Driving down operating costs
MAN’s product strategy focuses on reducing total operating costs for its customers through acknowledging that long-term relationships require knowledge of a customer’s business, and ensuring that vehicles yield maximum long-term benefits.
According to FX Laubscher, product manager at MAN Truck & Bus, there are three key aspects to ensuring customers’ total ease of mind through minimal operating costs. These are extended service intervals on MAN’s long-distance on-highway trucks; increased drivetrain warranties; and maintenance and service contracts.
“Together, these three aspects ensure minimum downtime and minimum operating costs,” explains Laubscher, “which is our ultimate goal.
“After extensive in-field testing it was found that our new Euro 2 D20 and D26-engined TGAs can reach an oil drain interval of
40 000 km when using semi-synthetic engine oil,” he continues. “The testing also showed that a mineral oil in the same engine yields
30 000 km before an oil drain is required.”
The effect of an increase in oil drain intervals results in operators having more productive time available, because trucks can travel greater distances for longer before requiring servicing.
“A 25% higher production availability in the scheduled services category relates to seven additional profit-earning days on the road relative to the previous 30 000 km service interval availability,” confirms Laubscher. “While other makes of truck are in the workshop being serviced, our vehicles are out there making money for our customers.”
MAN is able to offer an extended drivetrain warranty on its TGA range because of the exceptional performance of this particular product in the African operating environment, which Laubscher points out is hardly surprising, given that the TGA was specifically engineered and tested for these very conditions.
“Previously, all TGAs were sold with a two-year unlimited mileage warranty,” he says. “This has now been increased to a three-year/ 600 000 km warranty.
“Increasing the service warranty is one of the ways in which we can comfortably shoulder the costs our customers may face, thereby reducing uncertainties during these economically trying times.”
Maintenance and service contracts remain an essential component in choosing a truck as well. Says Laubscher: “Survival in today’s competitive transport environment is all about careful planning and elimination of risks and factors of uncertainty.
“Through offering suitable service and maintenance contracts to our customers, we take a significant amount of guesswork out of operators’ business plan models, allowing them to be more competitive in thnee market.
“As part of our service offering to our customers we have also developed an array of service and maintenance contract options, allowing our customers to select the most suitable service and maintenance plan for their operations. We are also not prescriptive in our offering and allow our customers to itemise components and assemblies which they would like to include in their maintenance contract plan,” he concludes.
At a time when reliability is vital to the profitability of a transport operator’s business, strategies designed to keep trucks not only on the road, but running efficiently and at low operating costs are critical for a business’ sustainability. MAN’s understanding of this has not only resulted in the new TGA, but the service and warranty plans supporting the product.