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Eliminating Gaps in Communication When a Driver is Broken Down

Learn how Roadbays is increasing productivity and faster uptimes while eliminating gaps in communication.

Episode 150: A driver breaks down 500 miles from your shop. They need to get the truck fixed and get back on the road. How can we improve the way commercial fleets deal with this situation? RoadBays is built specifically to increase productivity and faster uptimes. Roadside management will never be the same with RoadBays. 

My guest today is Steve Wolfe, the Founder at RoadBays. 

Steve Wolfe headshot, and RoadBays logo. In this episode, learn how Roadbays is increasing productivity and faster uptimes while eliminating gaps in communication.

Guest Website: RoadBays.com.

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Transcript of Episode:

Jamie Irvine:

You are listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And this is the show where you get expert advice about heavy-duty parts that keeps trucks and trailers on the road longer while lowering cost-per-mile. In this episode, we’re gonna talk about gaps in communication when a truck breaks down. My guest today is Steve Wolfe. He’s the founder at RoadBays and RoadBays is built specifically to increase productivity and to create faster and more reliable up times for commercial fleets. We’re gonna look at it from everyone’s perspective, the driver, the operations person at the fleet and the service provider. And we’re gonna talk about how these gaps in communication is taking a bad situation and only making it worse and driving up the cost of this unexpected downtime for the fleet. So let’s first take a look at the status quo in the trucking industry.

Steve Wolfe:

The most common scenario I see is a driver breaks down, they call operations or an emergency breakdown center. The driver then communicates what’s going on, where they’re at and call back information. The operation person then in return documents what’s going on. They source a vendor, they relay all the same information from the driver to the service vendor and then operation calls the driver back with ETA’s and other information about the vendor, essentially they go through this process and then the driver sits wondering and waiting when the vendor will be onsite to help resolve their issue.

Jamie Irvine:

So a driver is maybe a few hundred miles away from their repair shop and their fleets operations base, all of a sudden the truck breaks down. So now the driver is stuck on the side of the road in an area where they aren’t necessarily particularly familiar with where a service shop would be or the area in general, even small things like where they can go to get a coffee or where they could find a washroom or a hotel, they’re in an unfamiliar location and they’re broken down. So the first thing the driver will do is phone the operations person that will take the call and help them resolve the issue. Now, the operations person is gonna run through a list of questions where is the truck, what was happening, to try to get as much information from the driver as possible.

The problem is the driver is in an unfamiliar location. So they may not have a great deal of accurate information about even their location. They’re also drivers, not mechanics. So they may not fully understand why the truck has broken down. And so the information being provided to operations is going to be limited. And this is where the gaps in communication begin. So now the operations person is taking limited information and trying to find a local service provider. Of course, the service provider is going to try to get as much information as possible from the operations person. And now this information, which is limited at best, is being passed through a couple different people and things often get missed or lost in that conversation. The service provider then heads out and tries to find where the broken truck is based on the information they have. Sometimes the truck isn’t exactly where it was described to be. And so time is lost looking for the truck. The driver, meanwhile, has been sitting patiently waiting and you know what it’s like, if you try to wait for something, it just seems like it takes forever. So the driver may get impatient or frustrated with having to wait, or maybe the conditions, it’s very cold or it’s very hot. Maybe they need to find a bathroom or they wanna just go for a coffee. So sometimes when the service provider shows up, the driver isn’t even on site with the truck.

Steve Wolfe:

Yeah, that’s correct. There’s a lot of times where the service vendor is told, you know, the driver is in this certain area and they may not be in that area or the driver moves, the driver moves and goes five miles down the road. So there’s a lot of different types of scenarios that happen.

Jamie Irvine:

The service provider then has to track down the driver. This adds to the time and the cost of doing the repair. Once the driver and the service provider connect with each other, then a diagnostic can be done. And oftentimes the parts needed or what is needed to fix the truck is not with the service provider, with their mobile truck. And they have to go and pick up parts or go back to their shop to get a different tool. All of this, adding to the time and the unscheduled downtime. Service provider then gets back to the truck and perform the repair if possible, if it’s not possible, then a tow truck has to be arranged and the truck has to be towed into the nearest shop. And while the driver and the service provider are trying to solve the issue, the person in the operations department at the fleet oftentimes loses visibility of what’s going on.

And this prevents them from being able to make decisions that could get the load delivered more quickly. So for example, if the operations person was able to identify that the truck is going to need to be taken to a repair shop and will not be able to be repaired on the roadside, they could then begin working on getting a rental truck out, getting that load switched and hooked up to the rental truck, having the driver carry on with the load and deliver it, hopefully as close to on time as possible, while the truck is then towed into the shop and repaired. But without that information, the operations person has to wait. And oftentimes by the time they do get the information that has passed them by at least on that day, might have to be pushed to the next day. So that is the status quo. That’s where we’re at in the trucking industry right now, the question is, can we do better? And the answer is, yes, we can with something called RoadBays.

Steve Wolfe:

RoadBays is an asset management software that allows fleets to manage breakdowns and over-the-road incidents, you know, I know the problem and I know how to resolve the problem. And that’s kind of what my mentality always been in throughout my life is kind of a problem solver. And we’re really trying to provide a better and communication and efficiency gains to these individuals.

