Trends like au­tonomous truck­ing and elec­tric-mo­bil­ity con­tinue to im­pact the com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle in­dus­try—but keep­ing cus­tomers happy is just as im­por­tant

LogisticsNews Middle East - - CONTENTS - By Me­hak Sri­vas­tava

Lat­est trends in the global and re­gional sec­tor

Put cleanly by Ki­vanc Ar­man, re­gional di­rec­tor for Au­to­mo­tive After­mar­ket, Tur­key, Iran, and Mid­dle East at Bosch, the truck­ing sec­tor is cur­rently wit­ness­ing some in­ter­est­ing de­vel­op­ments.

“Elec­tric ve­hi­cles are be­ing de­vel­oped at a faster pace than ex­pected, as their mo­tors have fewer mov­ing parts, re­quire less main­te­nance, and gen­er­ally have a longer life­span,” elab­o­rates Ar­man. “Au­tonomous trans­porta­tion tech­nolo­gies are also set to make a mark in this sec­tor. Al­though self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles have their ben­e­fits, the down­side is likely to be a loss of truck­ing jobs.”

He also adds that in terms of the work­force, driver short­ages will make many truck­ing com­pa­nies not only ex­plore au­to­ma­tion to a greater de­gree, but also look to mil­len­ni­als to fill the gap and var­i­ous ways of in­cen­tivis­ing them.

“At Bosch, we are con­tin­u­ously striv­ing to in­no­vate, with re­search and de­vel­op­ment built into our DNA. In 2015, we raised R&D ex­pen­di­ture to EUR6.4BN, and for the past five years, we have spent no less than 8.1% of our rev­enues on R&D. We even have a ded­i­cated re­search and ad­vance en­gi­neer­ing cam­pus in Ren­nin­gen, Ger­many. It hosts over 1,500 cre­ative minds, work­ing on ac­cel­er­at­ing in­no­va­tion and in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lab­o­ra­tion, mainly for mi­cro­elec­tron­ics and soft­ware.”

Elec­tri­fi­ca­tion is bur­geon­ing and to that end, the Nikola Mo­tor Com­pany and Bosch have de­vel­oped the world’s first pow­er­train for the elec­tric long-haul truck. Touted as the ‘com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle pow­er­train of the fu­ture,’ the de­vel­op­ment part­ner­ship will bring to the mar­ket the Nikola One and Two, a class 8 hy­dro­gen-elec­tric truck lineup that will de­liver more than 1,000 horse­power and 2,000 ft. lbs. of torque.

This ad­vance­ment is achieved by the eaxle de­vel­oped by Bosch. A scal­able, mo­du­lar plat­form with the mo­tor, power elec­tron­ics and

“Au­tonomous driv­ing will still take some time, but when it comes to elec­tric ve­hi­cles, it is a more prac­ti­cal re­al­ity in the next five years.” Jan-erik Thoren, Volvo Trucks

trans­mis­sion in one com­pact unit, the eaxle is suit­able for ve­hi­cles of all kinds, from small pas­sen­ger cars to light trucks. The tech­nol­ogy vi­sion of Nikola and integration ex­per­tise from Bosch will en­able the Nikola trucks to re­alise un­prece­dented tar­gets for e-ma­chine ef­fi­ciency.

As part of the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts, Emi­rates Au­thor­ity for Stan­dard­i­s­a­tion and Metrol­ogy (ESMA) re­cently man­dated that all trucks im­ported start­ing this year must meet Euro 4 emis­sion stan­dards. Al-fut­taim Auto & Ma­chin­ery Com­pany (FAMCO) and Volvo Trucks Mid­dle East have taken a step fur­ther and in­tro­duced the Euro 5-com­pli­ant trucks. The new Volvo Trucks are equipped with on-board di­ag­nos­tics (OBD), which helps mon­i­tor the level of Ad­blue liq­uid that to­gether with Se­lec­tive Cat­alytic Re­duc­tion (SCR) tech­nol­ogy helps lower emis­sion lev­els. The OBD also eas­ily pro­vides au­thor­i­ties with in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the emis­sion lev­els of the trucks dur­ing in­spec­tion.

Jan-erik Thoren, manag­ing di­rec­tor of Volvo Trucks Mid­dle East, says: “Emis­sion level in the Mid­dle East is mov­ing to­wards Euro 4 by 2021, and the UAE has al­ready moved to Euro 4. Load leg­is­la­tions are be­ing en­forced in most of the coun­tries in this re­gion. The fo­cus ul­ti­mately re­mains on safety and en­vi­ron­men­tal care.”

