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Penske Launches Device-Neutral Connected Fleet Platform

April 17, 2017

Photo: Penske Truck Leasing
Photo: Penske Truck Leasing

Penske Truck Leasing has announced the launch of its new connected fleet solutions. The truck lessor described its approach as a device-neutral, remote-diagnostics platform that can connect with most truck and engine configurations and telematics service providers.

Penske said it designed the data platform in-house to help offer fleets more value through onboard systems they may already be using.

The platform offers remote diagnostics using location data, and big data analytics to help fleets stay on top of vehicle maintenance. 

“We never go into these things thinking let's develop something on our own,” said Bill Combs, director of connected fleet at Penske Truck Leasing. “There really are no systems out there available for us to buy or license from others so we realized it was something we needed to build in-house and maintain the maintenance and ownership of that system to make sure it works with all of the systems our customers are using in their fleets.”

Through a survey, Penske found that its customers wanted Penske to be able to tap into the same data that they already had to enhance the company’s maintenance and roadside assistance capabilities.

For instance, through Penske Truck Leasing’s 24/7 roadside assistance call center, if a driver is having an issue with a vehicle, they can call in and get help with dealing with the problem. Using the new connected fleet technology, Penske’s call center rep then brings up any fault-codes in near-real time to help reduce downtime.

The data platform piggybacks off existing telematics and diagnostics setups and is device-neutral to allow fleets to continue to use the products they already use.

Penske worked with providers to ensure that its data platform would be compatible with existing systems. It is not designed to be a competitor with any existing telematics and diagnostics platforms. Penske noted that it will consult fleets and advise them to help find a solution if needed.

“What we wanted to do was work with any of those devices that are commercially available in the markets,” said Sherry Sanger, senior vice president of marketing, Penske Truck Leasing. “Our customers have made a variety of selections and investments into devices and we thought that the best avenue was to partner with them and to use the data from the devices that they already made investments in.”

With information received through its platform, Penske said it has a deeper view on the current status of a truck to add immediate context to a situation and help it deal with problems in a more useful way.

The company tested the service through a pilot program with current customers and it is now using its connected fleet solutions platform with more than 20,000 vehicles in its truck rental and logistics fleets.

With the launch, the service is now available to customers as a complimentary service to add value to its maintenance offerings. The remote diagnostics capability is currently in use at Penske’s in-house roadside assistance call center.

“What came out of talking to customers was that they wanted us to take the data off their plate,” said Combs. “If we can use fault codes and telematics data and that makes it possible for us to serve them better -- we can really create value. That’s not going to happen by us feeding them back the information. We need to help them fix the vehicle and do it as quickly as possible.”

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