Jamie Irvine:

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Let’s take a moment to talk about the economic impact of all of these gaps in communication. So the first person who’s affected obviously is the driver. And if the driver has to wait longer than necessary because of these gaps in communication, then their wages and overtime, perhaps extra hotel expenses and food expenses are all part of the cost of the gap in communication and not having that driver back on the road sooner. For the service provider, they end up having to come back and forth to location, they spend time looking for the truck, looking for the driver. Maybe they don’t have the right tools or the right parts. So then there’s extra cost generated from them going back and forth to get what they need to fix the truck. Then if they do diagnose the problem to be something that isn’t able to be repaired on the roadside and the truck then has to be towed and brought to a shop that generates more downtime for the fleet, more time wasted for the driver and also for the service provider.

 If the load is late, or if the load is sensitive, like for example, it’s a refrigeration unit then there could be issues with the cargo itself. There could be unhappy customers, you could lose a customer. So then the fleet can incur extra costs there all because of these gaps in communication. So when you put this all together, unscheduled downtime is costly, no matter what, but if you have these additional gaps in communication, which are making the unscheduled downtime lasts longer than it should, this isn’t doing nothing but driving up the total cost for the vehicle owner or the fleet. Let’s talk about the solution. RoadBays helps eliminate gaps in communication when there’s unscheduled downtime and a truck has been broken down on the side of the road in three key ways. First, it identifies the exact GPS location of the truck.

Steve Wolfe:

Through API connectivity, we have the ability to be able to pull the exact GPS or the longitude of the asset.

Jamie Irvine:

This information is critical to be able to get a service provider to that truck as quickly as possible.

Steve Wolfe:

And our goal is to integrate systems that allow fleets to share location details to service vendors on where all these assets are located. You know, some of the biggest pain points is safely finding where a driver is located and then relaying this information to a vendor so they can safely get out there and resolve their issues.

Jamie Irvine:

Second, through telematics and fault codes, exactly what is going on with the truck can be communicated easily to the operations of the fleet and to the service provider very quickly.

Steve Wolfe:

So one of the things that we’re doing is we’re giving them access to vendors within our mapping tool. We’re allowing them to be able to communicate through cases with the vendor, with the drivers. So everybody’s on the same page and essentially just giving everybody an all in one solution to bring them better communication paths through that process. We also are able to pull all the fault code details that are going on with that asset as well.

Jamie Irvine:

This eliminates or reduces dry runs and gives the service provider the information they need to know what tools and parts they are going to need before they get to the truck.

Steve Wolfe:

Yes, I believe it can help reduce dry runs. And we’re trying to remotely access what fault codes are getting triggered. And if we’re able to provide these details to service vendors, before they even leave the shop, they can bring the right tools. They can bring the right parts to help resolve these issues. And ultimately this helps with unnecessary tows and dry runs that fleets and driver’s do today.

Jamie Irvine:

And third, RoadBays provides complete visibility of everything that’s happening to everyone involved. The driver, the service provider and operations.

Steve Wolfe:

The operation person has to one go through company stances. So they have to go through a rolodex of things that the company wants them to follow or a process they want them to follow. And you have to have the right vendor for that issue. We’re trying to challenge the industry to put structure to this process and automate tasks and give visibility and partner with other great organizations that can provide value to this process. One software application or tool can only do so much. You have to grow your partnerships. You have to integrate, and you have to make a process like this more efficient by doing that. You know, our goal is to continue to expand our partnerships and integrate to help fleet and drivers and service vendors in this area.

Jamie Irvine:

The RoadBays dashboard provides complete visibility to everyone involved in trying to get this truck back on the road. It helps the driver, the service provider and operations to maintain this visibility throughout the entire process. What’s even more important is that it is web-based. And so everyone with a mobile device can easily access this dashboard and add information to it in real-time. And everyone else involved in getting the truck back on the road is able to see this information in real-time, which then of course helps with improving communication and reducing the gaps in communication that drive the cost up unnecessarily.

Steve Wolfe:

We know uptime is key and every hour down costs money for both the driver and the fleet. So let’s say a driver sends in a DVR message, that message automatically creates a case in RoadBays. Then that case creation that alerts via email or text message to operations and the driver receives an acknowledgement of this case. You know, it essentially provides a shared URL and is sent via email or text to the driver and gives visibility to this case. You know, as these cases are being worked by operations, the driver is going through and being communicated these notes, ETA’s of the vendor and essentially everything that is happening throughout the process they’re being notified. If the driver wants to communicate back, they can navigate to the URL that they received and comment on that case. And then, you know, as operations is sourcing the vendor, they can share the same case out to the vendor. And then the vendor can then view the GPS location of the asset and comment on the case and see all the fault codes that are being triggered. This helps the vendor source, the correct tools, and parts before going on site. You know, lastly, with our partnership with Diesel Laptops at the click of a button, the fleet, the driver, or the vendor can view how to resolve these fault codes with detailed instructions, diagrams, and part cross-references directly from the case.

Jamie Irvine:

So we don’t have to accept the status quo in trucking. When there is a breakdown and unscheduled downtime, there is a better way than the way we’ve been doing it. And a tool like RoadBayes is going to empower everyone to be more efficient, to have better access to information, and for trucks to get repaired more quickly, which gets the trucks back on the road and gets them back to making money as quickly as possible for the fleet. This is a game-changer for this situation and we highly encourage people to check out RoadBayes. You can do that by going to roadbayes.com today.

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