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The Uber of Roadside Repair

Learn how K.E.R.A.A can cut costs for fleets when it comes to roadside repair.

Episode 246: No matter how much preventative maintenance and inspections fleets do, driver breakdowns happen, and usually at the most inconvenient time. With time and money on the line, is there a way to speed up the process of roadside repair to get drivers back on the road sooner? In this episode, we dive into Knomatic’s revolutionary software K.E.R.A.A. that solves this issue.

My guest today is Jack Yurich the CEO of Knomatic.  

Headshot of Jack Yurich, and K.E.R.A.A

Jack is a 36-year veteran of the technology industry for both hardware and software solutions. My mission is to transform how my clients interact with their employees, their customers, and suppliers by eliminating all the friction of manual, and paper processes and multiple software applications.

Guest Website: Knomatic.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.

When you’re in the parts business, especially when you’re first being trained, it’s almost beat into your head, you’ve gotta get the parts to the customer as quickly as possible because normally they’re not just ordering parts for the fun of it. They’ve got a piece of equipment or a truck that’s down and they need to fix that vehicle and get it back on the road.

So getting parts to people quickly is a big part of solving or at least reducing the cost of a downtime breakdown event. But there’s so much more that goes into getting that piece of equipment back up and running, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So I’m really excited to have my guest.

My guest today is Jack Yurich. He’s the CEO of Knomatic and Jack is a 36 year veteran of the technology industry. He’s got experience both in hardware and software and Jack is a very mission-focused CEO. So his mission is to transform how clients interact with their employees, their customers and suppliers by eliminating all the friction of manual paper processes and multiple software applications. So Jack is a man on a mission and we’re glad to have him on The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. Jack, welcome to our show. So glad to have you here.

Jack Yurich:

And glad to be here Jamie. My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Jamie Irvine:

So let’s talk a little bit about the scenario that I talked about in the intro. So we’ve got a truck, it’s broken down on the side of the highway. Historically, what has been the experience and we’re going to go through each stakeholder in getting this truck back up and running. So let’s start with the driver. First of all, historically, what has been their experience when they break down, what is some of the pain points that they have experienced?

Jack Yurich:

So from what I have learned and what we’ve been learning over the last three years focusing on this is that number one, if it’s an owner operator, he is on his own and so he can’t really count on where he is going to break down. So he is gotta go Google search or he’s gotta go to some other platform or someplace to find a technician unless he’s gotta listing in that area.

So that’s hard if he does work for a fleet. So he would contact the dispatch, then the dispatch either has a list in that area or they do a Google search, which I’ve seen done in the past. And then they’ve gotta locate someone, locate a technician, make the phone call, hope they have someone that’s available, hope they can locate where he is, and then get that whole process started.

Jamie Irvine:

I mean, if you’re driving long distance and you break down and you know weren’t really paying attention to the mile markers or exactly, you’re like, well I’m somewhere between this town and this town. And in either case, owner operator or company driver, the driver is waiting kind of just like, okay, I have to wait now. So there’s that time where they don’t really know what’s going on and they just have to wait until they can figure out a solution. Right?

Jack Yurich:

Absolutely.

Jamie Irvine:

Okay. So let’s talk a little bit about the dispatcher and their experience. So they are in the process of working and doing what dispatchers do during the day. I know dispatchers, they’re very, very busy people and all of a sudden one of their drivers is broken down. So if we kind of follow that logic chain out, so they’re going to do the Google search, they’re going to be looking, this is probably pretty disruptive to the dispatcher’s day.

Jack Yurich:

Oh absolutely. And because there’s all of those coordinates, you have to immediately set in your mind of who, what, when, all of those different things and they’ve gotta have their access to their list to get, because time is money. The operation is to get ahold of a company, a service company or the mechanic who can get out there and fix that truck or get it towed to wherever it needs to go.

