Im Dialog mit Friedrich Baumann + Bernd Reining

MAN Truck & Bus SE & Duvenbeck Group

customer experience Im Dialog mit Friedrich Baumann + Bernd Reining

Friedrich Baumann (Member of the Board for Sales & Customer Solutions, MAN Truck & Bus SE) in dialogue with Bernd Reining (Member of the Board, Duvenbeck Group) about their almost 20 years of successful collaboration: two pioneers, one story.
Duvenbeck and MAN have a long-standing partnership including joint vehicle development projects and introduction of new digital services. Now the delivery of the first eTrucks from MAN is imminent. Bernd Reining and Friedrich Baumann take this opportunity to talk about their partnership of equals.

Mr Reining, you will receive your first 30 MAN eTrucks in the course of the year. What role does the switch to electric drives play for Duvenbeck?

Reining: It goes without saying that we are aware of the significant impact that transport and logistics have on the climate. That‘s why we are looking at all new technologies that enable us to reduce our CO2 emissions. We run such initiatives under the heading »Green Logistics«. Battery-electric trucks play a central role in this – although we already have a state-of-the-art vehicle fleet, so that Duvenbeck is already very environmentally friendly on the road.

However it is also certain that the switch to eTrucks marks the dawn of a new era in logistics. This is a major endeavour – and that‘s why we are glad to have innovative partners like MAN at our side.

MAN´s goal is to sell commercial vehicles free of fossil fuels from 2040 on. To achieve this ambitious goal, we are focusing primarily on the electrification of our fleet.
Friedrich Baumann

Baumann: The same is also true for MAN. As a global company for transport solutions, it is our duty to take responsibility for protecting the climate. We expect that half of our vehicles sold in the EU should have zero emission drive systems by 2030 and all new commercial vehicles sold by MAN from 2040 on, should be free of fossil fuels.

To achieve these ambitious goals, we are focusing primarily on the electrification of our fleet. Therefore, the introduction of our eTruck is a milestone for MAN – but it also represents a major challenge. Therefore it is even more important that customers like Duvenbeck are leading the way together with us right from the start.

What did the collaboration on the eTruck look like?

Reining: We do a lot of driving for companies in the automotive industry. There – for reasons of efficiency – the trailers have an internal loading height of three metres. So we need special »low-deck« tractor units that can pull the trailer in a lowered position. Together with us MAN developed such a tractor unit with an electric drive which is pioneer work in this area.

Baumann: It was indeed a major task to develop this electrically powered low deck tractor unit. But it was also an incentive for us at MAN – because it allowed us to show what our engineers are capable of. We are now the first OEM in the market to be able to offer such a vehicle straight from our production line.

Reining: However, another mammoth task still lies ahead of us. Alongside the electrically powered vehicles, we also need a nationwide megawatt charging infrastructure. We’ve been discussing that intensively – and we are pleased that MAN and the TRATON GROUP are part of a joint venture with industry partners to establish and operate a public high-performance charging network with at least 1,700 green electricity charging points across Europe. That is also pioneer work. And it is something that has to be tackled urgently – because without sophisticated logistics, our economy, which is based on the division of labour, cannot function at all. If such logistics are to be sustainable, we need a reliable charging infrastructure for eTrucks.

Im Dialog mit Friedrich Baumann + Bernd Reining
Im Dialog mit Friedrich Baumann + Bernd Reining
Im Dialog mit Friedrich Baumann + Bernd Reining

Sustainability is not the only major trend in the transport industry. What else are OEM´s in the industry working on?

Baumann: Digitalisation is such a topic. After all, the advantages of digital services are obvious: They allow us to make fleet management more efficient than ever before, and they also enable coordinated operating times, routes and maintenance.

All these items reduce our customers‘ operating costs, which is why we are working intensively on connected vehicle technologies. And with great success: MAN‘s digital services already support fleet operators in the use of vehicles more economical, more ecological and safer.

