Launching this month, Toromont Connect (TC) is a new application specially conceived for operations managers, fleet operators and Toromont representatives that literally puts everyone involved in the maintenance of equipment on the same page. The application’s aim is to optimize efficiency in the field. For Doug Wilson, VP Digital Services at Toromont Cat, “It’s a practical, efficient means for our customers to access information, receive notifications and communicate with us throughout their day, from anywhere and from any device.”
With the TC app, functionality such as fleet status, work order management and parts ordering will now be available in real time. Conceived to meet customers’ real needs throughout their day, the Toromont Cat app is inspired by different industry applications like those from Caterpillar. “We ran our initial ideas by Toromont’s senior managers to help establish our priorities,” Wilson explains. “Once we had the basic platform nailed down, we initiated a pilot project with a number of customers and commercial product support reps.” In light of user comments, Toromont team was able to hone the app’s functionality. “It was no surprise that some of our ideas were a bit off the mark,” Wilson admits, “but the positive response from our customers and reps helped us refine and gave a rise to a whole range of new development opportunities.”
To develop this kind of application took a number of steps, starting with the recognition of Toromont customer needs and the requirements of data collection. As Wilson underscores, “Toromont Connect is essentially a complete, bidirectional interactive tool for users. A relatively simple functionality in the app conceals the huge amount of work that went into it, specifically for simplifying the process and making sure that all the data circulates in the right direction.” The team had to work on the processes, which also implied making modifications to systems and collaborating with folks internally. “And it took some time to come to understand all that,” he adds. Ultimately, it was about change management, where we had to find the sweet spot between getting the app out into the market as quickly as possible and establishing all the automation required in the background. “With most of the back-end elements in place, future functionality will be much easier to implement.”
Even if the team had no shortage of ideas for developing the app, every characteristic and function was carefully assessed to make sure it remained intuitive and easy to use. “We initially planned on integrating weather and traffic data to help fleet managers plan their days, but when we talked to some of them during the pilot phase, they said they already had applications that covered that,” says Wilson. “From the beginning, it was critical for us to develop the app from the customer’s point of view. We wanted to be sure we were creating a tool that brought real value to their work.” According to Wilson, now that the app’s fundamentals are in place, regular updates should happen quickly. Stay tuned!