Digital Solutions & Services: new department integrates all digital offerings and FleetBoard at Mercedes-Benz Trucks

  • New "Digital Solutions & Services" department at Mercedes-Benz Trucks from 1 April 2016
  • Already 180 000 vehicles on the road with FleetBoard today
  • FleetBoard Vehicle Management: to boost fleet efficiency
  • New: FleetBoard Trailer Management
  • FleetBoard Logistics Management: to optimise logistics processes
  • FleetBoard Driver Management: to assess drivers objectively
  • The technology: TiiRec, DispoPilot.guide, DispoPilot.mobile and FleetBoard Cockpit
  • Android and iOS apps: for companies, subcontractors and drivers
  • Services: Consultants and Trainers provide support for companies
Connectivity – a concept that will drastically change the transport industry in the coming years. In future, further new business ideas and models will be developed based on the wealth of data that a truck is able to send and receive. As a technology leader, Mercedes-Benz Trucks is setting standards here, too. It is with this in mind that the company is setting up the new "Digital Solutions & Services" department, effective 1 April 2016. The management team reports directly to the Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks. The department pools the multitude of existing and planned activities concerning digital applications for Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles – in close cooperation with the other divisions of the company.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks is the pioneer when it comes to commercial-vehicle networking. The subsidiary FleetBoard, which will likewise be an integral part of the new department, has been setting standards in telematics since the year 2000 and is one of the world's most successful and innovative providers in its field. FleetBoard records a wealth of status, tour and position data from the vehicle and sends it to headquarters via mobile network. FleetBoard offers a host of extensive and modular services for fleet, order and driver management, which can be tailored and packaged to customer specifications.
Already 180 000 vehicles on the road with FleetBoard today
Logistics management would be hard to imagine without FleetBoard as the services assist companies with their deployment of drivers, trucks and now also trailers.
It was back in the year 2000 that the first vehicles were equipped with the FleetBoard telematics system and the Vehicle Management service was introduced. Today there are some 180 000 vehicles on the road with FleetBoard.
The Stuttgart-based company currently employs over 200 people and is represented in 40 countries around the world: in Europe, Brazil, China, the Middle East, Russia and South Africa. Mercedes-Benz's extensive sales and service network means it is also possible to offer support in many other countries, too.
But FleetBoard doesn't just network Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Other vehicle brands can also be fitted with the FleetBoard hardware at any time and easily integrated into the logistics management system, which means that even companies with mixed fleets can keep track of their entire fleet at all times.
FleetBoard Vehicle Management: to boost fleet efficiency
FleetBoard Vehicle Management is the ideal instrument for substantially boosting fleet efficiency. FleetBoard supplies the company with a wealth of objective data from all vehicles in the fleet – whatever their brand. Mileage, fuel consumption, fluid levels or the next maintenance date – all the vehicle-specific information the customer requires.
Mercedes-Benz vehicles benefit from FleetBoard even more as professional Maintenance Management extends the maintenance interval to up to 150 000 km. In addition to this, Mercedes-Benz Bank offers special FleetBoard truck insurance based on the driving-style grade. The insurance premium is based on the intensity of usage and the driving style, and it is recalculated each month individually for each vehicle.
An interface in the vehicle, the CAN bus, allows the on-board computer to access the truck's electronic systems and send vehicle, driver and order data to the FleetBoard server, where all important information is stored and made available to the user via the internet on the FleetBoard Cockpit desktop – always adapted to the particular customer's requirements.
Data security is assured: high-performance computers in the European Data Center at Daimler AG in Stuttgart guarantee secure processing of the data and encrypted transfer of this data 24/7. FleetBoard's data security is on a par with the high standard used in banks.
New: FleetBoard Trailer Management
FleetBoard Trailer Management is a new and fully integral part of the Vehicle Management. For the first time, the dispatcher receives information about the trailer together with the truck and driver data, all available at a glance in the FleetBoard Cockpit.
The Trailer ID service shows the position of the trailer and its coupling status. The tractor unit recognises whether a trailer is attached, and identifies it by its vehicle identification number (VIN) via the electronic braking system. The data are transferred to the company together with the information from the tractor unit, using the truck's onboard computer. This means that the location of the trailer is known, and it can be assured that the truck is towing the correct trailer, for example.
