Knowledge is Power: Fleetboard interview

Naveen Sook, Fleetboard Manager, Daimler Commercial Vehicles MENA talks to T&FME about what makes Fleetboard unique in the region

When it comes to modern fleet management, connectivity is keys, says. Naveen Sook, Fleetboard Manager, Daimler Commercial Vehicles MENA.

Fleetboard is the in-house telematics and connectivity solution for Mercedes-Benz Trucks. It provides digital solutions with the aim to increase fleet efficiency and Sook spared time this month to talk to T&FME about how Daimler believes it has the optimum telematics solution to make fleets leaner and cheaper to run, particularly if they have Mercedes-Benz trucks in their ranks.

Firstly, it would be great to get an understanding on your role as the Fleetboard manager in MENA region
I was involved in the Fleetboard market rollout in South Africa from 2009 and in mid-2015 I joined Daimler Commercial Vehicles MENA (DCV MENA) to further develop and build on the existing Fleetboard business in the MENA region. Some of my tasks is to enter new markets, such as Morocco.

Further to this, I look at new business opportunities whereby we can further expand our active vehicle parc, by working on bundled solution such as Fleetboard, Driver Training and Mercedes-Benz Service Solutions, offered to our customers as a package. Together with our General Distributors, we provide consulting to the customers on Total Cost of Ownership and how to optimise the operational costs with Fleetboard.

What does Fleetboard do and what are the main features of Fleetboard?
Fleetboard telematics provides the connectivity know-how to help fleet owners/managers benefit from optimised consumption, lower maintenance costs, and lower accident risk with systems such as Performance Analysis, Service & Uptime, and Trip Records & Mapping.

What is unique about Fleetboard?
The Fleetboard Performance Analysis is one of the unique features of Fleetboard. This technology tracks key performance indicators over the long term – for instance, helping drivers achieve and maintain an economical and preventative driving style that reduces wear and fuel consumption.

Fleetboard is also the only telematics solution that integrates with CAN BUS system for Mercedes-Benz trucks, which allows fleet owners to receive vehicle data as detailed as how worn the brake linings are. This allows the customers to plan for their maintenance and servicing of their trucks in an efficient way. Another unique feature of Fleetboard is the Service and Uptime data, which tracks all active and stored fault codes, thus providing remote diagnostics which in-turn reduces vehicle downtime.

FleetBoard Cockpit

Who can benefit from Fleetboard?
Fleet owners, Fleet managers, drivers, workshops, can all benefit from Fleetboard.

How do you think that the drivers can benefit from Performance Analysis? How about Fleet Managers?
Let’s start with how Performance Analysis works – Fleetboard Performance Analysis records and processes technical data from every utility vehicle. The data is used to rate the driving style of the drivers in ‘grades’. Based on the data, individualised driver training tips can be provided to further improve the driving style. This enables economic fleet management, long-term – customers report fuel savings of up to 15%.

Fleetboard’s driving style evaluations are also a great tool to motivate and incentivise employees – if the vehicle is being driven correctly then increased fuel-efficiency will automatically follow. Companies can incentivise drivers with bonuses for example, for achieving the scores. More motivated drivers mean more careful and efficient use of vehicles resulting in lower maintenance and fuel costs.

You have mentioned that Fleetboard is able to show data as detailed as how worn the brake linings are. Do all other telematics solutions offer this level of insight to all users?
No, only telematics systems from OEMs, and unfortunately not many OEM telematics systems are available in MENA region. This of course gives us as Mercedes-Benz trucks a competitive edge over local providers.

Where and how can the interested customers install and subscribe to Fleetboard services?
They can contact our local General Distributors who are well equipped to offer these services.

How do you think Fleetboard can contribute to road safety?
Fleetboard checks the status of the vehicle systems in real time, allowing critical conditions to be detected at an early stage and clear instructions provided. If maintenance and repair requirements are identified, fleet owners/ managers will be contacted by the authorised Mercedes-Benz Trucks Service Workshop with an optimal repair solution. This reduces the risk of breakdowns and accidents on the roads.

As mentioned previously, the Performance Analysis helps drivers develop preventative driving style and motivated, well-trained drivers result in fewer accidents thanks to improved driving safety.

Any future plans for Fleetboard in MENA?
We will try to enter more markets in MENA and expand our footprint. Our aim is to have 100% trucks connected in all active markets.

What is your advice/tips for fleet companies who don’t have telematics solutions for the fleet yet?
As we are all fast evolving into innovative ways, connectivity is the only way forward for fleet operators to save on operational costs. A simple tracking solution is no longer the answer. To strive to be the best in the competitive market today, connectivity is key and such mindset is very important.

How would you describe the Fleetboard competition in the market?
There are many other solutions in the MENA region, each offering different level of services. Some are limited to local tracking services and only a few can connect to a CAN BUS system. Being an OEM system, Fleetboard has full access to our trucks’ CAN BUS system and this is a unique advantage as customers can benefit from more detailed data, with more variety of services to help them manage their fleet in a more efficient way.

How do I ensure that I’m fit for Fleetboard?
Easy, if you own a Mercedes-Benz Actros/Arocs truck or about to purchase one, Fleetboard is available for these trucks. Please reach out to our authorized General Distributor who can support you with consultation and Fleetboard services.

What are the benefits from using Fleetboard?
There are many benefits of using Fleetboard, such as fuel saving, planning maintenance activities, and ensuring vehicle Uptime. Main savings come from reducing the Total Cost of Ownership.


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