More trucks on the roads also means more truck breakdowns are likely. This is reflected in the callout figures for the truck breakdown service operated by Continental subsidiary Vergölst. Whereas its 150 breakdown service vehicles stationed around Germany were summoned about 20,000 times in 2019, the figure fell by over eight percent in covid-affected 2020. With covid restrictions easing in 2021, traffic volumes increased once again – as did the number of breakdown service callouts. By the end of the year, the total had reached 20,000, making Vergölst one of the largest truck breakdown assistance firms across the country.
As part of its plan to meet the challenge of these rising numbers, Vergölst has switched to regional breakdown management. “With truck logistics firms incurring substantial costs as a result of vehicle downtime, we must do everything we can to assist our customers as reliably as possible in the event of a breakdown,” says Thorsten Schuckenböhmer, Head of Commercial Vehicle Tires Business at Vergölst. To this end, regional breakdown management – an integrated feature of the FleetFox tire management system – allows specialist companies and commercial vehicle centers to coordinate their efforts much more effectively. So if a breakdown service vehicle in the immediate vicinity is already on a call, the next-nearest vehicle can be deployed. This significantly reduces breakdown call rejection rates.
Regional breakdown management was trialed last year in the Rhineland and Ruhr regions of Germany. “The systemic interconnectedness in the region leads to even better communication and closer coordination between the parties involved,” explains Edgar Hoffmann, Vergölst’s specialist companies manager in Bonn. “We were able to immediately reduce call rejection rates,” emphasized Carsten Meißner, Head of Key Account Management for the Central Region. “In these two regions, the rejection figures also remained at zero for a third month in succession. For this reason, we are now expanding our regional breakdown management approach.”
There is considerable added value here for the customers involved, as Schuckenböhmer underlines. “Vehicle downtime is expensive. Every hour a truck is stationary at the roadside costs the company money.” Lowering the rejection rate is one thing, but rapid breakdown service response is also important. “Our truck breakdown assistance crews generally need no longer than two-and-a-half hours for a job – from receiving the call to finishing the repairs on the vehicle,” says Schuckenböhmer. It’s a figure confirmed by Arno Schemmel at Pfaff Logistik: “Time is a key factor with truck breakdowns. With Vergölst, we have a partner who has already bailed us reliably and quickly on a couple of occasions.”
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Conti360° Fleet Solutions offer an all-round tire management service extending beyond reliable breakdown assistance. The Conti360° Service package covers everything from choosing the ideal tires for the job at hand and correct fitting, through regular checks and comprehensive tire reports, to smoothly handled casing management and a system to feed worn tires back into the ContiLifeCycle program.