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case study hdr luxury automakers panasonic

Automotive Service Bay and Diagnostics

Luxury Automaker Stands Apart with Proactive Service and Improved Customer Experience

Luxury Automaker Streamlines Service Bay Efficiency with Rugged Devices

One of the largest multinational automotive companies and foremost manufacturers of luxury cars in the world understands that the tools and equipment that are used for maintenance must be carefully selected to maintain a high standard of excellence. In the North American market, this manufacturer currently has 300+ retailers, so the technology selected must be extremely reliable and efficient to ensure operations are running smoothly across their large dealer network.

For a number of years, consumer-grade laptops were utilized for the vehicle maintenance application in the service bay. After experiencing consumer-grade devices that continuously failed from inevitable drops, dust and liquid spills that are part of the environment of a busy service bay, the dealer technology organization began searching for a more advanced and reliable solution. The dealer technology management recognized that using consumer-grade devices was resulting in added expenses for the dealerships & company to purchase a number of replacement devices on a regular basis. The high device failure also lowered service technician productivity.

Challenges

Recently a luxury automaker requested support from their Dealer Technology organization with providing a better mobile computing solution to keep automotive service bay technicians connected and capturing critical customer vehicle maintenance data in real-time.

Solutions

The Dealer Technology organization tested various options and finalized on a Panasonic Toughbook solution. They replaced the consumer-grade laptops with Toughbook laptops and Toughpad tablets, for the service bays, dealership lots and on-the-road techs for mobile remote diagnostics and maintenance.

Results

The auto dealerships experienced a significant increase in service bay productivity and are better able to diagnose issues the first time around, helping to meet customers' service expectations for a luxury automotive company.

The dealer technology organization began looking for mobile computing devices that could meet certain criteria: 1) handle the punishing workshop environment 2) provide superior mobile connectivity and finally the organization also wanted to work with a highly reputable company that designed performance excellence into its products. In 2006, the dealer technology group selected a fully-rugged Panasonic Toughbook mobile laptop solution. Now, over 10 years later, that relationship continues.

Since 2006, the auto dealerships have evolved from the Toughbook CF-18 to a newer semi-rugged Toughbook laptop and a rugged Toughpad tablet. The current standard deployment in the dealerships is one Toughbook per every two service technicians, with some retailers providing one for each of their technicians in the service bay. Toughbooks are now used in the service bays, dealership parking lots and by on-the-road techs for mobile remote diagnostics and maintenance at customer homes. The high-performing Toughbook solution helps improve customer experience and offers the luxury car company a differentiator in a competitive industry.

"When we initially began looking for a replacement for our consumer-grade laptops, the Toughbook brand stood out due to its durability and the fact that it supported our software," according to one of automaker's dealer technology managers. "With Panasonic's reputation for extensive durability testing procedures to ensure device reliability, it was an easy decision to switch to a Panasonic Toughbook solution."

Today the Toughbook is used for a wide range of purposes, most notably running vehicle service diagnostic software. It also is used in updating in-car navigation and entertainment systems as well as accessing the centralized corporate service bay systems. For the diagnostic checks, the Toughbook laptops and tablets run the diagnostic software that connects to in-vehicle systems and identifies problems or items to proactively address, decreasing car performance issues and improving problem solving.

Of note is that the dealership's service bay teams required minimal training and supervision on the Toughbook devices following initial deployment thanks to their intuitive design and easy transfer of the automaker's service bay software from one device to another. And due to the high performing wireless connectivity of the Toughbook devices, the manufacturer found additional improved efficiencies by using the data collected from their vehicles and transmitting it back in real-time to the corporate cloud-based vehicle feedback database. Corporate technicians then review and analyze all the data holistically and proactively predict maintenance needs that are communicated back to all the dealerships.