Digitisation is changing logistics. All those involved along the value chain are digitally linked across company boundaries. Logistics providers are taking on a new role: they are becoming process managers and data suppliers. In order to perform these tasks they require vehicles with new fundamental properties: instead of fixed resources they prefer to use digital services which enable them to do their work. So the job of a vehicle manufacturer is transforming into that of a service provider. Their new job is to offer truck users added value that helps them to perform logistics services. The vehicle itself is linked to the logistics process more closely than ever before. Mercedes-Benz Trucks is taking on this function as a provider of digital services which optimise logistics processes, vehicle fleets and individual vehicles – in order to be able to offer the truck itself as a service, to: Truck-as-a-Service. A fundamentally new added value is created with this needs-oriented provision of vehicles: increasing the availability of a truck in real customer use. As a Digital Truck Provider it is the aim of Mercedes-Benz Trucks to help its customers to further increase the productivity of their trucks.
Connectivity: technical prerequisites for the digital truck
In order to be able to take to the road as a digital truck, a Mercedes-Benz truck needs technical components as the basis for the digital services. These include the Truck Data Center 7 or, for other brands with an EU-standardised Fleet Management Systems Interface (FMS) the Truck Data Center 7 (FB Card) as the control unit for the entire vehicle communications. It receives vehicle, sensor and trailer data and uses a constant online connection for data transfer to the cloud-based back end. Via the Mercedes-Benz User Interface HMI in the Multimedia Cockpit the driver has access to both this information and a multitude of apps which support them in their work. They are available on demand via the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal and can be installed in the truck over the air.
Logistics optimisation: digital services improve processes
With HABBL Transport the truck becomes a logistics tool. The Mobile Workflow Management, which Daimler Truck AG took over from EIKONA AG in the first quarter of 2019, manages transportation processes and guides drivers through their tasks step by step. As of the end of 2020 it will link vehicle information provided via Fleetboard, such as driving and rest times or the GPS position with the current status of a journey.
HABBL: reaching your destination digitally
- Replace analogue processes with digital logistics workflows
- Smooth transition between tasks inside and outside the truck
- HABBL Task manages jobs in the entire freight environment
HABBL Transport manages truck tours. The HABBL app belonging to it can be operated intuitively. It guides truck drivers through their current workflow to their destination step by step, and thus also to completion of each of their orders. From the departure check with all the legally prescribed inspection points, through precise recording of the address in the navigation system to the delivery receipt (POD). HABBL supplies drivers with all the necessary information and ensures that all tasks are processed in the correct order. This prevents errors and enhances process quality. Users can create individual workflows for each customer, each trip or even each specific item of cargo. This sees HABBL digitising the transportation processes.
At the same time the app creates a high degree of transparency. With every work step completed, all those involved in the process receive a current status notification. This means that dispatchers and, if required, also the senders and recipients, are automatically informed of the progress of a trip. This includes the GPS position and estimated time of arrival (ETA) of the vehicle at a specific recipient. To this end, as of the end of 2020 HABBL will also take into account the driving and rest times in order to determine a more precise prognosis.
The HABBL app can be installed directly on the Multimedia Cockpit in the new Actros via the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal. If the same trip has also been transferred to a mobile device the driver can also seamlessly perform the next process steps – such as scanning, photographing, accepting digital signatures – outside of the cab. All progress then continues to be documented. HABBL Transport replaces the Fleetboard Transport Management service, whose manufacturer support ends on 31.12.2021.
With HABBL Task the app even manages tasks which have to be completed entirely outside the digital truck, irrespective of a trip. The Mobile Workflow Management also guides employees through their freight-forwarding tasks digitally there, for example their regular premises checks, the maintenance of forklifts or other Facility Management steps. It can replace all paper checklists amongst other things.
Fleet optimisation: manage the big picture optimally
Fleetboard is the service of choice for the fleet manager as the person who manages the resources of a haulage company. The telematics pioneer is entering the next generation on a new technological platform and with a modernised user interface.
Fleetboard: key information at a glance
- New modern customer interface
- GPS location every 30 seconds
- Portal display for using the assistance systems
- Notification Center informs proactively
- MB Uptime integrated
- Base telematics with the “Fleetboard Manager” app
The new Fleetboard Portal is fast, scalable and to the point. Following migration of the platform to the highly available Microsoft Azure Cloud, all services are currently being moved there and as of September 2020 they are gradually becoming available there. Updates and new features will also be available in shorter cycles in future. With the new customer interface, Fleetboard is now proactively presenting users particularly important information in the Notification Center: in future they will, for example, be receiving recommendations for action from MB Uptime and report events, for instance if an unexpected broken down vehicle has been detected. This enables fast reactions and saves considerable effort when it comes to investigations.
Alongside the updated technological basis it is above all the new User Interface that makes daily working life easier for users. It brings information into view faster and more intuitively and integrates the intelligent telematics service MB Uptime. This means that in future fleet managers can use a Single Sign-on to manage, for instance, use of the vehicle as well as necessary repair and maintenance work in an optically uniform environment. Between now and the middle of the coming year Fleetboard users are being transferred to the new world step by step.
