FEATURE | Apollo reveals new commercial fleet service model

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Apollo Tyres has introduced a new servitization model – Avolve – to offer customized solutions for commercial vehicle fleet operators to enhance their operational efficiencies. With the changing dynamics in India’s trucking sector due to improving road infrastructure, Apollo has identified a need to introduce a service-driven model to aid commercial fleet operators in achieving sustained logistics cost savings.

“The way we interact with the customers is changing. Traditional episodic encounters are being replaced with continuous personalized interactions. And this, along with the advancement in technology, has given birth to the product-as-a-service (PaaS) model,” says Satish Sharma (above), president, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Apollo Tyres.

“For us, this is an optimal combination or blend of products and services to create new value propositions for customers, to increase their operating efficiencies, and to generate revenue for ourselves,” adds Sharma.

The customer-centric business model is designed around customer needs and fleet maturity. It will have a digital base – an app – where the digitization of data related to the trucks/fleets takes place, regarding tire lifecycle management and associated analytics. An expert will be assigned to fleets to help with data capturing and to advise them on basis data and visual inspections. The third aspect of the model is an annual maintenance contract (AMC) of tires, followed by a pay-per-use model. “Ideally,” notes Sharma, “we would like to take our customers through these stages of evolution.”

Services for fleet operators
This mobility service offers a range of offerings for customers to choose from, and service will be charged on a per-tire basis, as per the service model selected. Customers can pick the basic ‘Digital Edge’ – which is a digitized tire management application, to get end-to-end tire data and analytics, to make informed decisions for higher yields and potential costs savings. Selecting ‘Expert Advisory Services’ services means that Avolve provides tire experts who offer information useful in selecting optimal solutions and maintenance practices for the customer. ‘Anywhere Connected Services’ offers preventative maintenance services via India’s certified Apollo Tyres service network, providing enhanced uptime and safety and increasing profitability.

Mobility services solutions market expected to grow
Apollo estimates that, of trucks currently operating in India, 10-12% are using some form of mobility service solution. By FY 28, Apollo expects adoption to surge by nearly four times, to 40% of around 1,250,000 trucks. Apollo is targeting provision to 30% of these new mobility service solutions adopters.

“We are looking at onboarding fleets with 30+ trucks with them,” says Sharma. “From approximately 2,000 trucks currently, we are targeting 200,000 trucks in the next four-to-five years. We are targeting onboarding around 28,000 trucks by the end of FY24, with each truck having, on average, 10 tires.”

It is too early, Sharma explains, to estimate how much a fleet operator saves when opting for any one of the three individual service models, due to rising fuel and tire prices. “Having said that,” he adds, “our pilot run with the trucks onboarded suggests that we have been able to improve the operational efficiencies of the fleet operators by 10-15%.”

The Avolve service is based on digital technologies. Cloud technologies and the IoT is being used for storing and managing fleet data, AI and machine learning helps with data-driven decision-making for fleet owners, while sensors and 5G-enabled communications transmit data from the tires to the vehicle and to the Apollo service network.

“We have partnered with different suppliers and vendors for different digital technological requirements of this service,” says Sharma. “The app for digitization of data has been developed by one vendor, while the cloud services for storage of data is being managed by another. For sensors, we have a different vendor.”

The application has been developed by Haryana-based startup KT Telematics Solutions, and will digitize truck/fleet data and facilitate tire lifecycle management.

Apollo has rolled out the service across India, following a successful pilot scheme that was met with positive feedback. “With the kind of comprehensive services on offer, the fleet operators, our primary target, are extremely excited, and have shown willingness to get onboard,” says Sharma.

The service will be offered to fleet owners and operators via Apollo service partners – the CV Zones – across the country. The trucks will need to be driven to these CV Zones for the service. Apollo opened the first CV Zone for commercial vehicle operators in 2011.

“We have a mix of workforce for this service business model,” explains Sharma. “While some have been hired fresh and trained as per the specific technical requirements of this business, a few existing tire experts have also been brought in. The workforce is spread across the country to service fleet operators.”

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