Hino, Toyota harness data to give logistics clients an edge
Truck maker hopes new service will open other doors
TOKYO -- Hino Motors will provide data-driven advice on improving corporate truck fleets' efficiency, seeking to boost truck sales and demand for maintenance services.
The Japanese truck manufacturer and parent Toyota Motor have created a dedicated logistics analysis team, which has begun dispatching staffers to trucking companies to gather data.
Hino's new large trucks will feature on-board systems that monitor the vehicle at all times and relay the data to Hino dealerships, which will recommend maintenance to truck owners before problems occur. The advance warning helps prevent downtime owing to repairs, thus raising fleet operating rates at logistics companies.
The new service will also suggest ways to lift efficiency based on travel routes and cargo volume data collected by the equipment. Truck loads in Japan's logistics industry average about half of maximum capacity, according to an estimate. Hino and Toyota see an opportunity to raise capacity usage and, in so doing, help customers cut costs at a time when labor expenses are rising.
To provide attentive maintenance services, 18 billion yen ($157 million) is being spent in fiscal 2017 to upgrade Hino dealerships, including additional lanes to handle increasingly popular small trucks, as well as the latest lifting equipment. The dealership investments mark a roughly 10% increase from the previous year. About 200 locations in Japan will be renovated.
Around 1.6 million Hino trucks are in use around the world, but many logistics companies repair the trucks themselves, so only about 30% continue to do business with Hino after the initial purchase. Hino seeks to raise this to around 50% soon. The company hopes the new service will help capture more demand for repairs and inspections.
"In order to keep logistics operations running, we hope to collaborate with the Toyota group and other companies," Hino President Yoshio Shimo said.
Trucks have long replacement cycles of at least 10 years. But by keeping in touch with fleet buyers through after-sales logistics support, Hino hopes to position itself to win orders for new trucks.
Efficiency-improving services are on the rise in the trucking industry. Yamato Holdings, for one, provides an online service that brokers business-to-business shipping orders.