MHS Truck & Bus, sole distributor of MAN Truck & Bus in Romania, estimates the time to fix the commercial vehicles was slashed by 75% with a 50% travel reduction.
Demand for commercial vehicles such as trucks, buses and vans is high in south-eastern Europe, as there are many regionally based logistics companies responsible for transporting merchandise from Black Sea ports to central Europe. RealWear, the world’s leading provider of assisted reality solutions for frontline industrial workers, today announced that MHS Truck & Bus, the sole distributor of MAN Commercial Vehicles in Romania, has deployed RealWear assisted reality devices across its service network in the region to support the supply chain. Since the deployment, MHS Truck & Bus estimates that the diagnosis time of vehicle repairs has been reduced by 75% and with a 50% reduction of travel. The company estimates future savings of 2700 litres of fuel per month (based on 9 experts and 300 litres/worker).
MHS Truck & Bus has a commercial vehicle service network that comprises nine workshops and five service partners across Romania to service MAN commercial vehicles. It has 150 technicians throughout the region but only a few experts. In Romania, technician training is mandatory and required twice per year, driven in part by the broadening knowledge gap between the technician’s knowledge and the complexity of the vehicles being manufactured and serviced. Historically, this training was conducted in-person, requiring the expert trainers to travel up to 12 hours across Romania. In addition to the training, for complex vehicle repairs, experts are also required to travel again to assist the technician in resolving the issue. All of these requirements lead to fatigue for the expert and costly downtime for the customer, which grew to be a tricky problem for the company.
MHS Truck & Bus originally envisioned a remote training and remote diagnostics strategy using mobile devices and rugged laptops. However, after in-depth research, it saw that handheld devices and laptops did not allow the technician to use both hands and also forced the technician to look down at the screen rather than at the vehicle. RealWear’s partner SETH, who was consulting with MHS, recommended RealWear assisted reality solutions. The RealWear device was both rugged, voice-enabled for simple commands and for voice-optimised Android apps and functioned perfectly in noisy environments due to its noise cancellation technology. The expert can immediately see exactly what the technician sees through the device’s head-mounted camera, making the solution perfectly suited for remote training and diagnosis.
Using RealWear Beyond Training at MAN
Beyond training, MHS Truck & Bus Technicians are frequently required to perform work on the side of the road alongside an immobilised vehicle, sometimes in high traffic or low visibility areas, which is not ideal to safely make repairs. Its experts are also required to drive around 2,000 kilometres per month, which can equate to roughly 40 hours of travel time.
To solve both diagnostic and training challenges, the firm invested in a physical video conferencing and multimedia room, where experts can be stationed and connected with technicians across all of its service locations using Cisco Webex Expert on Demand on RealWear’s flagship HMT-1 model. During the diagnosis process, when technicians cannot resolve the issue, technicians initiate a call to an expert and use RealWear to undertake remote diagnostics. The RealWear devices are capable of providing high quality video recordings and photos during vehicle repairs, which facilitates rapid problem resolution. Experts who can be based at MHS’s headquarters or at any of the MAN location in the region can use Webex annotations to mark items of interest.
“At the end of the day, the benefits of this technology are to our customers,” commented Marius Scutaru, Customer Service Director at MHS Truck & Bus. “Since our deployment of RealWear we can solve difficult problems far quicker and reduce the downtime of vehicles out on the road. As a result, customer satisfaction has increased.”
“This technology is also very much appreciated by our own technicians who can clearly see the advantages of it,” added Marius Scutaru, MHS Truck & Bus. “We’re using assisted reality as a communications system but also to display various documents, which the wearer has real-time access to via simple voice commands.”
Exploring new use cases for assisted reality wearables in automotive
Working with SETH, MHS Truck & Bus is actively looking to expand the use cases for RealWear’s technology. Potential use cases in the future may include extracting data directly from the vehicle computer onto the RealWear device and using the technology to assist in putting orders through for new parts.
“Assisted reality wearables enable MHS Truck & Bus to repair vehicles faster and ultimately get the customer on the road more quickly. It was an easy choice to recommend RealWear to MHS Truck & Bus as it’s a hands-free solution that is far superior to other wearables such as smart glasses or other headworn devices. Solutions that require the use of hands are also problematic when frontline workers are using protective equipment such as gloves, where it’s cumbersome to use a touchscreen,” said Mihai Danila, CEO at SETH.
“As pressure is mounting to increase efficiency across the automotive value chain, we’re seeing more and more automotive companies like MHS (MAN Distributor) seeing RealWear as the new worker productivity platform,” said Jon Arnold, Vice President of EMEA at RealWear. “We look forward to taking MHS’s vision of connecting the machine data to the wearables as the next logical step.”