Make Sure You Are Capturing Every Warranty Dollar
By Joseph Evangelist
Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange
If your fleet is not capturing all eligible warranty dollars, you are essentially leaving money on the table. There is no doubt that OEMs have a warranty factor baked into the cost of every asset purchased as there is anticipation that there will be a certain amount of product failure during the warranty period.
Call it the law of averages. While you may think the recovery process is simple, the reality is it takes a team effort from the shop floor to the warranty administrator to make sure you get the reimbursement to which you are entitled.
It starts with recognizing if a particular failure is covered under the stated warranty policy, or is there a failure beyond the warranty period which mirrors, or is an extension of warranty repairs during the warranty period. These types of repairs, often referred to as “progressive damage,” are often covered by the OEMs under “policy,” but claim documentation and preparation are key.
If you handle your warranty repairs in-house, your warranty program must follow the same policies and procedures as those used by the authorized dealers of the manufacturer in question. Each truck manufacturer has its own policies and procedures and they can vary both in terms of time, miles and/or componentry. That said, if you operate a mixed fleet, you will need to make sure your staff is trained on the proper warranty process for each OEM.
A good place to start is by having a centralized, qualified and dedicated warranty administrator that can oversee warranties across your entire fleet, whether at one location or many locations. Additionally, it is important that the rest of your team play an integral role in the warranty process as well.
Your shop technicians need to be trained to be extremely detailed in their repair order narratives so that no questions arise about the troubleshooting procedure used to identify the problem and the steps followed to complete the repair. The 4Cs — complaint, cause, correction, comments — are critically important when writing up a repair if you plan to submit a warranty claim.
Repairs need to be initially assessed keeping warranties and all prior repairs in mind. Not that every repair will end up being a warrantable repair, but if you start with the attitude that each repair has a component of warranty potentially associated with it, chances are you’ll have more success. Setting your maintenance system to flag repairs made during their respective warranty periods is helpful.
In addition to properly trained techs doing complete write-ups, each shop needs a dedicated warranty area for removed parts to be retained for possible return to the manufacturer. Shop personnel are required to record/tag parts removed from vehicles and use proper forms when returning those parts for warranty reimbursement. The removed part and its associated paperwork must be kept together.
Again, each OEM sets its own specific parameters for returning parts. It is important to understand these from the get-go. Parts for warranty return need to be tracked in your system software. Make sure the software you use can accommodate differences in manufacturers’ requirements.
Finally, don’t overlook manufacturer recalls as part of your warranty administration. When a manufacturer issues a recall, the repair must be performed to avoid an accident or injury. While a Recall Notice will be sent from the manufacturer, it is the fleet’s responsibility to identify the vehicles that need the Recall Modification.
Develop a procedure that allows you to complete recall repairs in a timely manner and then submit the appropriate warranty claim for both parts and labor.