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Volvo IT testing smartphones to increase efficiency at truck workshops

Volvo IT is currently collaborating with Volvo Trucks to test the way consumer electronics can be used to streamline work at service workshops. Mechanics are given access to service instructions from a smartphone, thereby saving time and enhancing quality.
Volvo IT testing smartphones to increase efficiency at truck workshops

Volvo Trucks is working the whole time to enhance the quality and efficiency of its aftersales service. One method that is currently being tested involves the use of smartphones – a consumer-based technology – at workshops.

“Smartphones are user-friendly devices that can assist our technicians at work, while offering our customers better support,” says Bengt Persson, Senior Vice President Quality and Technical Support at Volvo Trucks.

Today, the service technicians’ need for new skills and information is constantly increasing, as new technology develops and more truck models are released onto the market. As trucks chassis are also unique, it is impossible for technicians to know everything about every vehicle.

Volvo IT can see several advantages to using technologies that are mainly aimed at the consumer market in new areas.

“Firstly, consumer products are produced in larger volumes, resulting in a significantly lower price than industrial made-to-order devices. Secondly, users already have prior knowledge of the way this technology works and are therefore more likely to embrace it as a new way of working,” says Kerstin Hanson, project manager at Volvo IT.

With this new concept, which was developed in collaboration between Volvo IT, Volvo Trucks and Volvo Parts, the chassis unique instructions will be easily accessible on a technician’s very own smartphone. The information can be delivered either as text or through images and animation. The benefits are numerous. For example, the animation will allow instructions to cross language barriers, with obvious benefits for a company such as Volvo Trucks, which has workshops in more than 140 countries. As smartphones are mobile and easy to carry, they will also make it easier for technicians always to be updated with the latest information as they work.
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“It’s great that new technologies can be used to improve and develop our work,” says Mattias Roos, a service technician at the Volvo Truck Shop in Gothenburg, who has tested the application. “The concept is very time efficient and extremely user friendly.”

Last spring, tests were conducted among service technicians in China and Sweden, with both reporting positive results. Now Volvo Trucks and Volvo IT are continuing their work to further develop and customise the application.

“The use of smartphones in service centres is an interesting solution, which will improve efficiency and ensure the quality of our aftersales services. We therefore have great hopes of launching the concept in the near future,” says Bengt Persson.

Facts: Smartphones in workshops
The concept is based on using mobile smartphones to provide technicians with service instructions. The instructions are in the form of either text, or images and animation. The advantages of using smartphones are numerous. One such advantage is the ability of images and animation to overcome language barriers. Mobile smartphones also offer technicians easy access to the most up-to-date service instructions.

May 19, 2011

Link to video

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The instructions on the smartphone show service technicians exactly what needs to be done. At the same time, it is also easy for them always to have the smartphone handy while working.

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The service concept delivers information either as text, or through images and animation. It was developed by Volvo IT in co-operation with Volvo Trucks and Volvo Parts.

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Images and animation help overcome language barriers, which is a huge advantage for Volvo Trucks, considering that it has workshops in 140 countries.

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With the new concept, Volvo IT is using a technology that is actually designed for the consumer market. This means that many service technicians already have prior knowledge of the way the technology works.

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The information demands that are imposed on today’s technicians are constantly increasing, as new technology develops and more truck models are released onto the market.

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“Smartphones are user-friendly devices that can assist our technicians at work, while offering our customers better support,” says Bengt Persson, Senior Vice President Quality and Technical Support at Volvo Trucks.

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“No service technician can keep track of every single part of a truck. Whenever we’re unsure, we can find the necessary information here. This is sort of our Bible or telephone book,” says service technician Mattias Roos.

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“Consumer products are produced in larger volumes, resulting in a significantly lower price than industrial made-to-order devices,” says Kerstin Hanson, Project Manager at Volvo IT.

For more information contact Jan Strandhede, Corporate Communications,
tel +46 31 323 37 15,
jan.strandhede@volvo.com