MAN Truck & Bus
People are increasingly being drawn into major cities and conurbations. The United Nations estimates that three quarters of the world population will live in cities by 2050 – currently it is around 55 per cent. Business and industry are now developing beyond the borders of countries and continents. „Production facilities, transport networks and residential areas are today being built even in remote regions of the world", says Dr Martin Nicklis, construction industry expert at corporate consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Mega trends like urbanisation and globalisation are responsible for this boom. Demand is particularly high in Asia. Just think of mega cities like Chongqing, Tokyo or Jakarta, which currently have over 30 million inhabitants.
Much as construction activity is booming, major projects nowadays contain significantly greater challenges than previously. „A complex construction site involves the participation of a wide variety of contractors and suppliers", explains Dirk Siewert, head of civil engineering and construction technology at the Federation of the German Construction Industry. Problems arise when planning truck transports, for example, especially to and from construction sites in major cities. Traffic is usually dense and there is insufficient storage space. „Trucks sometimes drive for a while in a circle around the construction site", says Nicklis. „Only when truck drivers receive a signal from the dispatcher by phone can they go to site and deliver or collect their cargo." Another problem is that construction projects are planned months and sometimes years in advance. „Building contractors have to know things in advance, including any impact the future traffic situation will have on their logistics and tender price calculation", adds Dirk Siewert.
The construction industry increasingly relies on digitisation to achieve maximum planning ability. Building information modelling (BIM) is an important component in digital strategy and is designed to enable more predictable planning, completion and management of buildings. Virtual traffic modelling and digital fleet management are also increasingly used. This data can help configure transport chains so precisely that the truck arrives at the construction site with virtually no delays. Manufacturers of commercial vehicles are also working intently on the perfect digital logistics.
„There are various systems on the market. But there are no uniform interfaces to enable common management of different construction partners' vehicles and construction machinery from different manufacturers", states Siewert. „These are urgently required, because the entire logistics and efficiency on a construction site are only as good as the weakest link in the chain." MAN trucks are connected via the open, manufacturer-independent RIO platform to help solve this problem. It facilitates unification of journey planning, route optimisation and maintenance management for complex vehicle fleets.
Yet it is also necessary that the next generation of trucks adapts to changing conditions. So they are not just networked, but also weigh less and less. An example: the new 9-litre D15 engine that MAN presented at the Bauma 2019 trade fair. Its low weight makes it ideal for construction transport: around 230 kilograms is added to the payload, which pays off directly when charging is by the quantity of goods delivered – in the case of concrete transport, for example. PwC construction expert Martin Nicklis is also convinced that the intelligent use of vehicles as success factor will play an even greater role in the construction industry of the future. „Even basic materials like gravel are now transported over long distances", he says. „The construction boom means the margins are so high that the increased transport effort is worthwhile."