RoadEfficiency: high vehicle usage with Mercedes-Benz Uptime

Economics & Logistics

Never come to a halt.

The new Mercedes-Benz Uptime service informs customers remotely about the technical state of their trucks and gives them specific recommendations about what to do. This maximises vehicle availability – “breakdowns” are avoided, and repairs and maintenance can be better planned, as the example of the Bay haulage firm shows.

Traditional top performance. Brothers Markus and Michael Schaaf about their family business with Swabian virtues: "Low overall costs, high safety and maximum vehicle availability are essential in our business."

Bay Logistik from Waiblingen near Stuttgart deals with more than 35,000 freight orders per year for the chemical industry. The trucks of the family-run company from the south of Germany shift approximately 600,000 tonnes and travel about 25 million kilometres. The 200-strong staff of Bay pursue a common goal day after day: satisfied customers.

Amongst them there are many discerning customers from the chemical industry: seven out of ten of the biggest manufacturers in the business trust Bay Logistik's reliability. There are also a large number of small and family-run chemical businesses.

The constantly growing supply comprises transportation and storage of fluid and granular chemicals – both bulk and packaged. To accomplish this, they draw on a fleet of 700 units. It consists of 120 Mercedes-Benz tractor units and a portfolio of different silo trailers, pressurised containers and tank trailers.

The work of Bay Logistik is largely determined by the increasing concentration of production plant facilities and a reduction in costly warehouse capacity in the chemical industry. The experts often transport huge quantities of expensive raw materials. If a single truck is out of action, in the worst case this can bring the production of a huge chemical works to a halt. For the managers of Bay this means that maximum availability of the vehicles in use is crucial.

In order to increase this availability, Sascha Schmieder, the head of fleet administration, and his staff have been using the new Mercedes-Benz Uptime service for a year and a half as part of a pilot project. He explained to "Mercedes-Benz Transport" how the system works and how useful it is, with the help of three reconstructed examples from practice.

Sascha Schmieder, head of the fleet, said about Mercedes-Benz Uptime:
"It's a bit like Formula One racing: the pits know there's something wrong with the truck before the driver does – intelligent evaluation of the diagnostic data is often the key to success. That applies to Mercedes-Benz Uptime too. The service informs me about the technical health of our tractor vehicles. Just a few minutes after the malfunction has come up in the truck, I receive information about what has happened. Also, I'm given information about the anticipated vehicle reactions, for example a loss of performance or a reduction in speed, and also a recommendation for solution-oriented action. This early information gives me the time normally needed to prevent a truck from breaking down, so the freight can be delivered on time and unnecessary expenses avoided."


Recognise urgently needed repairs immediately and prevent breakdowns.

This is how it works.

All maintenance and repair work which does not need to be carried out immediately can be done more efficiently thanks to Mercedes-Benz Uptime. This includes recurring maintenance tasks such as replacing brake linings, lubricants or filters, and also malfunctions in the luxury functions such as the air-conditioning system.

Mercedes-Benz Uptime sends relevant information automatically to the Mercedes-Benz service partner chosen by the customer. The service partner combines the upcoming repair and maintenance work, based on all the data, actively contacts the customer and arranges in good time an appointment which best fits in with the planned trip and the required maintenance work. This reduces the number of trips to the workshop and thus keeps downtime to a minimum, thus increasing the availability of the vehicle.

Also, Mercedes-Benz Uptime clusters information on the parameters which neither affect the function of the vehicle nor make subsequent repairs necessary. This includes information about the times when a vehicle is not being used effectively by a driver. This can optimise the fleet manager's options to give a driver precise feedback and if necessary to ensure improvements.

Breakdown avoided. A sensor that was not working properly triggered an error message in the truck. Truck mechanic Sebastian Übele from the Autohaus Lorinser workshop was able to supply Jan Hettling's truck with the necessary spare part before the truck would have come to an unplanned standstill.

The fleet manager said:
"With Mercedes-Benz Uptime we receive precise information and the time to find a solution before anything goes wrong with the freight job. I remember a case where one of our trucks displayed a malfunction. But the spare part was not available at the nearest workshop. As we had loaded goods subject to a deadline, the spare part was sent to the workshop in Frechen. The truck was able to continue the journey there. When it arrived in Frechen, the spare part was already there. The repair only took two hours, and the goods reached the customer on time. Another time I got a call from the CAC about a malfunctioning boost pressure and temperature sensor. The lady from the emergency service was highly competent and suggested a variety of solutions. In the end, we were able to replace the sensor at our local workshop close by without any delays."