Vladimir Kneze­vic, manag­ing di­rec­tor of FAMCO UAE, said: “As the whole in­dus­try is shift­ing its fo­cus to de­creased fuel con­sump­tion and in­creased fleet ef­fi­ciency, Volvo Trucks, with its ad­vanced safety fea­tures and Euro 5 emis­sion stan­dards, is in a class of its own. The new trucks in ad­di­tion to sup­port­ing the

gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to lower pol­lu­tion lev­els also en­sure our cus­tomers drive en­vi­ron­ment­friendly trucks that are more fuel-ef­fi­cient and pro­vides greater pro­duc­tiv­ity and re­turns.”

FAMCO also re­cently un­veiled Volvo Trucks’ spe­cial safety edi­tion truck, which con­tains nu­mer­ous world’s first in­no­va­tions to as­sist in safe driv­ing, fast load­ing, and fa­tigue re­duc­tion.

Kneze­vic re­marks: “As part of the safety fea­tures we’re talk­ing about, it’s also about the to­tal cost of own­er­ship (TCO), which is ex­tremely im­por­tant in the over­all cus­tomer busi­ness. So, we’re strongly fo­cus­ing on the aware­ness of the safety fea­tures, but we also em­pha­sise on look­ing af­ter our cus­tomer.”

Thoren sup­ports the above, adding that it is ab­so­lutely vi­tal to bring the aware­ness (of safety) to the cus­tomers, as well as the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties. He also be­lieves that there are plenty of dis­cus­sions about elec­tro-mo­bil­ity and au­tonomous trucks, but the trucks they have to­day will con­tinue to play an im­por­tant role over the next five to 10 years.

“But there will be a lot of in­no­va­tions, and new so­lu­tions on the road. Au­tonomous driv­ing will still take some time, but when it comes to elec­tric ve­hi­cles, it is a more prac­ti­cal re­al­ity in the next five years.”

A 2016 study by Deloitte pre­dicts a com­pound an­nual growth rate (CAGR) of only 0.6% for the global heavy and medium com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle mar­kets un­til 2026. Could im­proved cus­tomer ser­vice and af­ter-sales in­volve­ment boost these num­bers?

Franz Frei­herr von Red­witz, manag­ing di­rec­tor MAN Truck & Bus Mid­dle East, com­ments: “Cus­tomers are more and more em­pow­ered and are look­ing for in­te­grated so­lu­tions, end-to end and not just the prod­uct it­self. An in­te­grated of­fer­ing is the key for fu­ture ser­vice con­tracts; with ev­ery ve­hi­cle, we pro­vide piece of mind, so our cus­tomers can ‘fo­cus on run­ning their busi­nesses.”

A ‘Cus­tomer­first’ pro­gramme was de­vel­oped by MAN Truck & Bus to sys­tem­at­i­cally record data on cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion and im­prove ser­vice qual­ity. At its heart, the ini­tia­tive uses cus­tomer feed­back to mon­i­tor the per­for­mance of MAN and its dis­trib­u­tors on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, and ef­fec­tively the scheme en­sures that they are con­stantly de­liv­er­ing on their prom­ises to cus­tomers over the days, months, and years fol­low­ing the ini­tial pur­chase of a ve­hi­cle. If MAN or its deal­ers are fall­ing short, then the so­lu­tion can be found early and quickly.

Marc Legeay, gen­eral man­ager, Mercedesbenz Trucks MENA, ex­plains how the all-new Mercedes-benz Ac­tros and Arocs are packed with the very lat­est tech­nol­ogy; boast­ing the best in the com­pany’s en­gi­neer­ing ex­per­tise to specif­i­cally keep TCO as low as pos­si­ble.

“Fleet own­ers here are fo­cus­ing more and more on the TCO, seek­ing for the high­est prof­itabil­ity of the over­all ve­hi­cle life­cy­cle. Over the last years, we have wit­nessed an in­crease of diesel prices in many Mid­dle East mar­kets, which means fuel ef­fi­ciency be­comes in­creas­ingly im­por­tant,” he says. “With the new Ac­tros and Arocs, we are pro­vid­ing a highly at­trac­tive prod­uct and ser­vice of­fer for Tcoori­ented fleet cus­tomers. Fur­ther, sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced fuel con­sump­tion, tai­lor-made ser­vice,

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