How to Maximize Results from a SAP Dealership Management System

Lonnie Ayers

Did you know that there are approximately 15.5 million trucks in the USA? Or that, of these, 2.2 million are tractor-trailers. Or that the U.S. economy depends upon trucks to deliver nearly 70% of all freight. Of course, all of these trucks mean someone has to finance them, maintain them, and operate them.

With an estimated 1.2 million trucking companies operating in the U.S. and approximately 192,000 sold each year, truck dealers have to operate on very tight margins in order to stay competitive. Many use the SAP Dealership Management System (DBM), an industry specific solution built to meet the unique needs of the ever changing trucking industry. Of the many unique aspects of the trucking industry, none is more complex than accomplishing scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on a fleet that is always moving.

It Takes a Team to Keep Them Rolling

Maintenance can include everything from simple oil changes all the way up to major engine overhauls. For large truck dealers, those with multiple locations, each of which will have specific capabilities, it is imperative to learn the key Supply Chain Management skill of substituting information for inventory. Trucks today come equipped with sensors that constantly monitor and transmit vehicle conditions. Almost every operator is equipping their vehicles with In-Cab Global Positioning System (GPS) reporting capabilities to not only know where their vehicles are at, but to enable real-time transmission of the ETA or Estimated Time of Arrival information to the end customer, so they can get ever closer to Just-In-Time (JIT) production.

It is within the maintenance area where operations are impacted the greatest when a DBM system is implemented in conjunction with a datawarehouse, coupled with a mobile dashboard capability. Those impacts include:

  • Changing behavior of the mechanics, as they can now see, in real time, the impact of their efforts on their customers
  • Using predictive analytics, you can now pre-order materials based on truck sensor data well in advance of taking the vehicle off the road
  • With SAP S/4 HANA, it is now possible to query your inventory availability across any number of maintenance storage locations in seconds, not days.
  • When coupled with the high-performance capability of SAP HANA, excess inventory can
  • now be quickly identified and eliminated
  • Getting agreement, cross-company, on the meaning of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as dwell time, now becomes imperative
  • You can now provide highly detailed, easily auditable invoices to the customer, backed up by easily accessible transaction data.
  • Disputes should be reduced, see previous item.
  • You can now work closely with your customer to model the required fleet, especially important for those that mix Less Than Truckload (LTL), Full Truckload (FL) and multi-modal operations.
  • Manufacturers, Dealers and End-Users can now collaborate much more easily.
  • Equipment and Tool Management (ETM), an advanced functionality used in many other industries, such as Aviation MRO and EC&O, can also be used to facilitate intra-system tool transfers and reduce unnecessary expenditures on redundant capabilities.

As can be seen, the trucking industry is a huge, complex industry, which relies on advanced technical systems to ensure the goods are delivered everyday. As a company that has delivered numerous successful SAP Business Warehouse systems on SAP HANA, coupled with visually exciting dashboards, we would be glad to share with you some of the results we have helped our customers in the trucking industry achieve. You can read about one of those customers in our latest Case Study by clicking the button below.