The challenge to diagnosing hydraulic malfunctions worldwide is accommodating different types of machines and different sophistication levels of dealers.
Edited by Alan L. Hitchcox
|CNH Global was able to standardize on only three different instruments for assessing the operation of hydraulic systems in more than 540 different machines by more than 11,000 dealers in more than 150 countries. |
When CNH (Case New Holland) Global, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of agricultural and construction equipment, found itself in need of a global solution for diagnostic hydraulic testing equipment, they turned to Webtec Products Ltd. Having worked on a design solution with Webtec previously, CNH already knew that the company had existing products that were being used worldwide and that Webtec could meet the requirements of both CNH and its global network of 11,300 dealers and distributors in 160 countries.
Because CNH had so many dealers using a wide range of methodologies and equipment to carry out machinery services and diagnose faults, information relayed back to CNH’s head office was often incomplete and inconsistent. This impacted customer service levels and warranty costs. Without a system to address these issues, resolution times could increase, with a corresponding effect on end user satisfaction.
Assessing dealer capabilities
CNH was preparing for new product developments that would require a much greater level of integrated service diagnostics, especially to maintain the highest standard of dealer and customer support. High quality field reports would also enable CNH to identify and resolve genuine manufacturing and production concerns in a timely manner.
Each country or dealership had been responsible for sourcing its own tools and equipment, so CNH sought a more uniform solution that would not only satisfy its own needs, but also provide the dealers with a universal tool to suit its individual needs. These dealer concerns included:
• responsibility for servicing and maintaining a range of more than 540 different models of agricultural machinery,
• have varying technological capabilities in different markets,
• be located across several different continents,
• accommodate both metric and imperial standards,
• service customers that communicate in more than 40 different languages,
• use a cost-effective solution to match the technological needs at the individual facility.
Dealers also wanted equipment recommended by CNH that met all the requirements of existing and future products.
|The instrument shown is the CNH Datar electronic service tool, in which hydraulic instrumentation is connected to a laptop running Datar software for detailed diagnostics and trend analysis. |
For dealers with more advanced technological capabilities, the solution also needed to interface with the laptop computers they were already using, and which contained all the manuals for the equipment that they were servicing. This meant Webtec had to work alongside a third party producer of an interface box, a company that already had experience working for the Fiat group of companies, of which CNH is a part. Because this company already had a product that would serve the purpose, the final solution was to be heavily reliant upon Webtec’s considerable flexibility in terms of design and engineering to ensure an integrated approach.
Furthermore, CNH had to get everything done — from initial project evaluation, through design, development, prototyping, and first shipment — within six months.
After evaluating dealer and customer requirements, Webtec found the solution needed to satisfy three levels of end user:
• those who needed a lower-cost, low-tech tool for measuring flow, pressure, and temperature in smaller (sub 60 hp) machinery.
• those who required an intermediate solution consisting of digital hydraulic testing tools for measuring flow, pressure, and temperature
• those seeking a high-tech electronic service tool that would allow connecting hydraulic instrumentation to their existing laptop computer.
Developing a solution
Webtec found the needs of the first two groups could be met with existing products, which only needed to be matched to the CNH service specification, thus representing a highly cost-effective solution for the dealer. Therefore, Webtec focused most of its attention on the electronic service tools. By October 2009, Webtec had designed, evaluated, and tested a prototype tool that met the requirements of both CNH and its dealerships.
In the course of doing so, Webtec was able to use its own in-house capabilities to produce digital images of the products to show dealers precisely what the equipment would look like before it was actually produced. The products themselves, however, were not the only determining factor in Webtec’s solution. CNH also required its own branding, logos, and part numbers to appear on the equipment. Furthermore, instruction manuals had to be produced in eight different languages. Webtec’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system allowed them to ship to worldwide locations on CNH’s behalf, effectively cutting out the need for the additional costs and arrangements associated with warehousing and distribution.
The end results
Now, with a range of 13 different Webtec products to meets its requirements, and a standard format of information for all of its dealers, CNH is able to respond faster to field reports. Ultimately, this enables CNH to provide a higher level of customer service. Furthermore, Webtec is responsible for all the supply logistics to ensure direct delivery within four to six weeks all over the world.
The initial demand is likely to occur through December 2010, and all the latest CNH service tool developments will be demonstrated to North American dealers in January 2011.
This information was provided by Paul Muskett, of CNH Product Quality and Technical Support, and by Webtec Products Ltd., St. Ives, U. K. Webtec products are available in the US from Webster Instruments, Milwaukee; (800) 932-8378, or firstname.lastname@example.org.