"Data competence is becoming increasingly important"

Interview: Maximilian Birle, Head of Sales & Service Telematics and Digital Services at Krone, on the increasing importance of telematics applications for commercial vehicles and the challenges this poses for manufacturers and customers.

What is the significance of telematics in the commercial vehicle segment?
The commercial vehicle industry was one of the first business sectors to be introduced to telematics and has had a major impact ever since. In the beginning, it was more about purely technical monitoring, but in the meantime, it has also become a matter of networking logistics chains. A commercial vehicle that is not connected to telematics cannot participate in a digital logistics chain today. Telematics also plays a significant role in efficient fleet management.

Which topic is currently most important to your customers – the transport companies?
Traditionally, our customers are haulage companies. Until now, they have mainly transported goods, but now they are suddenly becoming data transporters and producers. This is a transformation that raises many questions – from data protection to the question of who can (and may) access which data, when, where and for what purpose. Many medium-sized haulage companies have recognised that data competence is becoming increasingly essential for them – and this naturally also applies to Krone. We invest a lot of money and time to further expand our expertise in this regard.


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Maximilian Birle (36) is Head of Sales & Service Telematics and Digital Services at Fahrzeugwerk Krone. He is convinced of the digitalisation potential for the transport industry.

What is the main focus of telematics use today?
The main functions are to record the position of a trailer and its course. In the case of coolers, the precise documentation of the cooling transport chains is added as an indispensable function. Then there is the issue of safety, especially for the pharmaceutical industry and for high-value goods, where a special level of safety must be maintained during transport. For example, there is a special safety system that ensures that the driver can no longer open the trailer on his own, but needs a remote-controlled release from his dispatcher in accordance with the principle of dual control.

Where is the trend heading?
Above all, it is about achieving the best possible level of data utilisation. Telematics has now transformed from a monitoring system to a support system that, for example, documents tyre pressure and wear, thus enabling damage to be repaired before it even becomes visible.

Who is the driving force behind these new developments: the manufacturer, or the customers?
I think one can really speak of a symbiosis here. Of course, customers are a strong driving force in this transformation. And, by the way, this exchange works very much in the spirit of partnership, whereby large customers also have excellent IT departments of their own and, in individual cases, even advance to independent IT system houses in order to be able to distinguish themselves from the competition. On the other hand, of course, it is as Henry Ford said: “If I had asked the cowboys what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” For us as a manufacturer, the challenge is always to think and develop in very complex dimensions so that we can reach the next level of innovation.

Photo: Krone

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