With the launch of a new generation of trucks, there is always plenty of information available from the truck manufacturers explaining why the new trucks are better than the outgoing models and better than the competition.
MAN Truck is no different. Here they are giving us all some insight into their strategy for trucks destined for distribution operation.
MAN Truck’s Distribution Target
The transport of goods in urban regions and central city logistics are jobs handled by local and inner-city distribution companies: refrigerated trucks supply fresh fruit, yoghurt and cheese to supermarkets; beverage trucks deliver mineral water to customers’ front doors; and tankers fill up the underground fuel reserves at petrol stations. As consumers have come to expect higher levels of freshness and availability, the volume of deliveries being made has increased. In particular, the relentless growth of the online shopping sector has played a significant role in placing greater demands on distributors of all kinds of goods – deliveries need to be made faster than ever, and in greater quantities, too. On top of this, there have also been changes in regulations, such as import restrictions and the requirements governing environmental awareness and noise pollution. In light of these challenges, keeping the supply chain running smoothly every day is an incredible feat of logistics. MAN Truck & Bus is giving its customers in the distribution sector a helping hand with its unparalleled expertise in the industry and the new MAN Truck Generation: the MAN TGL, TGM and TGS series.
The newly designed driver’s workplace
The job of a distribution driver is a demanding one on many levels – in addition to the driving itself, they also need to be able to load and unload their goods quickly at countless different stops. Sometimes they have tools and equipment to help with this, but at the end of the day, a lot of their work still needs to be done by hand.
This makes it all the more important to ensure that their trucks are 100 percent fit for purpose and tailored to their needs as drivers, so they can help them and make their jobs easier wherever possible.
With this in mind, MAN paid particular attention to the driver’s workplace when developing its new generation of trucks. The new, stair-like entrance, which all cabs of the new generation have, is an example of this. Together with the large door opening angle of almost 90 degrees, it enables ergonomic and safe access to the cab. In addition, every driver, regardless of his stature, can easily find the optimum seating position, as the steering wheel and seat adjustment range in the new TGL, TGM and TGS are particularly generous.
The new cockpit comes with a range of ergonomically optimised displays – all of which can be made digital if required – that provide the driver with a quick and clear overview of all the important information they need while they are driving. The focus on user-friendliness shines through in every aspect of the design. All the visual elements are positioned close to the driver’s line of sight as they look at the road, so as to keep distractions from monitoring traffic to a minimum. All controls are within easy reach and the driver can always reach them from a relaxed sitting position without having to look away from the road. This two-level design results in excellent ease of use for the driver, and improves safety levels both for them and for everyone else on the road.
Practice-oriented: distraction-free and comfortable controls
Innovative control elements, such as the MAN Smart Select with its intuitive “turn, press, set” function, help drivers to control all the features of their media and navigation system with as little distraction as possible – from truck-specific route navigation to the radio and hands-free telephone operation. And with the new multifunction buttons, all driving functions can be operated simply and intuitively on the steering wheel without the driver having to let go of it.
During the design of the innovative driver workstation, MAN’s Development team continuously took into account feedback from over 700 drivers, who had taken part in various types of model, simulator and test route studies throughout the development process. The design quality of the driver’s workplace of the new MAN Truck Generation also convinced the juries of two renowned design prizes, which awarded this user-friendliness a Red Dot in the Red Dot Award 2020 and a Gold Award in the German Design Award 2021.
This latest generation of MAN trucks also comes with a range of ingenious practical details, such as the new MAN EasyControl operation panel in the lower door area. Activating hazard warning lights, closing the windows and sunroof, locking the passenger doors, and activating the controls for the tail lift – all this can be done using this additional control element, even from outside the cab. As a result, the driver no longer needs to waste time and energy climbing back into the cab to perform these small tasks.
The new cab design ensures that the new MAN TGL, TGM and TGS are not only particularly practical but also have a strong visual appearance. With the striking lion in the radiator grille and the dynamic sweep of the optional LED headlights, they underline their origins as a genuine MAN of which the driver and entrepreneur can be equally proud.
