SAF-HOLLAND already presented the first prototype of the new app at two trade shows last year. “The response has been thoroughly positive, from both trailer manufacturers and repair shop owners,” says Alexandre Charpiot, Vice President Sales Original Equipment and Aftermarket Europe at SAF-HOLLAND. Research is still needed, however, before the technology is ready for everyday use in the repair shop. The real challenge is what is called “tracking.” Tracking ensures that the virtual model of the product in question is placed over the actual object. Reference points cannot be used to determine the spatial location in a repair shop, and dirty or damaged components make tracking much more difficult.
SAF-HOLLAND intends to have all of the remaining technical issues solved over the next two to three years. Even so, the company is already thinking about the apps next phase of expansion where LISA will also be able to have actual conversations with service technicians.
At the end of 2018, SAF-HOLLAND introduced a new content management system for technical documentation so that the company can one day feed digital assistants with the right content. The goal is to migrate 80 percent of all of the relevant documentation to the new system. The rest will be reconstructed based on the new requirements. SAF-HOLLAND already offers digital capabilities to 10,000 service contract partners worldwide – and the plan is to significantly expand this. Today, the company’s partners already have the possibility to order spare parts from any smartphone using the “SH Connect” catalog app via an online portal. SAF-HOLLAND has been right in line with the trend with this app: direct customers, mainly wholesalers and intermediaries, are reporting a steady rise in the number of online orders from repair shops.