BOULDER, CO. Navistar International Corp. unveiled “Vision 2025” on Aug. 6, a multi-faceted plan aimed at strengthening the company’s standing in the next decade and putting past struggles further in the rear-view mirror.
During a media briefing and workshop here with company executives and dealers, Friedrich Baumann, president of aftersales and alliance management, said Vision 2025 represents a shift from “survival mode” to a “customer-centric, innovative brand.”
This will be accomplished through investments in technology, the expansion of parts and service offerings, and improved communications throughout the entire organization.
“Service sells trucks as much as trucks sell trucks,” said Baumann, who joined Navistar in April 2018 after a lengthy stint with Daimler Trucks North America. While customers have to be satisfied with the vehicle itself, “in the end, it is also how you take care of customer when in possession of vehicles.”
Baumann acknowledged there had been an “adversarial relationship” in the past between Navistar, the maker of International trucks and engines, and its dealers.
Terry Minor, president and CEO of Cumberland International Trucks in Nashville, TN., agreed with Baumann’s description. However, he stressed Vision 2025 is about all sides coming together to make the customer the center of attention and achieving the goal of no unscheduled downtime.
Much of the past decade has been rocky for Navistar, which attempted to use exhaust gas recirculation to meet 2010 federal emissions standards. The decision backfired, resulting in Navistar switching to selective catalytic reduction, purging out its executive team and settling lawsuits.
A steady rebuild has been underway, led by CEO Troy Clarke, and further aided by an investment from Volkswagen initially announced in 2016. VW is part of the Traton Group that also includes MAN and Scania.
Navistar’s Class 8 market share in the United States is 17.4%. Baumann said selling more trucks and boosting market share is obviously a goal for Navistar, but Vision 2025 is also about “becoming the premier solutions provider and OEM of choice for our customers.”
That includes a greater level of digitalization across the aftersales business, and more data sharing between Navistar, dealers and customers.
One recently completed upgrade is Navistar’s dealer inventory alliance (DIA) technology, said Chintan Sopariwala, vice president of global distribution operations. The system is helping Navistar with predictive stocking of parts across its 550 dealer locations.
“Having the part on a dealer's shelf maximizes the chances of a repair being completed in under 24 hours,” Sopariwala said.
Justin Fink, president and CEO of Summit Truck Group, one of the largest International Truck dealers in North America, said the system has helped combat his No. 1 frustration - not having the right parts on hand. Fink said the company invested about $3 million across 24 dealerships to fully install the updated DIA system.
“Once we did it, our emergency orders went down - our unplanned orders went down,” said Fink, adding it also resulted in “less frustrated conversations with customers.”
To further assist in getting needed parts to locations faster, Navistar is opening a new parts distribution center later this month near Memphis, TN. The proximity to the FedEx cargo hub means that parts ordered as late as 11 p.m. eastern time can be delivered by early the following morning.
Navistar is also finding new ways to reach customers that don’t necessarily look to dealers for replacement parts. That includes launching non-International branded stores carrying predominantly Fleetrite products.
Fink and Minor each said they are running several of these stores in small markets, and are attracting delivery vehicles, construction trucks and other customers than generally had not been calling on their traditional dealerships.
Navistar executives also touted the recently announced service partnership with Love’s Travel Stops, which officially kicked off Aug. 1.
The agreement allows more than 320 Love’s and Speedco locations to handle work covered by a new product warranty, as well as extended warranties and used truck warranties. In total, the deal has added more than 500 service bays and 1,300 technicians into the network for International customers.