Reliable helpers: assistance and safety systems
The convenience and user-friendliness of the new cockpit and its controls is complemented by a range of cutting-edge assistance and safety systems, which are designed to make life easier for drivers of the TGL, TGM and TGS models.
First and foremost among these is the Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), which is fitted as standard and, depending on the situation, can either minimize the consequences of rear-end collisions of even prevent them completely. For to make the job of a distribution driver easier in busy city traffic, the trucks can be retrofitted with specially designed camera systems such as the VAS (Video Turning System), Bird View (a 360-degree vision aid), and a radar-based turning assistant, the latter of which is currently available for the TGS and will be rolled out for the TGM and TGL at a later date. A variety of additional optional assistance and safety systems, such as the Lane Departure Warning System, the Lane Return Assist, the Lane Change Support, the ACC adaptive cruise control system, and the high-beam assistant are also available for certain series.
Suitable for use: product portfolio for every customer requirement
However, distribution trucks need to be suited to work in the industry not only from the driver’s perspective, but also from that of the contractor. During the development of its new Truck Generation, MAN invited 300 international clients to Munich to participate in workshops where they could hash out the key criteria for the vehicles. The findings from these sessions were incorporated into the design, as a result of which the MAN TGL, TGM and TGS can now be adapted even more individually to every application segment and each body solution. This means that, when it is shipped from the factory, the truck is already equipped in such a way that it can be quickly and cost-effectively built up for the necessary transport task in a targeted way. This reduces the demand and costs for subsequent installations or modifications and ensures that the new truck can be put to use immediately in the customer’s day-to-day operations – in keeping with the MAN motto, “Simplifying business”.
A strong partner for distribution customers
In order to ensure that customers in the distribution industry receive the best possible advice when purchasing their MAN TGL, TGM or TGS, MAN has developed a new configuration tool based on basic configurations for specific vehicle applications – such as a chassis for a tanker. When combined with other, more specific requirements from the customer, this enables MAN’s Sales staff to create the perfect vehicle for the transport task at hand. However, this “integrated offering” gives the customer more than just a vehicle – they also receive personal assistance from a single source to create an integrated transport solution that incorporates all the necessary agreements with vehicle body manufacturers, plus offers for complementary services such as financing, extended warranty, service agreements, and much more.
Suitable for every application: tonnages and cab variants
With the TGL (GVW 7.5 t to 12 t), TGM (GVW 12 t to 26 t) and TGS (GVW 18 t to 41 t), MAN can offer the right truck to cater to any light, medium or heavy-duty distribution application. MAN offers cabin types in four different heights and widths for the three models. Thanks to their slender external width of 2.24 metres, these are all suited to the various demands of the distribution segment, and to use in traffic and manoeuvring situations where space is limited.
For daytime-only use and vehicles with large loading lengths, the short CC cab is recommended for the TGL and TGM, and likewise the NN cab for the TGS. For demanding applications. For applications where a bunk or bed is required for sleeping one or more nights on the road, the flat FN and high FM cabs are the perfect choices.
Many variants: chassis for every transport task
Regardless of whether a dry box, a flatbed with sliding tarpaulin, a special body for beverages, a refrigerated box or a tank is to be mounted on the truck, the chassis of the TGL, TGM or TGS will meet all requirements.
A wide range of wheelbases, chassis heights, axle layouts and suspension types are available. With the MAN HydroDrive hydrostatic front-wheel drive, which can be activated as required, the TGS also provides the perfect solution for distribution trucks that spend most of their time on the road yet still occasionally require higher traction. This can apply on routes with loose road surfaces, for example, where the wheels of the drive axle alone cannot provide enough grip to get the truck moving. This situation will be familiar to drivers of milk collection trucks and anyone else who often finds themselves driving in rural areas. Additional technical systems, such as automatically lowering leading and trailing axles with variable axle ratio, the optional high-load roll stabilisations system on the TGS, and the convenient MAN ComfortSteering active steering system on the TGM and TGS, allow for perfect handling and safe driving.