The even more extensive second service, Trailer Data, draws on the data from the individual semitrailer's specific trailer telematics, enabling a wealth of information to be sent to the FleetBoard Cockpit, such as the temperature recording from inside a refrigerated trailer or the status of the refrigeration unit. It is also possible to send technical information on the trailer such as the tyre inflation pressures or brake wear levels.
FleetBoard will initially cooperate with the telematics systems of Europe's two leading trailer manufacturers, Schmitz Cargobull and Krone. Expansion to include other providers is also underway.
FleetBoard Mapping and Track&Trace: position and route tracking
The FleetBoard Mapping and FleetBoard Track&Trace services report the truck's location on a digital map and also use the GPS trace to track its route. Customised Points of Interest such as own branches or customer locations can be displayed.
FleetBoard Service and Uptime: to optimise maintenance and troubleshooting
FleetBoard Service provides the fleet with current information regarding the technical status of the vehicles. These data can likewise be sent to the service partner, i.e. the haulier's workshop. Be it brake wear, tyre pressure, upcoming scheduled maintenance work or a projection of load-dependent maintenance times – FleetBoard Service enables optimum planning of maintenance dates and increases vehicle availability.
In the event of a breakdown, the FleetBoard Uptime service can be used to send concise diagnostic information to the breakdown assistance technicians at Mercedes-Benz Service24h simply by pressing a button on the dashboard. The Mercedes-Benz Service24h crew can therefore make sure the necessary parts are on board before driving out to fix the problem.
FleetBoard Logistics Management: to optimise logistics processes
Logistics Management allows intelligent networking of logistics processes thanks to FleetBoard.
By means of standard workflows, FleetBoard depicts numerous typical transport tasks such as dispatching of tours and orders, order processing, loading, exchanging of pallets and other loading aids, unloading with status messages or the entry of waiting times.
In the case of company and industry-specific processes, too, FleetBoard can tailor each telematics solution to the particular customer requirements and, if requested, link it to the existing or in-house IT landscape. For this the company can call upon FleetBoard Consultants who, at the start of the collaboration, conduct a specific analysis based on the company's processes and requirements and then work together with the customer to flexibly configure services and processes. The processes are then tested extensively in a pilot phase. Finally the Consultants provide support when the concept is rolled out in the company and offer customers intensive and on-going training on how to use the system. This consultancy service is now available in six languages.
The FleetBoard Cockpit enables dispatchers to keep track of the transport orders and call up the status of the particular order quickly and easily: whether the goods have already been loaded, when the vehicle is due to arrive at the customer, whether the goods are damaged, how much longer the driver is allowed to drive and much more.
Drivers likewise benefit from Logistics Management. Communication via the DispoPilot.guide makes it easy to report waiting times or delays due to traffic congestion, signalling an end to having to deal with this on the phone, which has always been an error-prone process. Any damage to the goods can be documented as the DispoPilot.guide has a photo function. In addition it is possible to process orders reliably using predefined workflows and ensure transparency to the dispatcher.
FleetBoard Driver Management: to assess drivers objectively
The lead actor in truck transport sits behind the wheel: it is the driver who is responsible for safe and economical transport. This is where FleetBoard Driver Management comes in, registering and assessing the driving style, providing the driver with tips on how to handle the truck and advising the company of any necessary training. Another important aspect is the Time Management, namely precise monitoring of the drivers' driving and rest times.
The FleetBoard Performance Analysis records vehicle speeds, brake usage, accelerator pedal movements, stops and times the vehicle is stationary with the engine running and then assesses this information in relation to the difficulty of the conditions based on the average uphill gradient and the vehicle weight. In the case of new-generation Mercedes-Benz trucks, transmission mode usage, Eco Roll usage frequency, AdBlue consumption and use of the Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) are also recorded.