Getting in touch immediately. The Customer Assistance Center (CAC) informs head of the fleet, Sascha Schmieder, of a malfunction in the engine intake system of one of his trucks. The next steps are discussed together. With the help of the CAC, a trip to the workshop is planned for the near future and the driver is informed.
Getting in touch immediately. The Customer Assistance Center (CAC) informs head of the fleet, Sascha Schmieder, of a malfunction in the engine intake system of one of his trucks. The next steps are discussed together. With the help of the CAC, a trip to the workshop is planned for the near future and the driver is informed.
Speedy repair work. Truck mechanic Sebastian Übele dealt with the fault during the driver's break. The work was planned perfectly, as the message from the diagnostic software contained all the relevant information. Driver Jan Hettling can continue his trip as planned, and he informs his fleet boss.
Speedy repair work. Truck mechanic Sebastian Übele dealt with the fault during the driver's break. The work was planned perfectly, as the message from the diagnostic software contained all the relevant information. Driver Jan Hettling can continue his trip as planned, and he informs his fleet boss.
Best preparation. The truck mechanic at the Autohaus Lorinser workshop has the diagnostics data and knows about the malfunction thanks to Mercedes-Benz Uptime before the truck even arrives. The right tools and spare parts are there so that the repair can be carried out straight away.
Best preparation. The truck mechanic at the Autohaus Lorinser workshop has the diagnostics data and knows about the malfunction thanks to Mercedes-Benz Uptime before the truck even arrives. The right tools and spare parts are there so that the repair can be carried out straight away.
Continuing the journey punctually. Replacing the malfunctioning sensor only took half an hour. Jan Hettling and his Actros set off in time. If the spare part had not been available at Lorinser but at another garage, Mercedes-Benz Uptime would have diverted the truck there instead.
Continuing the journey punctually. Replacing the malfunctioning sensor only took half an hour. Jan Hettling and his Actros set off in time. If the spare part had not been available at Lorinser but at another garage, Mercedes-Benz Uptime would have diverted the truck there instead.

Inform in real time and simplify repairs.

This is how it works.

The diagnostic software of the trucks reports a problem, which the driver can solve quickly if he knows exactly what the problem is and what he has to do to remedy the situation. For example, a manual regeneration of the diesel particulate filter might be necessary, or an underinflated tyre might need more air.

The events and the driver's reactions are collated by Mercedes-Benz Uptime and passed on to the people responsible for the fleet via the online customer portal and by e-mail. The Mercedes-Benz Uptime online portal brings hidden problems to light and shows potential breakdown risks in good time.

Using more potential – FleetBoard transport management.

Efficient communication with the driver now means more than just a simple phone call. Transport management solutions from FleetBoard help to simplify processes and minimise the need for coordination. Fleet managers who monitor their trucks via FleetBoard can plan their orders directly on the computer, put together the best tours and send them to the drivers' DispoPilots with the press of a button, together with all the relevant additional information. Status messages can be configured flexibly and individually depending on the transport task and help the driver to enter information specifically for an order, trip or package.

The complete transport process is effectively managed through the smooth exchange of information. The FleetBoard WebServices also allow FleetBoard Transport Management to be seamlessly integrated into the internal company software. The data entered by the driver can then be further processed directly where it is needed. This all prevents unnecessary waiting and minimises errors, so that truck and driver can spend as much time as possible driving and transporting.

The fleet manager said:
"The information we get from Mercedes-Benz Uptime to prevent malfunctions and unnecessary maintenance time lost at the workshop are invaluable. One of our drivers recently had an error message on his display that indicated problems with the exhaust gas aftertreatment. In this case the truck might be automatically limited to 25 km/h because the emission values are no longer within the legal limits. We were notified by the CAC that the driver could manually regenerate the diesel particulate filter in the cockpit, we instructed him accordingly, and the freight order was unhindered. With the help of a compact overview of messages from Mercedes-Benz Uptime with reference to each individual vehicle, we can also react much sooner and better to encroaching malfunctions – which saves us money. If, for example, a number of drivers have to reinflate a tyre on one and the same vehicle, this indicates the risk of a dangerous and expensive flat tyre or blow-out. I find out about this and can remedy the situation."

