A crowd gathered around Navistar’s press conference where a screen displayed the kind of truck telematics we’ve come to expect today, but that was 2014, and the truck being tracked wasn’t a international truck. OnCommand Connection was one of the savviest OEM moves of the 2010s. It was the first OEM to offer an open platform to track truck operation and efficiency on any brand of vehicle. This keen eye on the power of data continues to permeate Navistar’s strategy in the era of the TRATON Group.
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“Vehicle data is useful in our development process,” said Mathias Carlbaum, CEO and President of Navistar International Corp. “Also, where I see huge opportunities is in predictive maintenance. Some of it is sensor-based in vehicles, some of it is AI-based, but the data we get gives us the possibility of predictive maintenance to avoid putting a vehicle on the side of the road, it is also the ability to do the right maintenance and group together the right parts at the right time.
Dealer service points play an important role in this regard and have been a focus of Navistar’s investments. Carlbaum transformed the role of the dealer by acting on the data up to 11.
“I almost like to think of it as a Formula 1 stage where nothing is unexpected,” he said. “We’re going to be moving in this direction because data and predictive maintenance allow dealers to be faster and better prepared by having the right parts and the right technicians at the dealership. They’re ready to get the job done.
Carlbaum noted the continued consolidation of the heavy-duty dealership market and how the use of truck data can expand service solutions.
“A broader service portfolio will be requested from the customer for the dealership,” he said. “This is an initiative that we are going to improve.
The source code (of manufacture)
Before the acquisition of the TRATON group, Navistar was already implementing Industry 4.0 processes, notably in its new factory in San Antonio which recently held its inauguration ceremony. The digital approach to manufacturing will continue to evolve under Carlbaum’s tenure. For his part, he introduced the idea of a modular scale and component approach.
“Modularization is a religion in the band,” he said. “By going modular, you get scale, you have fewer components, you get scale on those components; by being modular with common interfaces, exchange between brands is facilitated. You reduce the amount of parts to stock, both for the secondary market and for production.
With less complexity comes greater speed, especially in how Navistar can share technology with TRATON Group’s global brands. Carlbaum called it Navistar 4.1.
“We’re building with what we have and we’ll add things and we’ll share,” he said. “Everything must be planned and our organization must be there with data to give the right service to the customer without surprises. Data is end-to-end – we take it from the vehicle, through our manufacturing process, through our service practices, and then into our R&D.
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