Based on factors relevant to wear and fuel consumption such as anticipatory driving, vehicle speed changes and braking characteristics, FleetBoard calculates the driving style grade – whatever the truck brand or model series. This grade allows an objective assessment of the driver. Companies can use it as a basis for detecting improvement potential and offering their drivers specific training with the help of FleetBoard Training. The Performance Analysis is additionally a platform for a fair driver bonus scheme. Graphic displays make it easier to interpret the received data.
So what may be perceived as controlling is actually motivating, resulting in a substantial reduction in fuel costs. Customers are reporting savings of up to 15 percent. In the annually staged "Driver’s League" contest, drivers from 21 countries compete against one another, the aim being to achieve the highest driving style grade.
The FleetBoard Messaging service ensures uncomplicated communication between company and driver thanks to the driver tablet DispoPilot.guide or the smartphone app DispoPilot.app. Dispatchers and drivers can send each other messages, while the company can send geocoded addresses for navigation and in this way avoid wasted journeys. Estimated arrival times can also be determined.
Time Management: tours, drivers and documentation
Time is money – not least when it comes to tour planning, driver deployment and documentation requirements. Here FleetBoard Time Management provides support with three services.
The Time Management calculates the individual driver's driving and rest times and then issues updated forecasts for remaining driving time, meaning that tours can be planned to take account of statutory requirements.
The Mass Memory Download makes it possible to automatically read out the digital tachograph data, in consideration of legal obligations, from the comfort of the company office. FleetBoard also takes care of data archiving in line with statutory requirements.
Driver Card Downloads involve remote reading out of the driver's card, which is initiated simply by pushing a button inside the truck. The data transfer takes place regardless of the vehicle's current location. In this case, too, the statutory archiving requirements are met as FleetBoard stores the data on its server for at least twelve months. In addition to this, companies can download the data for analysis purposes
The technology: TiiRec, DispoPilot.guide, DispoPilot.mobile and FleetBoard Cockpit
At the heart of the FleetBoard technology is a telematic platform called TiiRec, which is permanently installed in the truck and sends data.
The DispoPilot.guide, a mobile tablet with a seven-inch screen, is the user interface for the driver. The DispoPilot.guide is likewise installed in the vehicle but it can be simply removed in one move for working in and on the vehicle, plus it features a photo function to take pictures of any damaged goods. The device is loaded with the latest TomTom navigation software and has route guidance configured specifically for trucks. Regular updates for 46 countries are available at no additional cost. Furthermore, the driver is kept fully updated regarding the current traffic situation thanks to dynamic Live Traffic Information.
As an alternative in certain sectors, it is also possible to use the DispoPilot.mobile, which is a hand-held device with barcode scanner for checking freight lists. It also has a touchscreen for electronically recording and sending signatures.
The FleetBoard Cockpit is the workstation for the dispatcher in the haulage firm. The screen displays the different services on a clear user interface. Here it is possible to see the position of each vehicle in the fleet and the status of each of the drivers, including forecasts of their remaining driving times, for instance.
Android and iOS apps for companies, subcontractors and drivers
Those who also wish to access their vehicles' data outside the office can use the FleetBoard Fleet.app to call up vehicle positions and remaining driving times. In this way, companies can actively intervene in fleet control outside of normal working hours, too.
The DispoPilot.app makes subcontractors whose trucks are not equipped with FleetBoard an integral part of the company's workflow. The app on the subcontractor's smartphone ensures communication between headquarters and drivers, meaning that orders and messages can be sent, and the company is able to locate the vehicle.
Finally, the FleetBoard Driver.app developed specifically for drivers enables them to keep track of their driving, rest and weekend working hours as well as set alarms if required. The Performance Analysis provides information about the current driving style grade. The Fitness Coach suggests exercises for strengthening the muscles. And My Community allows drivers to communicate and network worldwide with colleagues and friends.
Services: Trainers support the companies
FleetBoard Trainers provide various levels of FleetBoard training for dispatchers, fleet managers and general managers. They also help drivers to learn how to use the devices. Last but not least, they join forces with the ProfiTraining team to coach Mercedes-Benz drivers so that the drivers can improve their driving style grades and drive the vehicle more economically.
In addition to this, FleetBoard includes free technical support in ten languages, providing customers with fast assistance should they have any technical queries.
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