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JCB Invest in Digital Technology for Global Customer Support

First published in the August 2019 issue of Quarry Management as Prioritizing Uptime

With uptime being a key priority for their customers, JCB are investing heavily in a huge expansion of digital technology that is providing transformational improvements in global customer support

JCB are in the midst of investing £6 million in a massive expansion in digital technology to support customers globally, including a unique system which predicts and prevents downtime. JCB Uptime Centres, which track all JCB machines fitted with the company’s LiveLink machine-monitoring system – are opening around the world with the latest beginning operations in Singapore to support the south-east Asia region. It joins other high-tech hubs at JCB World Headquarters in Rocester, Pune in India, and Santa Monica and Savannah in the US, as well as 10 dealer-based centres.

Launched in 2010, the Uptime Centres bring together JCB’s dedicated parts and technical specialists to ensure machines work at their most profitable level, keeping downtime to a minimum. They collate real-time data through LiveLink to track the condition and availability of customers’ machines around the world, then use the information to identify potential issues which can be dealt with through dealer network service specialists.

Earlier this year, international journalists were given their first-ever glimpse behind the scenes at the JCB Uptime Centre in Rocester, where the experts work in an environment somewhat reminiscent of NASA’s ‘Mission Control’, receiving, analysing and dealing with live uptime data from LiveLink-equipped JCB machines in operation in all four corners of the globe, with an array of key information and metrics presented in front them, in real time, on a vast colour visual display screen known as the ‘power wall’.  

Among the innovations being deployed here are JCB Uptime Dashboards, which are home to JCB’s new and unique Machine Health Monitoring System. The system uses predictive algorithms and data transmitted via LiveLink to identify at-risk machines, and allows specialists to make recommendations on preventative maintenance that may reduce unforeseen downtime.

In addition, the introduction of Certified Dealer Uptime Centres around the world brings the power of JCB technology to local dealerships and enhances the service support they can offer to customers globally. Dealer dashboards are being rolled out to key dealers around the world with 25 due to be in place by the end of 2019.

Ian Sayers, JCB’s group managing director of parts and service, said: ‘Since the launch of our first Uptime Centre in 2010, we have seen a transformation in the time it takes to close technical cases. The centres enable us to work proactively in predicting potential issues and suggesting preventative maintenance steps to minimize unplanned downtime. Our investment in Uptime Centres and Certified Dealer Uptime Centres across the globe reiterates JCB’s commitment to provide the industry’s finest customer support and, through innovation, ensure JCB machines are the hardest workers on site.’

Innovative fleet technology

JCB are also taking innovation to new levels with the launch of two technology products that help fleet owners and machine operators to reduce downtime, increase revenue and improve safety. Developed in collaboration with major hire companies, fleet managers and owner operators, the JCB Operator app and LiveLink Fleet website portal use digital technology to overcome a host of worksite issues, all at the click of a button. Both were officially unveiled to UK customers at this year’s Plantworx show in June, with international launches set to take place before the end of 2019.

The JCB Operator app has been developed to combat common site issues by making the pre-start machine check process electronic – replacing paper-based checks that can often be lost, damaged or incorrectly filled in; allowing operators to add comments or images to safety checks; and providing useful documents such as quick-start guides.

Meanwhile, the LiveLink Fleet website portal now allows customers to monitor all brands of machines in one place. Working in tandem with the JCB Operator app, it also allows the user to capture a real-time overview of a complete fleet; collate all machine pre-start checks electronically; manage servicing and immediately deal with critical health alerts; quickly monitor top-line data such as fuel consumption, faults and machine idle time to improve profitability; and link to a variety of complementary JCB systems through a single login.

Mr Sayers said: ‘These new technologies are helping JCB deliver the industry’s finest customer support. They ensure JCB operators are firmly in the driving seat when it comes to on-site safety and simplifying paperwork, whilst for multi-brand fleets the technology has the potential to revolutionize business – making everyday processes much faster and more profitable.’

JCB Operator app

The JCB Operator app is currently available to all machine operators on iPhone and iPad devices, with Android availability set to follow later this year. The app addresses common issues seen at worksites around the world today. Paper-based machine checks are a mandatory safety requirement at many sites, yet they are often illegible, submitted late, easily damaged or not thoroughly completed. JCB have addressed this by making the machine checks process electronic through the JCB Operator app.

Once the user has logged into the app, they can scan the data plate on a JCB machine or manually enter the machine’s serial number. Machine checks specific to the given model are provided if the user has an online connection. If not, a generic machine check template is provided. Rental companies and site-specific check templates can also be created if required.

The user simply carries out the machine check process by either passing or failing individual checks, with the ability to add comments or take photos of any failed checks. If required, the operator has the option of emailing the completed checks to, for example, the safety manager or site management. Checks can be completed offline if necessary and will be submitted once an online connection is established. These checks are then visible to act upon and take the necessary action in the LiveLink Fleet portal, where useful documents, such as quick-start guides, are also available for the operator to view along with safety and inspection certificates.

LiveLink Fleet

The all-new LiveLink Fleet portal is designed to allow the user to quickly see the current status of and required actions for their machine fleet. It is targeted specifically at owner operators, fleet managers and rental companies to provide a value-added offering to the customer.

LiveLink Fleet helps eliminate the headache of managing multiple-brand machine fleets, allowing customers to collate and make sense of data in a single place by integrating external telematics data feeds from other equipment manufacturers and aftermarket telematics providers. The platform provides the user with easily understood machine health alerts, safety alerts (including failed checks supplied by the JCB Operator app, and service alerts). Health alerting is limited to critical items only that have been opened within the last one-hour period. These alerts are designed to be easily understood by both operators and fleet management, for example, low fuel levels, air-filter blockages and water in fuel.  

JCB say customers can also directly engage with JCB dealers from the LiveLink Fleet portal.  Features include requesting assistance, such as a technical enquiry or urgent action in the event of downtime, and requesting a service on a machine. The relevant dealer will then get in touch to book in a service at a convenient date and time. Customers are also able to improve profitability through a selection of analytics data. This includes machine hours, time spent in idle and fuel usage. Sustainability and environmental targets can also be met with the ability to provide carbon emissions data.

Through LiveLink Fleet, the user is able to link seamlessly to a variety of JCB systems through a single login. If more detailed telematics information is required on a specific model, the user can select to link to the LiveLink Telematics portal. Similarly, the user can access and order parts and view technical information such as operator manuals. Documents such as safety and maintenance inspections can be uploaded for specific models if required, to complement the JCB-supplied quick-start guides and declaration of conformity.

Non-telemetry-related assets can also be added into LiveLink Fleet if required, such as machines and attachments, allowing documents to be attached and checks to be performed in the JCB Operator app. The LiveLink Fleet portal can also be customized by changing colours and incorporating organization logos if required.

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