How Navistar Transformed Trucking Services with IoT Analytics

This is a case discussion of Navistar, a trucking company has made IoT, Analytics and Big Data, its strategy for comeback after heavy financial losses previously.

What is Navistar doing?
Navistar is using analytics software to detect potential maintenance issues that could ground its trucks. The company is using software to curb its downtime costs and even monetize its analytics capabilities in following ways:
  • Gain insights about how trucks perform under a variety of weather conditions
  • To spot engine troubles well before the vehicles break down 
  • Plan to sell its diagnostic analytics as a service to smaller truck fleets.
How is Navistar transforming the trucking service with IoT, Big Data and Analytics?
  • Transforming trucks to data sources: Navistar is analyzing data pulled from OnCommand Connection, a remote diagnostics system the company launched in 2013 to monitor performance of more than 150,000 trucks in Navistar’s fleet, including its own international brand, as well as Freightliner, Kenworth, Peterbilt and Volvo makes. 
  • Capturing the Big Data: The software builds 20 million records a day, measuring fuel economy, geolocations, idle times and potential failures, and recommends corrective measures. Data generated from OnCommand Connection is funneled into Cloudera Hadoop software, a data processing engine that crunches unstructured information, such as text, images and video. The software combs through the data, searching for insights into how the engines operate relative to whether the trucks are hauling cement or Coca-Cola. Then it fires off alerts to the OnCommand system. Given the amount of data he’s pulling from the trucks – 10 of the 20 terabytes the Hadoop system come from OnCommand Connection alone. Navistar engineers also overcome the challenge of normalizing the data it pulls from 13 telematics systems, each of which pulls data at different intervals, and use different descriptions to render data. 
  • Analytics over the big data: Visibility into such rich data enables fleet customers, who can monitor the metrics from smartphones or tablets, to schedule maintenance, reducing unplanned repairs and downtime by as much as 30 percent. 
A Use Case on business benefits
  • Rather than changing oil based on time or miles logged, the diagnostics software will alert customers when new oil is required. 
  • OnCommand Connection helped one Mississippi-based truck company reduce maintenance costs from two to three cents a mile, a significant improvement from the industry average of 12 to 15 cents per mile
Whats next for Navistar
  • Adding GPS Data and parts inventory information to existing Telematics  dara, allowing fleet owners to locate the nearest dealer service location where the necessary part is in stock, as well as service locations that have available technicians and bays. 
  • Monetizing Analytics Capabilities by offering an analytics service that would enable smaller fleets to acquire operational data about their without having to build their own systems.
  • Reprogramming truck engines control modules (ECMs), essentially the on-board computer that control fuel efficiency, track shifting patterns and other performance metrics, over the air. Rather than bring a truck into a shop to be fixed, the trucks' ECMs will be reprogrammed on the fly, similar to the way phone and tablet makers such as Apple push out operating system updates to consumers' devices. Over time, the over-the-air (OTA) capability will provide calibration updates for specific engines and other components, body control module updates and future cellular capabilities. It will also recalibrate engines for new usage patterns, such as mountainous terrains or heavier loads, to make the vehicle more efficient.

Observations and Take-aways from Navistar's use of technology and analytics
The Navistar IoT Analytics case demonstrates how technology and analytics in itself can create a competitive advantage even in a business like trucking. It is also worth noting that the organization is not only using analytics to reduce costs, but also planning to create new revenue streams out of it by offering its capabilities as a service.

Here is an interesting video related to the case.