And so the dispatcher is really wearing a lot of hats in this situation because they’re having to communicate with the truck driver as well as with the service company. And the service company might have multiple techs out to doing the work and they’re just trying to coordinate it all together. It’s very, very hard job.

Jamie Irvine:

And going back to the driver, I just thought of something else too. If you’re broken down on the side of the road, there’s a safety issue there too. So that’s another stressor on the driver. Of course dispatch is concerned with that too because it’s their driver. They wanna make sure they’re safe, they wanna keep their equipment safe, but there’s also stress and inefficiency for the service provider.

Most people wouldn’t think of that. But if you’re a mobile service provider and you’re trying to track down this broken down truck in a two or three mile stretch of highway, or maybe it’s longer than that, maybe it’s 30 or 40 miles, they’re somewhere out there, there’s a bit of inefficiency and stress there for the mobile mechanic as well.

Jack Yurich:

It’s a very dangerous situation. It really is that the technicians and the driver, anything can happen. So we wanna make it as efficient so that everybody knows where they’re going and everybody’s as prepared as they can be to execute what they need to get done as quickly as possible and get that truck driver back on the road safe and that technician back home to serve another job.

Jamie Irvine:

And depending on the quality of the information coming from the driver and the dispatch, the mobile repair technician also has the issue of, I don’t know exactly what I’m going to need to fix that vehicle. So if the quality of the information is poor, then there’s always the issue of extending the downtime because they don’t have what’s needed to fix the truck. There’s a lot of inefficiency in this process. There is a lot of stress and that is what we’re here to try to solve today. So we’re going to take quick break, when we get back, we’re going to talk about the solution that you’ve provided. We’ll be right back.

Commercial Break:

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Jamie Irvine:

We’re back from the break and before the break we were talking about the historical situation of what the experience has been for truck driver, dispatcher and mobile repair technician when there is a roadside event where a truck has broken down or trailer has broken down. Jack, you’ve spent a few years now looking at this problem and coming up with a solution. So first of all, could you tell us what the acronym K.E.R.A.A. stands for?

Jack Yurich:

Absolutely. KERAA is Knomatic Emergency Roadside Assistance Application.

Jamie Irvine:

Awesome. Okay. Now as you built out this application, what exactly are you trying to accomplish? You had a very specific term for what you’re trying to accomplish. What are you trying to do to this whole process of getting a truck fixed and back on the road when there’s been a unscheduled breakdown event?

Jack Yurich:

We’re Uberizing the process, and that’s a word we’ve heard a lot of clients speak and so we borrowed it because that’s the way they were speaking.

Jamie Irvine:

Nothing wrong with the little voice of the customer work and using the language that they use, what resonates with people. Okay, so you’re Uberizing the whole repair process. Walk us through how it works and let’s go back through because we already talked about all the people involved, we talked about the driver, we talked about dispatch, we talked about mobile repair technician. So let’s go through one at a time. How this app makes the process more efficient and makes the experience, it’s already a bad experience but makes it a little less painful.

Jack Yurich:

Absolutely. And so we call, what we do is in order, when we speak this language here, we just call them user groups. So we have the drivers of user group, the dispatcher is a user group, they got the service provider user is a dispatcher, they’re are users groups and then there’s the admin.

So what the process is, so let’s say that we have a list and we’re going to make a phone call with our application a dispatcher, we can take it, we have an app that the driver can use if they really do want to use that part of it and actually put the order in. We can have a portal for the customer where they can actually put the order in to a service provider or they can make a phone call or any other ways the work order can get started, we’ll get it started.

So the dispatcher or the person receiving at the service provider, the mechanic or the service company that’s going to find a dispatcher, they would start the work order. If you have existing customers that are repetitive, you would already have a lot of the information that will populate in the app. But if it’s new, set up a new work order and then we would assign that to a technician.

Each technician has their own app and everything is done through the, we call our dashboard screen and that application. So once the technician is assigned the job and they accept it, we can then send a text to the driver and that driver and we can send that link to the dispatcher and anybody else that wants to watch, they can see the technicians in an Uber driving to that location.

