It is as small as a wallet but a real boon in Matthias Hasenmüller’s day-to-day work. The card reader attached to the Linde truck has a usefulness that belies its unremarkable appearance. But the device is able to tell who is and who isn’t authorised to operate the truck at ceramics manufacturer Villeroy & Boch in the Saarland town of Mettlach. “As fleet manager I’m also sent data about drivers and trucks and about where and how equipment is being used so that I can organise the fleet more efficiently,” says Hasenmüller, who as head of maintenance introduced fleet management at the company.
Villeroy & Boch deploys 23 Linde trucks on a shift basis at its main site, where there is a constant switcharound of drivers. Ensuring that the trucks are used only by authorised personnel is very important to the company. “The access control will only let the truck be operated by employees who have the relevant licence for it, who have been properly trained in how to use it and who have recently passed health checks such as eye tests,” says Hasenmüller. “We want to prevent people from getting hurt and goods and equipment from being damaged.”
Fleet management of the future
The KION Group’s two premium brand companies offer two logistics solutions: Linde’s connect: product family and STILL’s web-based Fleet Data Services. And both can do much more than differentiate between authorised and unauthorised drivers. They also track operating hours, distances covered, speeds, energy consumption, loads, capacity utilisation and shock events. The systems are modular and can easily be expanded. “This means that customers combine only the modules that they need and track only the data that is relevant to them – which in addition to truck data might include business data such as maintenance schedules,” says Sebastian Erdmann, Head of Business Solutions at STILL. “The customer’s requirements are paramount here.” Analysing the data creates transparency and highlights how the fleet can be used more efficiently: capacity utilisation and maintenance can be optimised, health and safety is improved. “By optimising how we deploy the trucks, we are able to reduce costs,” says Hasenmüller.
The data is transmitted using Bluetooth, GPRS or Wi-Fi. Simple and efficient. It’s perfectly possible for fleets to be made up of equipment of different brands. The hardware components are fitted to new trucks by the manufacturer and can be retrofitted to customers’ existing trucks.