Regular care. Mercedes-Benz Uptime accurately assesses the truck's usage profile. On the recommendation of the service, Jan Hettling manually triggered the regeneration of the diesel particulate filter. If it is not regenerated in time, for example because automatic regeneration was interrupted several times, above a certain level a visit to the workshop is required.
Regular care. Mercedes-Benz Uptime accurately assesses the truck's usage profile. On the recommendation of the service, Jan Hettling manually triggered the regeneration of the diesel particulate filter. If it is not regenerated in time, for example because automatic regeneration was interrupted several times, above a certain level a visit to the workshop is required.
Speedy aid. After the message in the display of his Actros, driver Jan Hettling checks the tyre pressure on the front axle. In the background, Mercedes-Benz Uptime fleet manager Sascha Schmieder supplies all the details about the loss of pressure via the online customer portal.
Speedy aid. After the message in the display of his Actros, driver Jan Hettling checks the tyre pressure on the front axle. In the background, Mercedes-Benz Uptime fleet manager Sascha Schmieder supplies all the details about the loss of pressure via the online customer portal.

Plan repairs and maintenance in the best possible way.

This is how it works.

All maintenance and repair work which does not need to be carried out immediately can be done more efficiently thanks to Mercedes-Benz Uptime. This includes recurring maintenance tasks such as replacing brake linings, lubricants or filters, and also malfunctions in the luxury functions such as the air-conditioning system.

Mercedes-Benz Uptime sends relevant information automatically to the Mercedes-Benz service partner chosen by the customer. The service partner combines the upcoming repair and maintenance work, based on all the data, actively contacts the customer and arranges in good time an appointment which best fits in with the planned trip and the required maintenance work. This reduces the number of trips to the workshop and thus keeps downtime to a minimum, thus increasing the availability of the vehicle.

Also, Mercedes-Benz Uptime clusters information on the parameters which neither affect the function of the vehicle nor make subsequent repairs necessary. This includes information about the times when a vehicle is not being used effectively by a driver. This can optimise the fleet manager's options to give a driver precise feedback and if necessary to ensure improvements.

The fleet manager said:
"The consolidated Mercedes-Benz Uptime reports we receive about each of our vehicles are extremely valuable. Thanks to the detailed information on the general state of health and the upcoming servicing requirements, I can replace potential breakdown candidates in good time or send them to the workshop before expensive repairs become necessary. Also, the service helps us to monitor our standards of cost-effective driving. It's a real competitive advantage. The drivers, too, are very happy with Mercedes-Benz Uptime. Unplanned downtimes are by and large a thing of the past. And if a visit to the workshop is necessary after all, then everything is fully prepared and the whole job is swift and efficient."

Perfect timing. Mercedes-Benz Uptime allows repairs and maintenance work to be meticulously planned in perfectly-timed pit stops so that only minimal time is required to get the truck back on the road.
Perfect timing. Mercedes-Benz Uptime allows repairs and maintenance work to be meticulously planned in perfectly-timed pit stops so that only minimal time is required to get the truck back on the road.
Always in the picture. Fleet manager Sascha Schmieder (left) monitors his fleet via the Mercedes-Benz Uptime customer portal. From here he arranges a necessary maintenance appointment and combines it with service work on the air-conditioning system, which is also required.
Always in the picture. Fleet manager Sascha Schmieder (left) monitors his fleet via the Mercedes-Benz Uptime customer portal. From here he arranges a necessary maintenance appointment and combines it with service work on the air-conditioning system, which is also required.
Optimum supply of spare parts. If they are not available, after the service appointment has been made, the required spare parts are immediately sent to the company workshop or to the Mercedes-Benz service partner. Before the truck arrives, the mechanics are fully prepared for the work to be done.
Optimum supply of spare parts. If they are not available, after the service appointment has been made, the required spare parts are immediately sent to the company workshop or to the Mercedes-Benz service partner. Before the truck arrives, the mechanics are fully prepared for the work to be done.

Photos: Matthias Aletsee

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