So there’s peace of mind from the driver’s side and the dispatcher, all those back and forth phone calls, hey, where’s your tech, where’s the tech, is eliminated through a visibility of where they stand and then the dispatcher, they have all the control right there. They know where the tech is, they know where the driver is. We can even geolocate the driver as well. That would be the main parts of the front end of this.

Jamie Irvine:

That makes a lot of sense. Just the increase of visibility of the entire process. So I wanted to make sure I understood correctly. So typically speaking how this will work is the service provider is usually the one that starts the work order. They’ve received a request from the fleet, maybe it’s the owner operator calling or maybe it’s the dispatcher from the fleet calling on behalf of the driver. The service provider starts the work order and from there that application is shared with the customer who is the fleet or owner operator. And that’s where the visibility really, really starts. Do I have that correct?

Jack Yurich:

Yes, yes. So the service providers, technicians would have the app as well so that they’re going to send that communication to the technician so they can get them to accept the work order. But that information, once that work order has been accepted, is now shared right back to the driver and both their dispatch.

Jamie Irvine:

So now everyone involved, all the user groups have complete visibility over where the service technician’s happening. But things are dynamic and things change. So for example, right now where I am, it’s pretty cold and there’s a little heavy snowfall today. If you were in Arizona, western Arizona or something, you might be in the desert where it’s extremely hot in the summertime, maybe the driver decides, I’m just going to walk down a couple blocks or quarter of a mile here and going to go and get a coffee and get out of the weather. How does then the driver communicate and how does it improve the communication flow?

Jack Yurich:

Yeah, well all they would have to do is the link that we send them would already have them geolocated, but then we also have a chat feature built into the app between the dispatch and the service provider if they want to chat back and forth in order to keep track of where that driver is.

Jamie Irvine:

Yeah, see I think that’s great because everybody texts, everybody’s using their mobile device so now you’ve just eliminated all those phone calls, all that back and forth, you know, don’t have a service provider showing up where this is the driver, the truck is locked, all that stuff that has happened in the past where we just didn’t have the technology to be able to communicate you’ve activated that. What would you say is the economic impact on the fleet or the owner operator? How does this translate into reducing the cost of that unscheduled breakdown event?

Jack Yurich:

Well the positioning is to optimizing the breakdown process from the service provider side. They’re doing the heavy lifting here. And so what we’ve gotta do is cut down on the back and forth phone calls, we’ve gotta allow them to do their job quickly, have more information to get there faster with possibly more of the tools and items they need.

So the app is going to cut down on that time, the traditional time it takes from phone call to a service provider that can come out and fix that truck or get them back up and running. And some of these are hours and hours of time waste waiting for inefficiencies. Our goal is to try to keep ’em all within 90 minutes from the phone call. And so time is money and they’re delivering loads that are very worth a lot of money and we want to get them back on the road as quickly as possible. The app will cut out a lot of the back and forth that’s really wasting a lot of time inefficiencies

Jamie Irvine:

That that’s more significant than maybe people realize on the surface. So for example, let’s say I broke down at 11:00 AM if I’m back up and running in 90 minutes, basically that’s just like an extended lunch break. In the old system with inefficiencies. With all of that, maybe it was four or five hours. Well now it’s like, you know what, I gotta get a hotel. I’m not going to get to deliver the load now till the next day.

The cost of that by shrinking the amount of time, maybe you can’t change the purchase price of the parts needed to fix the truck or the labor time, but certainly the inefficiencies taken out of that and getting back on the road sooner has a big economic impact. That’s really cool. Could you give us an example where one of your users of the platform was able to have a really great experience, just tell us what the situation was and how did the app help?

Jack Yurich:

Sure, absolutely. So our first client has been with us now for over two years and they have had a very successful roadside repair company for over 30 years. A family owned and operated organization. And what happened was is they decided that the father passed the business to the, gave the business to the sons and they decided that they wanted to optimize this process and come up with an app so they could make this faster.

