Trimble’s New Warranty Portal
Content is excerpted from Warranty Week Article: by Eric Arnum
We’ll have more to say in next week’s newsletter about the rest of the WCM agenda on Wednesday, and much more coverage of events on Thursday. But in the mean time, let’s provide one glimpse of what’s scheduled to kick off the proceedings first thing in the morning on Day Three.
On Thursday at 8am, a session entitled, “Case Study: Road Map for a Connected and Unified Global Services Portal,” will be presented by Cheryl Johnson, IS Project Manager, Global Services, at Trimble Inc., and Ashok Kartham, CEO of Mize Inc.
Kartham has been bringing his customers to WCM conferences for years, encouraging them to explain how they’re improving their warranty management systems. “The main thing is other companies and customers are always interested in knowing about some other customer’s experience,” he said. “That’s one of the values of any event, including the warranty conferences. They want to learn from each other, and from industry peers.”
At WCM in Tucson, he said he hopes Trimble can share a little bit about their experiences, talk about the challenges they faced, and explain the benefits they saw. And then, hopefully, some of the people listening can take some of the ideas they hear about back to their own companies.
“We want more of our customers to participate and share their experiences,” Kartham said. “And I’m glad Trimble agreed to participate in this.” But some customers are told by corporate that they cannot share their experiences, because they don’t want competitors to catch up. Others don’t want to seem like they’re endorsing a given product or company.
Met During WCM
Johnson said two of her bosses first met Kartham several years ago at a previous WCM Conference, where they got to talking about warranty management systems. “At the time, we were looking for a replacement for our service support and warranty systems,” she said. And it took off from there.
Johnson said the information-sharing aspect of WCM is welcome. “I personally am of in camp that sharing information is a good thing,” she said. “Anything we can do to help others, I’m all for that. You can’t move up or grow in the world unless you bring up everyone with you.”
Kartham said he and Johnson are aiming this presentation at the warranty managers for manufacturers, particularly those in the business-to-business sector. Trimble works with partners such as Caterpillar Inc. in the construction industry and CNH Industrial NV in the agricultural industry, to add navigational equipment to their customers’ vehicles, so they can dig or plow in precisely the right spot. It recently changed its name from Trimble Navigation Ltd. to Trimble Inc. to reflect a broadening of its product line.
Optical and laser construction tools, fleet management services, precision irrigation solutions, and pest management operations are also among the offerings now available from Trimble. But this constantly lengthening list is the result of more than two dozen acquisitions over the past few decades, so there are still several different application platforms and solutions deployed across the company, particularly in the areas of warranty and service contracts.
“Each of these divisions were working on their own,” Kartham said. “They had disparate systems, different processes, and data was not consistent. So one of the things we set out to do was to bring all of these different groups and divisions together.”
At the same time, Trimble and its partners were doing the Internet of Things before that was a thing. Using the Trimble systems, these vocational vehicles could report their status and location automatically, and if repairs were needed, could initiate a claim.
At WCM this year, Kartham and Johnson will present a before-and-after case study. Over the past three years, Mize helped Trimble implement a warranty solution that also can be used by its dealers, some of it partners, and even some of its customers, to connect not only to the people handling a claim, but also in some cases to the products themselves. It’s now connected to both an Oracle database and a Salesforce.com system within Trimble, Johnson added.
Trimble formed a Global Services Group and launched a protection plan portal called My Trimble Protected, or MTP, which includes both product warranties and service contracts. They started with a proof-of-concept project that provided product registrations and serial number captures. Then they added the protection plan portal, and rounded it out with parts returns, technical information, training, and other services.
“It’s becoming our full-service portal for our distribution partners and customers for product registrations, warranty management, and services support,” she said. And the dealers like it too, she added. “They now have access to their reports and to information they didn’t have before.” For instance, now Trimble can provide them with a comprehensive list of purchases. “They would come to us three or four years ago and ask us, ‘What have you sold us?’ And we couldn’t tell them.”