Standing Still is Not an Option – Consistent Diagnostics in After-Sales Service

By Julian Erber, Product Manager at Softing Automotive Electronics GmbH

Global after-sales service networks are available for vehicles and working machinery. The aim is to reduce expensive downtimes and even longer-term failures and thus lower the total cost of ownership (TCO). The focus is on offering highly dynamic, efficient maintenance and repair services. This places special demands on tester availability and secure data exchange. To ensure this, a consistent diagnostic concept and the use of a powerful repair shop tester are essential.

Diagnostic Requirements in After-Sales Service

When it comes to maintenance, it is important to process service plans efficiently or to replace parts in good time. In the event of a repair, mechanics or service technicians on site have to locate the fault as quickly as possible, decide how to eliminate it and carry out the repair, and ultimately verify the success of their actions. The most important diagnostic functions for such tasks include: Vehicle identification, error memory operations, parameterization/coding, ECU exchange and programming. Depending on the error symptoms, different diagnostic approaches – ECU-, symptom- or function-based – should be possible. The actual repair is performed using instructions with supporting graphics, videos or web content. The contents are usually not static: New series and ECU variants therefore require regular updates. A powerful backend is essential for updating software and diagnostic content. Access rights must also be managed as not every user is allowed to perform all functions. So the challenge is to provide repair shops worldwide with ECU- and problem-specific repair procedures in their own language in a timely manner, taking security aspects into account.

Maximum Efficiency through Dedicated Workflow

The Softing TDX toolbox meets the requirements of after-sales service and enables the independent creation and maintenance of a diagnostic tester in all phases of the DESIGN – MANAGE – WORK workflow. The DESIGN component Softing helps users to realize new operating concepts for the service tester. The user interface can be freely designed until a proprietary corporate design has been completely implemented. In an intuitive development environment, underlying processes, whether guided troubleshooting or pure testing, are designed and additional information, such as repair instructions, exploded drawings and websites, is integrated. This is also where languages are defined. Reports are also generated and adapted. MANAGE is taken care of by the administrator tool Softing TDX.admin, with which roles and user rights can be specified. Program and project functions are activated and managed user-specifically via a central database. In addition, role keys and certificates are distributed and maintained automatically. Updates of the software and diagnostic content are also controlled here. WORK unites all advantages in one repair shop tool, Softing TDX.workshop. It offers mechanics and service technicians optimal support from guided troubleshooting to ECU exchange/update. In line with the defined roles, only authorized persons can access specific project and program functions. The tool offers automated updates as a special feature. Encryption ensures that content is always protected from unauthorized access.

Softing TDX offers efficient tool support for the implementation of a consistent diagnostic concept in after-sales service. The focus is on fast, targeted maintenance and repair in order to reduce costs while increasing availability and customer satisfaction and ultimately protecting investments for years to come.