And so they hired us to do this and in phase one the business doubled the first year. The app allows you to capture all the photos, all the receipts, all the notes, everything’s in one work order and that’s where the technician can go out and do that versus having to go find all that once the work order’s done. And so that one area alone, by having the technicians being able to capture everything at the site that moment, it just allowed them to do a lot more work orders quickly than just the business doubled.

Jamie Irvine:

Because we talked about how it makes it more efficient for the driver and the fleet, but you’re absolutely right if the repair technician isn’t wasting as much time, they can do more repairs in a day. So your capacity as a service company has just increased so then your revenue can go up because lord knows there’s no shortage of work out there right now.

Jack Yurich:

It’s just so many different between texting and having to get, there’s requirements. Transportation companies have requirements possibly before and after pictures, possibly for time. Everybody’s scrutinizing the bill, the application for our technicians or our mechanics will time stamp the whole process. It will allow us to print a report for the customer with before and after pictures. All the requirements will be right there in the app that moment instead of never getting it and not possibly not getting paid because you didn’t meet the transportation company’s requirements.

Jamie Irvine:

Yeah, that makes sense. As we all know in this industry there is labor shortages at every major position, whether it’s technicians, it’s drivers even if you look at the part side of the business, we’ve got major issues. I think that the companies that deploy technology to make their customers more efficient are the companies that are going to really win the battleground of competition over the next let’s say five to 10 years.

And it sounds like your application is absolutely perfectly positioned to empower service shops to make the whole experience more efficient for their customers. And that’s why for in your example case study, that’s why they were able to double their business because they were making their customers more efficient, their customers were enjoying the process. Nobody likes a breakdown event. So if you can make it less painful then it’s going to go a long way.

Jack Yurich:

To your point, one of the things I wanted to talk about is we’d like to take all of that friction out of the process and that’s optimum goal. That’s the mission with when you have regular customers or good cust that are calling is we have a portal where the client can literally and it’s being done can literally send the order in the work order for the breakdown through the system into the dispatch and it shows up on the screen and they’ve got as much data as possible right there then they can without a phone call, without text and we can chat on between the dispatcher from the transportation company to the service provider.

So we’re trying to break down all those barriers of time and get that technician assigned and traveling to the location, letting that truck driver know that someone’s on the way. Peace of mind, on the way, they’re coming. I just wanted to reiterate that part of it and not leave it out is that we really do wanna take as much of that human interaction out of there as possible. It it’s still necessary but we wanna streamline it,

Jamie Irvine:

Right, and part of that streamlined process is going to affect parts because I think that the better quality information you have before you leave to go repair and first of all diagnose and then repair. The more information you have, the more prepared you can be as a service technician and you can perhaps have the parts with you ready to go.

That’s also a reduction in a inefficiency because it saves having to drive back and go get parts that you needed that you didn’t know you needed because of a lack of information. So even from that perspective, I can see how it’s going to impact the parts that you need and that’s going to make it more efficient as well.

Jack Yurich:

The parts are critical and we all know that there’s a shortage everywhere, all over with parts. What we’re finding is with the application and with the data that our clients are collecting, they’re able to plan better and they can make sure that they have the key top 10 stocked in the trucks and have that ahead of time. The other part is getting paid for the parts with a breakdown when a technician has to go buy the parts, all of that can be uploaded into the application and saved. So that tracking that and getting reimbursed for it financially is also a part of the application.

Jamie Irvine:

You’ve been listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine and we’ve been speaking with Jack Yurich, the CEO of Knomatic. To learn more about Knomatic, you can visit knomatic.com now. If you go to the link in the show notes, it’ll take you right through to the KERAA page so that you can learn about the specific application that we’ve been talking about. Jack, thank you for being on The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. It was awesome to talk to you,

Jack Yurich:

Jamie. My pleasure. I appreciate you and thanks for having me on.

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