Penske Commercial Vehicles offers a glimpse into its pre-delivery inspection process, something manufacturers usually keep top secret. Cobey Bartels writes
Penske Commercial Vehicles offers a glimpse into its pre-delivery inspection process, something manufacturers usually keep top secret
AS MORE TRUCK MANUFACTURERS bring their assembly operations Down Under, Penske Commercial Vehicles (PCV) is taking it one step further by digitising their production process using ‘the cloud’. It’s all part of their renewed pre-delivery inspection (PDI) process and PCV’s managing director Kevin Dennis says it’s all about taking the PCV brands to new heights in Australia. “We are now delivering the best Western Star and MAN trucks we ever have in the country,” Dennis says. “We’re talking here about value and benefit for dealers and customers.”
Ultimately, the customer gets a consistent high-quality product, with transparency from the factory all the way to the dealer showroom.
The two cloud-based software applications being used are ChekRite 2 and ChekMate, both of which are in use by everyone throughout the assembly and delivery process.
ChekRite 2 is used to complete vehicle checklists, for workers at the factory through to technicians at the dealership level doing final pre-delivery checks.
The ChekRite 2 software integrates with ChekMate, the other side of the equation that provides real-time performance data and information on the vehicles and checks being undertaken.
The use of the two apps allows communication from beginning to end between everyone that interacts with the vehicle, so any fault or issue can be traced back to its source instantaneously.
“It takes away manual process, it takes away the need for hard copy record keeping and it provides us with a significant amount of data we can use in the business,” Dennis says.
“The good thing is, the feedback from the dealership is instant. We get that information straight away.”
With every truck that gets to a dealer being quality audited and assessed in real-time, Dennis says the scores have been used to improve the end product.
All interiors are now being detailed and additional attention is being given to areas like step alignment, cab door alignment, routing and clipping.
This all comes after feedback through the cloud software suggested these were areas that needed to improve.
“I was with a customer recently who we sold two Western Star trucks to and he was predominantly a buyer of other brands, but he actually commented that they were the best trucks he’d seen delivered in a long time,” Dennis says.
The talk of quality is echoed by Penske production operations manager Shane Vallely, who is responsible for overseeing the renewed PDI process.
“It’s allowed us to take a fresh look at how we process vehicles … we are now reinventing how we process the vehicles because we have tools such as ChekRite,” Vallely says.
“There is no doubt the product has improved in terms of its quality, just by bringing the PDI process in house.”
PCV say this new process allows for a ‘best in the industry’ product and after walking around the 140,000 square metre Wacol facility in Brisbane, it’s clear the production line has been impacted.
Screens throughout the production line display information and as technicians build the trucks, they input data that is shared in real-time across the cloud network.
The ultimate goal was to provide the best possible truck to customers, but in doing so the PDI cost for dealers has been significantly reduced, making for a more competitive product.
“The impact all along means a more consistent quality of product, and it enables us to minimise costing – it ultimately benefits the customer,” Dennis explains.
“The program has been totally and utterly embraced, the dealerships have been singing the praises of the system.”
With the growing popularity of the MAN brand and Western Star’s sustained market share in Australia, the improved process spells a new era of quality and consistency for PCV.
Below: Penske Commercial Vehicles’ managing director Kevin Dennis