Heavy-Trucking Repair Shops Get a High-Tech Makeover


The heavy-trucking industry has always been a blue-collar business.

But in recent years, heavy-trucking repair shops have seen some notable technology upgrades. Managing a heavy-trucking repair shop now goes beyond the nuts and bolts of the trade.

With new software and operating systems specifically designed for heavy-trucking repair shops and an increase in companies prioritizing sustainability, it is important that individual repair shops stay updated and prepare for the future of the industry. In addition to closely monitoring new technology and industry trends, those working in heavy-trucking repair shops should prepare to update their certifications and continue their educations as necessary. Here are several tech developments that can benefit heavy-trucking repair shops as the industry continues to evolve.

Repairs have been streamlined by upgraded, in-house vehicle service technology.

In the past, only about 10 percent of heavy-trucking repair bays had vehicle lifts. Vehicle lifts were necessary for automotive shops, but heavy-trucking repair shops had little need for them. While a technician would have to use a lift to service cars—whether they were older models ornew 2018 Ford vehicles — techs in heavy-trucking repair shops generally had enough space under older truck models to work without a lift. Changes in the latest truck models mean that more heavy-trucking repair shops will require vehicle lifts.

Consumers and businesses are now more concerned with sustainability and emissions than ever before, and companies have responded by developing technology in newer models of trucks intended to reduce emissions. This reduces the amount of space available for technicians to work under the truck, necessitating the use of a vehicle lift. These lifts help to prioritize safety and time. Studies show that techs using vehicle lifts for truck repairs are able to work up to 40 percent faster. Using a vehicle lift to achieve faster service times can increase profits in the long run. Heavy-trucking repair shops adapting to the technology changes with the latest truck models will likely add lifts to their service bays.

New, sustainable technology will have a lasting impact on the industry.

While some of the emission-reduction technology is still in its early phases, some well-known companies such as Volkswagen and Navistar are already partnering up to develop a fully electric truck that they intend to have on the road by 2019. It is doubtful that such advanced technology will be commonplace for some time, but heavy-trucking repair shops should begin preparing to service the newer vehicles that are already on the market by investing in vehicle lifts. As this industry continues to change in regards to technology, it will pay to be ready for these changes in advance.

Sustainability will likely remain an industry trend, with sustainable practices and technology eventually becoming the norm everywhere fromRV Parks in North Bend, OR to strategies for managing an investment portfolio. For insight on the best practices for sustainable investing, interested managers can use Sustainable Invest, a website where investors can research sustainable investment opportunities that offer competitive financial returns with a positive social impact. They recently released their Q1 2018 Sustainable Funds Review which provides an in-depth look into the performance of the top funds from across the investment category. Research at this level of detail is crucial towards optimizing your portfolio and making sound investments.

New management software streamlines repair processes and shop management.

Technology is changing the management systems at heavy-trucking repair shops. Even in the hands-on heavy-trucking industry, running a business with pen and paper has become outdated and inefficient. It is too easy to lose or misplace valuable information, which could disrupt operations and result in lost profits.

Today, digital programs such as FleetPal Connect, a software platform for heavy-duty truck repair shops, can help managers optimize a variety of systems in the shop for more efficient servicing. Upgrading to new software systems allows managers to keep important information organized and accessible. Software for heavy-duty truck repair shops can include solutions for a wide variety of common issues, including fleet maintenance, repair tracking, and reducing costs of operation. Some programs also come with a VRMS coding system for organizing and optimizing operations.

Remote programming software assists technicians in unique situations.

Diesel Laptops recently announced the launch of its remote programming kits. These kits are currently only available through Diesel Laptops, but more companies could offer similar useful kits in the future if the technology becomes more popular. These kits benefit heavy-trucking repair shop technicians who need assistance with a one-time solution for a unique situation that they do not usually encounter in their shop.

If a customer comes into a repair shop with an engine that the technicians do not usually work with and a problem they have not seen before, they have limited, unsatisfactory options for handling the situation. The shop can purchase diagnostic software for that specific engine model, which can cost upwards of $1,000 and may only need to be used once. If they do not pursue this course of action, they usually have no other choice but to turn the customer away. Either way, this is not convenient or profitable.

Diesel Laptops hopes to provide a better solution with new Remote Programming Kits. If a customer comes into a shop with an issue that the employees are not able to handle on their own, the shop can rent a Remote Programming Kit, which will be shipped to them in 48 hours (or in one day with an extra fee). Once the shop has received the kit, they can follow the instructions provided to connect to a technician certified with CAT, Cummins, International, Isuzu, John Deere, or Mack/Volvo, depending on the type of engine they need to service. The diesel technician will then remotely access the engine and perform any necessary procedures.

As more systems within heavy-trucking repair shops move from hands-on to online, shops can ultimately benefit in the long run. While remote programming kits may represent a step away from business as usual, they will enable shops to work on a wider variety of engines and avoid turning away customers.

Staying educated on new technology and updating certifications is key.

Continuous education is important in any field. But with the heavy-trucking industry changing rapidly, it is vital that technicians, mechanics, and fleet managers stay updated. Technicians who have officially completed certifications for The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence enjoy advantages over those who have not.

One study showed that ASE certified techs were nearly 20 percent more productive while diagnosing and repairing trucks than non-certified techs. Extra training and ongoing education help techs and mechanics diagnose problems faster and work more efficiently. People interested in entering this field and working in the heavy-trucking industry should seek out comprehensive programs that adhere to industry standard curriculums. They should also choose a program that is certified by the ASE where they can learn from ASE certified instructors.

For instance, New York Automotive and Diesel Institute is an automotive & diesel technology college in NY. They offer a 60 credit AOS degree in Automotive Technology. This is one such degree program that will prepare students for all eight areas of the ASE Automotive Certification. No matter where a technician earns their certifications, ASE certifications must be renewed every five years, meaning that technicians who make an effort to renew their certifications will always be educated on emerging new technology in this industry.