However, another mammoth task still lies ahead of us. Alongside the electrically powered vehicles, we also need an international megawatt charging infrastructure
Bernd Reining

Reining: Digitalisation is also at the top of our agenda. That‘s why we introduced our own digital solution for fleet management years ago, independently from MAN. Nevertheless, we wanted our fleet managers to receive the most detailed information possible about the condition of their MAN vehicles.

Together with MAN, we have found a solution by using the RIO box. We always know exactly in which condition each of our MAN truck is and when it is due for maintenance. This increases the uptime of the vehicles. It also shows that it is possible to find customised solutions based on a long-standing partnership and a grown mutual understanding.

Baumann: This is a point that is particularly important to MAN: »Simplifying Business« is our core promise to our customers. We always ask ourselves what is important to our partners beyond the vehicle itself – such as service, digital services, as well as personal collaboration – so that they can fulfil their transport commitment as easily, efficiently and economically as possible. Because one thing must always be clear for us: for our customers a commercial vehicle is an investment that must pay off over its entire life cycle. That begins with a fair purchase price, but also includes topics such as reliability, ease of maintenance and modern digital services that maximise transparency of the entire vehicle fleet. That’s how we guarantee that an investment in a MAN truck is money well spent.

Im Dialog mit Friedrich Baumann + Bernd Reining

A much-discussed topic within the logistics industry is the increasing driver shortage. What can logistics companies and vehicle manufacturers do to improve the situation?

Reining: The drivers are at the core of our company. Without them no truck would ever leave our logistics centers. That is why we believe that an engaging and motivating work place is crucial. At Duvenbeck, the hierarchies are flat and we have an open feedback culture. We are countering the driver shortage with attractive employment models which include social benefits and flexible working hours, enabling drivers to achieve a better work-life balance.

Baumann: We are also aware of the growing shortage of truck drivers and want to make the job more attractive. In addition, we have been working on and advancing the development of driverless trucks for many years. The usage of autonomous driving vehicles is already working very well between logistics hubs and on work sites such as container terminals, as the ANITA and ATLAS-L4 projects, in which MAN is involved, have shown. There was even a very special highlight in mid-April:

Federal Transport Minister Dr Volker Wissing and our CEO, Alexander Vlaskamp, drove in an autonomous truck in Germany on the A9 highway – with a safety driver behind the wheel, of course. With this first Level 4 test drive of an autonomous truck on a German highway, MAN has proven that we are at the forefront of autonomous driving. Apart from that, these new developments will not only enable us to alleviate the driver shortage – road safety and transport processes can be optimised too.

In the future, Duvenbeck and MAN will continue to work together to advance the industry together – according to the motto: two pioneers, one story.

Duvenbeck and MAN have been working closely together for a long time. How and when did it all begin?

Reining: Our collaboration began in 2006. Back then, I had the idea of trying out a new product in our fleet and decided – very carefully at first – to invest in four MAN TGA. I quickly realised that MAN seeks close collaboration with its customers. It wasn‘t about simply selling trucks – instead, our contact partners always had in mind, what was best for both parties.

Of course, we first had to get used to the new product. But the data from ongoing operations and the feedback from our drivers quickly showed, that we had made the right choice with the MAN TGA. And when problems arose, we were not left alone. We learnt from each other and have worked continuously on the product together since then.

Baumann: The example shows: We are only successful when our customers are! That is why MAN supports them in their daily business to the best of our ability. It is a partnership of equals and of mutual benefit.

Reining: And that‘s why the initial four vehicles in our fleet have grown: Together we celebrated the delivery of the 1000th MAN in 2022. Besides, we are also involved in MAN‘s product roadmap: MAN came up with the idea of creating an expert advisory board made up of selected customers. In this group, we discuss technological evolutions such as digitalisation, aerodynamics and new services.

Dr. Wolfgang Eckelt, High Performance | Top Company Guide