Navistar says it is taking customer responsiveness to a new level, recently launching its Custom Engineering group to make modifications and add unique features to many of its heavy and severe service trucks. Navistar says its Custom Engineering group takes a close look at an assortment of customer requests, with each project receiving a timely, thorough analysis; the cross-functional team develops a solid business case that examines the costs and resources required to meet the customer’s needs.
“Every change to our trucks comes at a cost,” says Tom Smith, director of Custom Engineering for Navistar, based in Warrenville, Ill. “However, by taking a strategic approach to meeting unique requests, closely analyzing potential modifications and providing the appropriate engineering assistance, we can deliver a higher level of support for our customers.”
Navistar says it continues to be focused on gaining the insight of its customers; during the last several years, the company’s design engineers have conducted hundreds of interviews and focus groups with drivers, service technicians and fleet managers, feedback that has helped shape the aerodynamic and fuel-efficient International ProStar and the groundbreaking design and comfort of the International LoneStar. According to the company, customer input has helped refine a broad range of features that deliver improved driver comfort and satisfaction, simplified and efficient maintenance, best-in-class fuel economy and low operational costs.
“We have a highly motivated organization made up of manufacturing, purchasing, engineering, sales and others focused on customer requests that fall outside of our normal product development processes,” says Jim Hebe, Navistar’s senior vice president of North American sales operations. “We’re able to take on these projects quickly and effectively, making us responsive to our customers and easy to do business with.”
During the last several months, Navistar says its Custom Engineering Group has helped develop several truck options and enhancements such as air disc brakes, adaptive cruise control systems, electronics, controls and interior cabinetry, as well as other customer- and vocational-specific options. Following design and engineering work from the Custom Engineering Group, changes and modifications are performed online at Navistar’s assembly plants or offline at the company’s nearby truck specialty centers (TSCs).