MAN Truck & Bus

The five advantages of digitalisation


Digitalisation presents commercial opportunities for freight forwarders. It also simultaneously makes work easier: digitalisation. Networked and automated vehicles promise huge potential and the development of corresponding technologies is in full swing at MAN. Five benefits that are already enabling improved processes today.


Greater efficiency

Fleet management with big data

Connected trucks are helping improve efficiency and economy in the field of transport: Every minute counts when freight is being moved. Manufacturing parts for the next step in the process need to be delivered right on time and delays can bring supply chains to a halt. MAN has developed a range of services to make operations at transport companies as efficient and safe as possible, from servicing and driving to documentation requirements. Essentials, the basic service in MAN’s arsenal of products, allows fleet managers to query vehicle locations, average fuel consumption and average driving speeds at any time and from anywhere. That means that they’re always able to gain an overview – even if their trucks are travelling along motorways thousands of kilometres away.

Geo helps optimise routes. It enables fleet managers to track driving histories up to 25 months into the past. The Geofences function ensures that they’re able to determine when a vehicle arrived at a customer’s premises, for example. Additional points of interest may also be defined. That permits operations to be planned and any delays to be detected early on. Perform, on the other hand, is a digital service that provides data analyses to help drivers continuously improve their style of driving. More economic driving leads to reductions in their employers’ operating costs.

Digital services simplify repetitive and time-consuming tasks, which frees up transport company employees so that they can spend more time on their core tasks. They also enable fleet managers to access all the necessary and compliant tachograph and driver-card data immediately – even while drivers are still on the road. That means that it’s possible for them to meet legal documentation requirements much more efficiently and in a much shorter time than previously.


Easy to use

Just a few clicks to the solution

Connected trucks make drivers’ jobs easier, too: Additional digital programs help drivers focus on safe and efficient driving. That saves time, makes the working day more pleasant and contributes to driver’s bonding with their employers. It already starts with small tasks: The MAN Driver App, for example, allows drivers to document damage and defects to the vehicle easily using a predefined check-list that was developed in conjunction with BG Verkehr, the transport employers’ liability insurance association in Germany. The app also makes it possible for drivers to review driving and rest times, load the manual and view analyses of their driving styles in just a few taps. The entire multimedia system can even be controlled in the new generation of MAN trucks from smartphones and tablets.

The digital services also make the reporting and processing of damage in the event of vehicle breakdowns easier and more efficient. MAN ServiceCare allows documented vehicle damage to be forwarded in real time to fleet managers, who are then able to respond accordingly based on this important information. The service also allows drivers to report breakdowns with the first TÜV-certified breakdown service – MAN Mobile24. Breakdowns can be reported with the help of a function that’s been integrated in the MAN Driver App. It also tells MAN breakdown mechanics exactly where to go before they’re dispatched to the breakdown location. The drivers meanwhile are kept up to date with all the important news by the MAN Driver App, including the estimated time of the breakdown service’s arrival.


Lower costs

Disruptions become avoidable

Connected trucks simplify the management of servicing. Being connected can also help minimise costs caused by repairs and vehicle breakdowns: Fleet managers couldn’t know until now what condition their vehicles were in once the trucks had left the company premises. It was only the drivers who, when out on the road, would notice, for instance, when there was no engine oil, the brake pads were worn or the tyre pressure was too low. Better networking is also able to significantly reduce repair and servicing costs for trucks and save valuable time. MAN Maintenance was developed for the purposes of providing head offices with access to uptodate vehicle data from their own fleets at all times. Current technical problems can be reported directly through data-based remote diagnosis thus allowing service staff to respond immediately. Companies are as a result able to extend their vehicles’ life spans while minimising costs and the time lost due to repairs that would otherwise have been carried out too late.

Besides MAN Maintenance, MAN ServiceCare can also be used to facilitate the maintenance of truck fleets. Forward-looking management allows servicing appointments to be bundled. That saves time and costs.



More innovations

Features over the Air

Connected trucks are open to technological innovations and new features: The transport industry faces a major upheaval: Fewer and fewer drivers are being tasked with transporting more and more goods faster and faster. Technological developments are at the same time causing fundamental upheavals to the industry. That’s why it’s particularly now that trucks need to be futureproof and easy to upgrade to enable them to meet the demands of the future.

MAN has as a consequence developed an entirely new electrical and electronic architecture that allows all sensors, assistants and services to be controlled from a central computer. Thanks to this new development, the digital components in the new generation of trucks cannot only be better adapted to one another – the trucks are also open to new functions and updates. Commercial vehicle manufacturers are thus increasingly turning into softwaredriven conglomerates and are able to adapt their vehicles ever more specifically to the needs of their customers.

The MAN Now vehicle-management function allows the software for the new generation of trucks to be adapted to current requirements – any time and anywhere. Booked over-the-air features are simply uploaded to the vehicle via the mobile Internet. The first available MAN Now function – MAN OnlineTraffic – helps drivers find the best route to get them to their destinations even more efficiently and respond to changes at short notice. MAN OnlineTraffic combines the special requirements of commercial vehicles with real-time traffic data to calculate the fastest and most efficient routes to destinations. MAN MapUpdate – available soon – will be providing drivers with the latest map material, even for individual regions when required. That will mean that it will even be possible to take account of changes made at short notice to roads and road works during route planning.


New Work

Agile working

Digitalisation produces simpler and faster processes. Something that customers also benefit from: The digital transition is not only revolutionising technology in the commercial vehicle industry – but also how it operates. ‘New Work’ – agile ways of thinking, work flows and communication processes – allows ideas to be tested more quickly and produces holistic solutions that are based even more on people’s needs. That also means that customers may be more often involved in the early stages of the development processes and provide their feedback about new products and services. The result is a team effort by customers and suppliers – such as the development of the new generation of MAN trucks.

MAN worked with 742 truck drivers to develop the cab and cockpit for the new series. Drivers know best from their day-to-day work what new features would be useful and what changes they’d appreciate most. It was in this way that the idea to do away with the centre console to create more space in the middle section came about. The new electric parking brake now sits as a switch right next to the steering wheel. Drivers of the new generation of MAN trucks no longer need to climb into the cab to switch the hazard lights on or off or change the manoeuvring lights for example: These are just a few of the many innovations that would not have been realised without the cooperation of the many test users.

This new approach to product development in the digital age means that users are no longer confronted with finished products but are able to contribute their wealth of experience to the creation of the best possible result. It’s a complicated process – but it’s one that’s worth pursuing. Test users travelled many kilometres in simulators and shared their thoughts in workshops. The developers at MAN were also not above looking at home-made solutions and independently realised cockpits. The result is impressive: A product that’s geared to the needs of customers and drivers.

Text   Matea Prgomet


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