The new Fleetboard customer interface also offers more comprehensive options for vehicle management: the live tracking now regularly updates the GPS position of the trucks every 30 seconds. In addition to this routes can be planned and the toll charges due for them can be calculated. Furthermore, for the first time, the application also makes information on the use of the safety assistance systems in the vehicles available centrally: it indicates when Active Brake Assist five (ABA 5) or Lane Keeping Assist (LDWS) are switched off by the driver. It also determines how often the two safety systems were deactivated. With this information fleet managers can raise their drivers’ awareness of the importance of the systems.
Very fittingly for the new Actros F, the functional long-distance haulage vehicle, the Fleetboard Manager App for Android and iOS also makes basic telematics functions available. The free tool indicates CO2 emissions, GPS positions, distances before service due dates and fuel consumption of the vehicles. It also provides information on the evaluations of the driving style and points out potential for savings.
Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal: Helpful applications for drivers
- HABBL app integrated
- New apps available
- Integration of international solutions
Via the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal fleet managers or dispatchers can install new apps in the truck in order to make the drivers’ daily working life easier. HABBL in particular stands out among the applications because it takes drivers through their work orders step by step. The app is synchronised at all times between the Multimedia Cockpit in the new Actros and any mobile device for tasks outside the vehicle, if both are processing the same trip. It sets an important milestone towards the development of an integrated ecosystem for the driver’s working environment that links vehicles, trailers, infrastructure and sensor systems with tours, loads and safety. Applications from the Mercedes-Benz Truck App Portal provide practical help by intelligently compiling real-time information on use of the vehicle. They support the driver, for instance, with instructions or monitoring the condition of their vehicle and their loads, and make it easier to work through orders. New features in the Portal include Cargofleet Trailer from idem telematics for the exchange of data with trailers (for example for monitoring cooling-unit data), the communication solution YellowFleetApp, the mobile ServiceManager (mSM) for digital order management, the paperless order management (digital consignment notes) for on the move, CollectGo, the status tool App2Track and the mobile scanner solution Scangaroo. The undisputed download champion to date is the Fleetboard Driver App. The aim is to increase the offering to include external apps from international providers from other European countries.
Increased availability with Mercedes-Benz Uptime: be prepared for every logistics order
Mercedes-Benz Uptime is the digital protective safety shield for Mercedes-Benz Trucks. Through intelligent networking Mercedes-Benz is setting new standards when it comes to vehicle availability. With this service fleet operators can increase the availability of their vehicles and thus take on considerably more logistics orders.
MB Uptime: Digital protection screen
- MB Uptime fully integrated in Fleetboard
- 50 percent fewer unplanned visits to the workshop
- As of Q1/2021 MB Uptime offers solutions for accident detection and for anti-theft protection
- Complete real-time support: recommendation for action after an average of 240 seconds
Mercedes-Benz Uptime can reduce unplanned visits to the workshop by up to 50 percent. At the same time it thus optimises the availability of vehicles on the road. Because only when a truck is on the move is it generating income for its operator. In future the service will be fully integrated in the new Fleetboard interface. This brings together two worlds which enable fleet managers to keep an eye not just on coordination tasks but also on vehicle-related responsibilities at the same time.
Thanks to the intelligent linking of the sensors and systems installed in the vehicle they can call up information on the vehicle’s condition at the press of a button. In critical cases the service also informs them proactively via automatic messages.
With over 1200 controls, MB Uptime analyses critical conditions of over 40 vehicle components and control units. If the system detects the need to act, within an average of 240 seconds it informs the stipulated contact of the vehicle operator and also the workshop chosen by the customer, stating the appropriate recommendation for action. This can significantly reduce the diagnosis time during repair on site. This means that the driver and vehicle gain more time on the road, and fleet managers can schedule their resources more reliably. Non-operational and downtimes are significantly reduced.
The scope of functions of MB Uptime is continually being extended and improved. As of the first quarter of 2021 the aim is for the service also to detect certain vehicle conditions which imply an accident, as well as the triggering of the alarm system installed for anti-theft protection. Trips to the workshop for software updates for the telematics service are no longer necessary. They are conveniently added over the air and automatically installed in the vehicle.
Over 1500 specially trained and certified Mercedes-Benz Retail operations are connected to the service offered throughout 19 European countries. This is why more than 50 percent of Mercedes-Benz Trucks customers* are already opting to use MB Uptime. They enjoy the benefit of a truck fleet with significantly increased availability.
*Average value based on vehicles with Truck Data Center in Uptime markets in 2019
Conclusion: virtually unrestricted transportation capacity – digital trucks keep on running
Today Mercedes-Benz trucks are digital trucks. With the Truck Data Center as the back end and intertwining services they offer an intelligent chain of digital connections:
- They optimise logistics management with apps such as HABBL.
- They improve digital fleet management with the new Fleetboard.
- They elevate the savings potential for vehicles to a new level with the MB Uptime integrated in Fleetboard.
As users of the trucks the drivers and fleet operators feed the vehicles with key information on the transportation work in hand at all times. Always with the one aim: of extending the trucks’ usability. To this end they offer services which bring genuine added values. By being constantly available for use and making the logistics process more efficient, they themselves become a truck-as-a-service. In this way Mercedes-Benz Trucks is supporting its customers on the road to unrestricted transportation capacity.