In addition to this, all MAN TGL, TGM and TGS models now come with MAN’s new electronics architecture, which ensures that every truck is supplied only with the exact cable kits it requires for its individual equipment and application. This saves weight, and makes the vehicle more maintenance-friendly, efficient and affordable.
Ready for any setup: industry preparations ex works
As a general rule, MAN supplies its distribution customers with the body preparations required for many different applications right off the assembly line, which MAN Individual complements these with special designs and solutions straight from the factory.
This not only means that customers receive everything from one location stress-free and without any waypoints, but also that MAN can guarantee their customers extremely high standards in terms of reliability, adherence to and fulfilment of all legal specifications, and functional reliability. It is also an extremely economically efficient approach, as providing the perfect equipment in advance saves the time that would otherwise be spent on conversion and new builds further down the line – and as we all know, time is money.
But that saying doesn’t just apply to time: a truck’s payload – the weight it can transport as a load – is money, too. Although the new MAN truck generation drives up with a reinforced cab shell structure for even greater crash safety, the TGL, TGM and TGS have an excellent payload balance in all configurations. For the customer, this means a higher revenue and increased safety.
Proven competence: long-term cooperation with body builders
With the new TGL, TGM, and TGS trucks, MAN offers a wide variety of products and outstanding flexibility when is comes to basic vehicles for use in the distribution industry. But for MAN, “Simplifying Business” doesn’t stop at the top edge of the chassis – quite the opposite, in fact.
Complete transport solutions are designed to combine a truck with bodies, semitrailers or trailers to create a perfect tool for the customers. Because of this, Man considers close collaboration and a constant exchange of ideas with the manufacturers of the most common bodies to be essential.
This approach enables the MAN to adjust its trucks according to the body manufacturer’s requirements during the development phase, and then take them into consideration later on during the vehicle ordering and delivery process. MAN operates its own digital ABBI (Advanced Body Builder Info) platform for exchanging data and information with body builders, thus ensuring everything runs smoothly for its customers.
Economical and clean: engines for every distribution application
However, it’s not just their practical nature and range of configuration options that makes the MAN TGL, TGM and TGS great choices for distribution applications – they also use the latest generation of clean, powerful and efficient Euro 6d engines for maximum efficiency and economy. For light to medium-duty distribution applications, the two engines in the D08 series provide an ideal base for an efficient driveline.
Depending on their number of cylinders (four or six), capacity (4.6 or 6.9 litres) and output (six variants, ranging from 160 hp to 320 hp), they are used in the TGL and TGM models. For the TGS in the medium to heavy-duty distribution sector, the D15 engine is the first choice.
It was originally developed and introduced in 2019, has a nine litre capacity and a performance spectrum of 330 hp, 360 hp and 400 hp. For TGS models used in the heavy-duty distribution sector, there is also the option of the MAN D26 engine. This is perfect for vehicles that are regularly required to tow heavy trailers with a gross train weight of 40 tonnes, such as those often used to transport beverages, large refrigeration units, heating oil, and milk. The 12.4 litre, six-cylinder model is available in 430 hp, 470 hp and 510 hp output variants. The ongoing further development of the engines has improved their fuel consumption and reduced wear, and has also garnered attention thanks to the minimised maintenance costs and resulting fewer trips to the workshop.
Sector-specific: Transmission programs for every application
The second component that is essential to an efficient driveline is the gearbox. With the 6- or 12-speed variants of the MAN TipMatic, an automated gearbox is available for all engines and special gearbox functions that are precisely tailored to the engines ensure even greater efficiency and driving comfort.
The hardware is intelligently supplemented by various driving programs that are perfectly tailored to different industry applications and at the same time support the driver in a fuel-efficient driving style. In addition to the Efficiency and Efficiency+ programs, which are more geared towards classic road use, there are also programs for off-road, tank transport or waste collection applications.
