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Steering into Tomorrow: Ashok Leyland Accelerates on the Digital Expressway

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Ashok Leyland’s digital initiatives are a testament to the company’s commitment for enhancing customer experiences, streamlining operations, and leading the charge in digital innovation within the commercial vehicle manufacturing industry. These multifaceted initiatives have not not only driven efficiency and customer satisfaction but have also ensured that Ashok Leyland remains at the forefront of technological advancements in transportation, says Vinod G, CIO, Ashok Leyland

Some edited excerpts:

Can you take us through some of the recent digital initiatives?
Ashok Leyland’s digital journey has always been customer-centric, focusing on enhancing the overall customer experience. Recognizing the importance of customer-facing applications, we have introduced several innovative solutions to enrich the interactions between their customers and the brand.

One of the standout initiatives is the “A L Care” application, which serves as a one-stop shop for Ashok Leyland’s valued customers. This application is packed with a multitude of features that empower customers to monitor their vehicles’ health and track their performance. Additionally, the A L Care application hosts a knowledge center, offering valuable insights for fleet operators to optimize their vehicle management. Document repositories for licenses, RC books, and more are readily accessible through the application, simplifying administrative tasks.

Acknowledging the vital role that drivers play in the transportation industry, Ashok Leyland has introduced a feature that allows customers to request drivers through the application. Leveraging their extensive network of driver training institutes, Ashok Leyland ensures that drivers are equipped with the necessary skills to excel in their roles. This initiative streamlines the process of onboarding drivers, making it more efficient and seamless.

In our pursuit of innovation, Ashok Leyland has recently launched the “Re-AL” digital marketplace, a platform dedicated to used vehicles. This platform not only caters to the vehicle purchase phase but also extends its support to the crucial aspect of vehicle disposal. The introduction of Re-AL marks a significant step forward in the digitalization of vehicle sales and disposal processes.

Ashok Leyland has created a digital marketplace with a vast network of trained mechanics across India. This ecosystem serves as a hub for various ecosystem players to access Ashok Leyland’s products and services. The interconnectivity offered by the digital ecosystem has significantly expanded the company’s digital footprint, facilitating enhanced market coverage and more profound customer engagement. Understanding the significance of local engagement, Ashok Leyland has adopted a hyper-local digital marketing strategy. This approach is tailored to cater to the unique needs and preferences of customers in specific regions, ensuring a personalized and effective marketing campaign.

Ashok Leyland has also introduced a digital loyalty program, which allows customers to accumulate points through various interactions with Ashok Leyland’s applications, such as vehicle purchases, servicing, and part acquisitions. These points can then be redeemed within the digital ecosystem, offering customers added value and rewards for their loyalty.
To improve the availability of spare parts and streamline the customer and mechanic experience, we have introduced an intelligent parts recommendation tool. This digital innovation ensures that spare parts are readily accessible, reducing downtime and enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Within the company’s internal operations, Ashok Leyland has implemented robotic process automation (RPA) to optimize efficiency. For instance, vendor invoice payments are now seamlessly managed through RPA, resulting in a significant reduction in payment processing time. These efficiency enhancements contribute to a more agile and responsive operation.
Ashok Leyland’s commitment to embracing the digital future extends to the adoption of Industry 4.0 principles. By incorporating cutting-edge technologies, the company is revolutionizing vehicle design and manufacturing processes, paving the way for a more efficient and sustainable industry.

In line with global trends, Ashok Leyland is actively pursuing sustainability efforts. Notably, the company is making significant strides in transitioning towards a paperless office environment. Presently, approximately 60% of the company’s documents are digital, aligning with environmental responsibility and modern corporate practices.

Ashok Leyland’s computer vehicle platform leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to harness the data generated by connected vehicles. This data-driven approach allows the company to continuously improve customer experiences and optimize vehicle performance. AI-driven analytics are key to their ability to drive innovation in this sector.

Which of these initiatives have made a huge impact?
Most of the digital initiatives have made a good impact on the customer side as well internally. For example, AL Care is being used by more than 2 lakh customers. Similarly, the iAlert connected vehicle platform is now witnessing a lot of ‘pull’ than the ‘push’ earlier. Industry 4.0 initiatives are helping us improve our internal processes with respect to factors such as reliability, quality and assurance. Our e diagnostics platform has helped customers to visualize the issues with their vehicles. A customer can download the application, connect to the vehicle and see the errors which are there in the vehicle. It also gives us, step by step, guidance on how to solve a problem. So these are some of the things which have been in demand. And this is not only for the customers. For our mechanics, instead of investing heavily on tools, they can use a smartphone and then diagnose a vehicle quickly. So these are the some of the impact areas.

Can you share your view on the usage of generative AI within your company?
Today, Generative AI is an exciting area, and we have started our journey. As of today, Generative AI is used more on the unstructured data where you have huge volumes of volumes of data. We have taken some projects which are focused more on how we can use leverage it for our customer facing applications. For example, the service manual. We are putting other service manuals on the generative AI platform. Instead of browsing through lots of pages of a service manual, it will curate, and then we can ask specific questions. We see huge potential for Generative AI for customer facing applications. Tomorrow, it can even help a customer in making a purchase decision by helping him or her in comparing the model, choose the right model while giving options of insurance. It can generate information and solve a lot of queries for end customers which can ultimately help the customer in making a better choice.

Can you give us an overview into the future?
At the heart of our digital journey lies a commitment to enhancing customer experiences. By focusing on process automation, the company aims to streamline operations, reduce friction, and deliver greater value to its customers. These efforts are intended to create a more efficient and user-friendly environment.

In the era of data-driven decision-making, Ashok Leyland recognizes the significance of connected vehicles. With an impressive 1.5 lakh vehicles already connected to our platform, the company is placing considerable emphasis on this area. An “uptime solution center” equipped with AI-powered algorithms is central to this effort. The goal is to transition from mere vehicle diagnostics to prognostics and predictive maintenance. By harnessing data from connected vehicles, the company can anticipate maintenance needs, minimizing downtime and ensuring optimal vehicle performance.

The company is working on building a comprehensive ecosystem around connected vehicles, involving all stakeholders, including customers, channel partners, dealers, and the community. This initiative envisions a collaborative environment where participants can join forces to co-create solutions and products. Ashok Leyland aims to connect the dots between various applications and systems, fostering synergy and innovation. This open digital system approach is poised to set a new industry standard, enhancing engagement and problem-solving.

Embracing Industry 4.0 principles, Ashok Leyland is adopting cutting-edge technologies to revolutionize vehicle design and manufacturing processes. This strategic move is geared towards greater efficiency and sustainability. With a focus on digitizing documents and eliminating paper waste, the company aligns with modern corporate practices and environmental responsibility.

In an age where data protection and cybersecurity are paramount, we will be unwavering in our commitment to safeguard sensitive information. The company continually upgrades its security measures to protect both its assets and its customers. In an environment of evolving digital regulations, the company is proactively positioning itself to remain compliant and secure.

In summary, our digital journey is defined by its unwavering commitment to customer-centricity, process optimization, and the integration of emerging technologies. By emphasizing connectivity, predictive maintenance, and collaboration, the company seeks to lead the way in the digital transformation of the transportation industry. As Ashok Leyland’s digital future unfolds, we promise to deliver unparalleled value to our customers while setting new industry benchmarks.

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