilized a lot and they have another one that’s not, they can balance that out and not have to pay the lease-overage fees,” Glass says.
The other data service is for Ascendum to use ActiveCare Direct to manage the most important email alerts. Alerts come into corporate and are relayed to the branch nearest the machine affected, Glass says, where the branch and the customer have agreed how the alerts are to be handled.
“That way you don’t have a customer that is running four different manufacturers’ equipment and he doesn’t have to log in to different portals and decide which [alerts] he has to respond to,” he says. “We’re addressing just the most important ones through Volvo’s ActiveCare program.”
Each customer tells Ascendum how they want to handle these alerts, Pierson says, and the dealership responds accordingly.
“We can tailor reports for the customer based on the information they want,” he says. “That’s getting better everyday, where we understand what’s important to the customer, so we can partner with them. Then we can tailor the frequency that they want to see it. That’s important to us, because it’s another touch point for us, it’s another opportunity for us to partner with them.
“I see the new generation understanding that you can use [machine data] for a positive,” he says. “We want the customer [to understand] that this is technology to help you improve what you’re doing and help our machines run better so that you purchase the next machine from us. If [the technology] doesn’t run good and it doesn’t produce, and we can’t prove that it’s doing that, then we haven’t done our job.”
In the video below, Pierson explains how Ascendum is working with a fleet on a long-term DOT project to help keep the Volvo machines up and running productively.