Drivers of a MAN TGS can also make use of the optional new MAN EfficientCruise programme. This GPS-based assistance system compares the position of the truck with the navigation data and the topography of the planned route, and uses this information to continuously calculate the optimum speed and gear-shifting strategy. EfficientCruise also factors in information on traffic infrastructure, such as roundabouts on the outskirts of small towns and villages, and reduces the vehicle’s speed accordingly in good time.
The efficient interaction of engines, transmissions and industry-specific driving programs is further supported by the aerodynamic optimizations of the new cabin design. This makes the TGL, TGM and TGS particularly energy-efficient on the road.
MAN Connected CoDriver: Digitally supported training for drivers
A more efficient truck is one aspect of the picture when it comes to reducing fuel consumption. The other factor is having properly trained drivers that can use their truck to its full potential. However, this isn’t always easy in distribution applications due to the many different type of road and traffic situation drivers will often encounter.
That’s why MAN supports drivers with driving data analyses to help them optimise their driving style economically and offers them a variety of additional practice-oriented coaching and training courses with MAN ProfiDrive – in the case of the MAN Connected CoDriver even with a driving trainer who is connected live during the job. The basis for this is provided by MAN DigitalServices, which make available a comprehensive portfolio of data and evaluations relating to the new MAN Truck Generation.
Optimum vehicle availability: after sales and digital services
MAN services do not come to a sudden stop as soon as a new MAN TGL, TGM or TGS is handed over to the customer. After all, especially in the distribution industry, where every day is a challenge in keeping thousands of people supplied with basic amenities via their supermarkets, for example, optimum vehicle availability is crucial. MAN supports its customers not only with extensive after-sales services but also with intelligent MAN DigitalServices.
These work with the vehicle’s operational data, which are made available by the RIO Box installed as standard in every new MAN, and which can be used for fleet and operational analyses, the proactive MAN ServiceCare maintenance management or the legally required archiving of driver card data. MAN Digital Services thus make the deployment and management of the vehicle fleet easier and more efficient for the company and make it possible to plan costs. MAN DigitalServices also offers an App especially for drivers, which supports them with digital departure control, MAN base search and digital short operating instructions for switches and indicator lights via scan function and makes communication with the service organisation easier in the event of a breakdown.
Similarly, drivers and owners of a new MAN can rely on the large MAN Service network with 1,688 workshops in 138 countries worldwide. The MAN service centres ensure optimum support with technically advanced vehicle diagnostics, and the trained staff from the MAN after-sales team on site always assess services with an eye to cost-effectiveness in order to offer customers the best cost-benefit ratio.
Suitable MAN service contracts that also provide planning and cost certainty. Maintenance and repairs are of course carried out using MAN genuine parts, 80% of which are always available in the workshops, thus minimising the service life of the truck. In addition to the excellent service and maintenance offer, the reliable Mobile24 breakdown service is also part of the MAN Service portfolio, providing help and support in the event of a breakdown.
Proven reliability: new distribution trucks with MAN quality
Another factor that is essential for ensuring a vehicle remains available for use is long-term quality. In this regard, MAN has done everything in its power to ensure that the high product quality of its previous series is upheld by its new generation of trucks: Since 2012, the TÜV has been evaluating the results of statutory inspections for commercial vehicles.
These are then published every two years in what is known as the TÜV Report. Particular attention is paid to safety-related components, such as the body, chassis, lighting system, brake system, driveline and visibility equipment. Since the collection of this data first began, MAN has continued to increase its high number of defect-free trucks. In fact, with increasing vehicle age, MAN vehicles return above-average results in terms of being free of defects, and achieve the best results amongst all trucks inspected by TÜV.
This shows that MAN vehicles are reliable throughout their operational life. The MAN TGL, TGM and TGS models in the new MAN Truck Generation have all the attributes to make sure that it stays that way – for all application profiles in every sector of the distribution industry.