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Local Scania Assistance targeting Australian problems

Scania Assistance

Scania customers now have access to improved local roadside assistance with the introduction of the new Scania Assistance team in Melbourne.

The service went live on April 2, giving anyone who calls the hotline direct communication with a team located as Scania’s Australian headquarters in Campbellfield.

Previously, Australian customers were redirected to the assistance centre at Bradford in England, but now they have a team to call their own.

Now the vehicle manufacturer has 16 assistance centres globally, who get in contact with technicians and workshops to get Scania drivers back on the road in the case of breakdowns.

Now entering its 26th year in service, Scania Assistance global managing director Tobias Andersson says having a centre in Australia will be a massive benefit for customers.

“The main reason for Scania Assistance is for the customers. We want to support the customers in the best possible way,” he says.

“In Australia and New Zealand, we only have to offer support in English, so it’s not a big problem compared to Europe.

“There’s a lot of cross-border traffic in Europe. We have cooperation between the centres so we can get technicians out from the workshops.

“That’s why we got support from the centre in Bradford for a few years. In Melbourne here, we’re supporting Australia and New Zealand. To be local and having local experience, it helps knowing the country to give the best possible support for customers.

“We looked closely at the alternatives but we thought Melbourne was the best location. We’re close to the head office here in Australia.”

Image: Scania Australia/Supplied

The opening of an assistance centre in Australia has been a long time coming, Scania says, but there hadn’t been an opportunity in the past.

A recent increase in local business has driven the need for it now, with more trucks on the road than ever.

“There were talks a few years ago about opening a centre in Australia, but it got parked for a bit. It wasn’t the right time,” says Scania Assistance Great Britain, Ireland, USA and Australia and NZ manager Katie Whelan.

“The volume of sales, especially in New Zealand which had a 110 per cent increase in new sales, means the more vehicles on the roads and more breakdowns.

“We’re now building up the relationships in the networks. Melbourne will be speaking to the workshops day in and day out, getting updates.

“We can update the customer at all times to say we’re waiting on parts or tell them when it’s going to be complete. Then they can start planning on when it’s going to be on the road, and then forward plan on their deliveries.”

One of the biggest changes and benefits that Scania drivers may notice when calling Scania Assistance is not just familiar accents on the other end of the phone, but also a significant increase in local knowledge.

The team acknowledges that Australia’s transport industry is unlike any other across the world. Our drivers cover significantly more distance, and are often much more remote, particularly when travelling through Western Australia or the Northern Territory.

The Melbourne team is being headed up by Scania Assistance Oceania supervisor of commercial operations Brendon Parry, who underwent significant training along with the Assistance team before the launch of the new centre.

He says that Scania has identified the importance of having local knowledge at the ready.

“I’ve got a team of people that will be manning phones from 6am to 7pm. After that we’ll revert to the UK again until the morning,” Parry explains.

“When we opened the office at 6:00 on the first day, the first call came through at 6:01am. There’s clearly a need for a local team.

“Lingo’s a big thing. Transport in Australia is very different to the rest of the world. We have our own idea what parts are called, we’re the only place in the world that has road trains.

“I think having a team here to understand how the transport system here is important. “Livestock is a big one for Australian transport. Getting stuck out somewhere in Cooper Pedy for instance isn’t great for livestock.

“It’s all about communication and shortening that length of communication.”

Image: Scania Australia/Supplied

“The geographical knowledge helps, but if you have a driver going out from WA or the NT, if you go further inland the dealers tend to get further and further away,” Whelan adds.

“Sometimes we have to think outside the box. We had a driver quite far into the sticks. He couldn’t get the vehicle started, the window wouldn’t go up and there was a sandstorm.

“There was a local caravan park nearby who bought him some food and water and let him use their facilities for food and showers. The ETAs if you’re quite far in can be quite long.

“Yes we can get a technician out, but what can we do in the meantime to make sure they are safe and that the customer is put first?

“Having people in Melbourne who will know what’s the area and who they can call will be important.”

The evolution of Scania Assistance since it was introduced 26 years ago means that it has to keep up with the times.

There are plans in place to increase support for electric and other zero-emissions vehicles as they continue to grow in number on Australian roads.

Support for electric charging stations has already been piloted in Sweden, which is informing what the needs for Australian drivers may look like in the near future.

Image: Scania Australia/Supplied

The other side of this is how the company can use data.

Some Scania service packages include Procare, which gives the Assistance team detailed information on what could go wrong with a truck before it happens.

Scania Assistance project manager Andrew Greenwood says that the Melbourne centre will give Scania greater access to these sorts data to quickly address the needs of each specific customer.

“From the opening of the centre in Melbourne we will be operating a new generation system that allows us to access more data to match the customer and vehicle, as well as identify fault codes, all of which will help speed the resolution of the issue by the technician at the scene,” he says.

“In the future we anticipate the customer will be able to report a fault or breakdown using the Scania Driver app, and obviously that will bring a lot more stable data into play and make it easier for the nominated technician to see the exact details of the vehicle as well as potentially its service history and the fault codes generated.

“Further down the track we may be able to use live data from trucks to predict when breakdowns might occur and be able to avoid unplanned mid-journey roadside stops.”

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