Early successes highlighting benefits of Mack’s Over The Air updates

Mack Trucks says that its Over The Air remote software update program has already saved over 500 days of downtime for fleets since launch in October.

Mack Trucks is hoping its Mack Over The Air remote software update program brings as much success to customers going forward as it has for early adopters.

Updates through the system have led to 500-plus fewer days of downtime, said David Pardue, vice president of connected vehicles and uptime services, during a press conference on Tuesday at the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) annual meeting in Atlanta.

Mack Over The Air enables remote software updates for powertrain components and vehicle parameters for Mack trucks equipped with Mack 2017 or newer engines.

“From a Mack Trucks perspective, we talk about leadership in uptime and we take that to heart,” Pardue said.

Mack launched an ASIST app last year to help declutter inboxes and the repair and approval process for customers – the app provides an alert when a vehicle requires attention and the user can approve that repair with a touch of a button.

Pardue also touched on Mack’s GuardDog connect diagnostics program and the company’s OneCall center, which provides a single touchpoint. In 2017, Pardue said the company had 121,000 customer interactions and also launched a survey.

“We asked people at the end, did the person you [interacted] with, would you hire that person,” he said. “And 99% of the time, we were getting a yes vote on that question.”

That is important to Mack, Pardue said. “We are a people industry,” he noted, “and that means having someone on the phone who can relate.”

Mack invested $2.5 million in 2017 to enhance its data analytics and vehicle data systems, tripled the number of codes it monitored, and hired 50% more staffing to assist customers. Nowhere are these investments more apparent than in the Mack Over The Air success.

“Mack Over The Air enables customers to ensure their trucks are operating at an optimal level without disrupting their schedules in today’s hypercompetitive just-in-time economy,” Pardue said. “This is just the latest step in our journey to provide industry-leading uptime for our customers.”

Since launch in October 2017, there are now 20 customers using Mack Over The Air and more than 1,300 updates have been completed. The average time to do that is about 23 minutes, Pardue said.

One of the early success stories has been Brooklyn Ready Mix in Brooklyn, NY. The company needed to update its engine and aftertreatment systems on all 10 of its concrete mixers. Mack worked with Brooklyn to develop a scheduled and was able to update all of the vehicles in a single day with minimal disruption to work schedules.

“The Mack Over The Air program is fantastic because it greatly reduced the time we typically spend on software updates,” said Manny Paradiso, plant supervisor for Brooklyn Ready Mix. “Sometimes it would take us up to four days. These updates allowed us to complete them in about a half-hour’s time. That’s a huge difference and enables us to better keep our trucks onsite, doing what they need to do to get the job done.”

Mack Over The Air is powered by GuardDog Connect, which also provides proactive monitoring and repair planning for 65,000 in-service Mack trucks.

It’s all part of Mack’s investments in improving vehicle uptime, but it all starts with the people.

“While we invest in technology and continue to invest in technology, people are our core,” Pardue said. “And that’s evidenced by our 50% growth in people…it’s a service, not a system.”

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.