Effective warranty management is an important and vital process to a fleet of any size and for almost any type of asset or unit. In most fleet management environments, without a platform or process to control warranties, savings or cost containment could easily go unrealized.
Fleet Managers are typically unable to fully realize how much of their operational expenses can be recovered through an effective warranty process. By adding one module to your TMT Fleet Maintenance or Service Center solution, you can integrate a warranty management program to recover and claim what would
otherwise be unrecognized savings. You can reap the benefits almost immediately and continue to experience rewards long after this module has paid for itself.
Think Beyond Bumper-To-Bumper, Think Road-To-Roof
In most instances, with the exception of consumable or expendable items, practically every system, assembly or part has some type of warranty coverage. Carefully go over the warranty documentation provided and if it is not readily available, insist on the information from the supplying vendors or dealers to understand items that might have been previously overlooked.
The key to managing this effectively, can be broken down by first identifying what types of coverages are available and understanding how to apply these to your current fleet or customers. The TMT base system, combined with the Warranty Module enables you to account for all of the following provisions or warranty types of coverages:
- OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer Warranty. Coverage from the dealer.
- Supplier Extended Coverage – on systems, assemblies or parts covered directly by the manufacturer. Claims may be supported by the manufacturer or via a dealership relationship connection, typically beyond basic OEM coverages for specific items.
- Aftermarket Extended Warranties – programs offered by dealers to extend similar OEM type of coverage for selected items or blanket overriding policies.
- Part / Component Aftermarket Warranties – Vendor supplied warranties for parts or components purchased and installed by company mechanics.
- Vendor Supplied Items – Aftermarket Warranties for repairs conducted by outside service providers.
This is where the TMT Warranty Module and features work for you. Provisions are in place to identify and structure warranty parameters to maximize your opportunities for success. TMT makes effective use of VMRS coding (Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards ) to build the specifications for your units or other assets, and readily identify the systems, assemblies and parts that are covered by the different warranty programs.
You are able to easily identify the start and duration of coverages for your units or assets, in a controlled platform. Taking this a step further, conditions of what constitutes coverage terms, can be defined by a combination of three different variables, such as: time, odometer/kilometers or hours. This is similar to your basic standard automotive warranty – 36 months or 36,000 miles, where TMT allows for one more, such as 2000 hours on top of that. Essentially, you can utilize any interval or meter reading that can be recorded, which defines the conditional duration of the policy life cycle for warranties.
As repairs are being scheduled or conducted, TMT provides interactive alerts at several levels, for possible warranty parameters that can be utilized to determine the course of action that should be pursued, depending on the type of warranty that applies to the unit or asset covered and the conditions or protocols that have to be adhered to by the supplying vendor of the policy in effect.
TMT further provides reporting methods to identify when warranties are about to expire and allows you to act upon each type. The parts catalog provides methods to not only identify warranties by time, odometer and hour meters, but also to predetermine the expected lifecycle of an item and to pursue policy adjustments with your suppliers to help you find additional savings.
Are Suppliers or Manufacturers betting against your company?
The thought that suppliers or manufacturers are working in their best interests, may seem true to some, but keep in mind that it is really your responsibility to ensure that you structure a solid warranty recovery process. Supplying vendors/manufacturers or dealerships are generally more than willing to support and provide reimbursements, replacement parts or some form of compensation, provided that you follow the basic conditions for each type of coverage as it relates to the failures your fleet experiences.
The TMT Warranty Module enables you to create individual or base Claims Pricing Tables for every supplying vendor, which provides the ability to define what is reimbursable based on part or component costs, labor rates, minimum hour charges, outside vendor repairs and any other possible fees or taxes that could be incurred to support a warrantable repair.
The module also allows for seeking out potential warranty claims that might have been overlooked during the repair process. Repair orders are reviewed and the applied warranty parameters can create warranty claims. Direct claims can be created on demand or repair orders are converted into warranty claims that can generate a Universal Claims Warranty form that is widely accepted and with provisions for preauthorization, references and details related to the reasons for the repair. This provides the user with a solid basis to submit and manage claims, categorize the status of each, apply payments and report on the progress of the overall warranty process.
This takes the difficult manual processing of warranty claims and converts it into an effective and efficient format to better utilize your time and committed resources. Warranty claims management requires a dedicated commitment, proper staffing and training along with establishing internal protocols. TMT has highly experienced implementers to guide you in utilizing not just the warranty module, but methods to start or expand your warranty management process.
Warranty Structure in TMT
The master file records in TMT provide the basis for identifying warranties as these relate to parts or components, units profiles (assets), vendors profiles and the addition of the Warranty Module expands this to the claims pricing tables and the management of claims. This is what starts the overall structure and supports the cycle.
Mechanics are active participants in this recovery process. They can diagnose the failure, make notes on the repair order and will have notifications of parts or components that are warrantable and will be prompted to generate warranty tags to support the claim process. This is accomplished by using the Interactive Workstation, provided by TMT, which is an electronic repair order module. Management has active resources at their disposal to view alerts for potential warranties at the start of any repair order, in conjunction with the mechanics efforts.
This data transfers over to the claims form, to further support the process. Images or photos of failures can also be included, which in some instances may be a requirement for filing warranty claims. Mechanics can utilize mobile devices enabled with cameras to attach photos to the repairs order they are working on or management can add these directly as well.
Strong Vendor Relationships Jumpstart Your Claims
Every warranty program has a specific claims policy or procedures, so it is important to discovery all details necessary to manage your claims. Following procedures makes everything easier. Vendors can be confident you know what they need. With the TMT Warranty Module, claims are less likely to be denied or delayed. The result will be a smoother process with a faster turnaround of payments.
Think of Warranty Recovery as a Revenue Stream
TMW can guide you through the 9 key steps to successful warranty recovery.
- Commit to warranty recovery
- Assign a dedicated team to manage it
- Establish open communications with all warranty vendors
- Know the compliance requirements of every warranty program
- Establish a clear protocol for filing claims
- Keep accurate, real-time warranty records as part of an up-to-date asset service history
- Track status of every claim; re-file if necessary
- Be aware of all warranty terms and expiration dates
- Claim all the reimbursements to which your company is entitled
Keep in mind that in many instances, you have already paid for warranty protection. It is built into the price of the unit or assets, and the component or parts. Warranty reimbursement is real money that is waiting for you to claim it and you have a right to do so.
You owe it to your business to make the most of every dollar spent. But you cannot do it alone. The TMT Warranty Module from TMW provides you the technology to manage and capture warranty reimbursement dollars on all of your units or assets. Start the process today.
(Sergio Ramirez is an experienced Regional Sales Engineer for TMW Systems.)