They are our "big" helpers in everyday life and even save lives - municipal and fire servicevehicles. From May 5 to May 9, 2014, innovations in the supply and waste management sector were being presented at the IFAT Trade Fair in Munich.
Karsten Weber and Martin Zaindl look proudly at their vehicles. "Sometimes you´re not even fully aware of everything municipal vehicles can do or all the things they are used for. But without them, we´d be lost in everyday life," says Mr. Weber. "These trucks are used to collect waste, sweep roads, clear snow and clean sewers. Everything that we take for granted," adds Mr. Zaindl. For two-and-a-half years, the two experts have been working effectively together as a team in the municipal and fire service vehicle sector at MAN. They are now in the process of going through all the innovative features of the vehicles on display at the fair just one more time, discussing for instance adjustments to vehicle front ends, which include a front mounting plate for a snow plough and raised lighting for winter operations.
Messrs. Weber and Zaindl know the branch inside out. Together with his forty municipal salesmen, Martin Zaindl is responsible for selling the vehicles in Germany, while Karsten Weber holds responsibility for the worldwide vehicle portfolio as Segment Manager Product Marketing. He and his colleagues coordinate both the requirements of each individual country and management of the body manufacturers. In the case of vehicles for municipal services, manufacturers like MAN supply the truck itself, whereas the bodywork, for instance for road sweepers, comes from specialized body manufacturers.
In these sectors, no model resembles another, every truck being modified to meet individual customer wishes. "Even in Germany, there are many different demands. In the south, for instance, vehicles are needed that can also cope with mountainous terrain. In other regions, they have to survive floods. No matter what type of vehicle is required, we always work closely with the body manufacturing industry," explains Mr. Zaindl. "For us it is important that our vehicles are equally suited to every body manufacturer. This is why workshops are held to integrate all the manufacturers into the design stage early on, so that we can identify their requirements in good time and react accordingly," says Mr. Weber.
Karsten Weber and his colleagues receive important input for improving the vehicles from sales colleagues all over the world. Since each country has its own standards, committee work is also daily routine for Mr. Weber´s team. "In this way, we become aware of new developments at an early stage. All the information is bundled together to give an overall picture. In this field, you need to be sensitive to trends and have previous experience," says Mr. Weber.
Introduction of the Euro 6 emission standard for fire service vehicles was a good example of how well cooperation with the body manufacturers functions. MAN was the first company to market Euro 6 for fire service vehicles. "The bodywork is highly complex in the case of fire service trucks. Two to three years before the market launch, we were already talking to various body manufacturers with worldwide representation and explaining the changes about to be made to our vehicles. For instance, where the exhaust systems, air intake and AdBlue tanks would be repositioned in future," reports Mr. Weber. "The body manufacturers were also supplied with pre-production vehicles at a very early stage to allow them to adapt their bodies to the new technical requirements," explains Mr. Zaindl.
This close cooperation has paid off. MAN already holds a good market position in Europe. "We hold a clear lead in the market for fire service trucks in Germany and in recent years have been able to considerably gain market share in the municipal vehicle sector," emphasizes Mr. Zaindl. Which are high figures considering that in the case of most fire services, the whole team is involved in making the decision. "After all, firefighters actually have to work with the vehicle for twenty-five years and must be able to operate it well and provide assistance," explains Karsten Weber. Both experts´ eyes light up when talking about the vehicles. "That´s obvious," says Martin Zaindl and laughs. "Even as children, people think fire service trucks are great. Everyone knows their typical bright red color." For a long time, these trucks also occupied Mr. Weber in his spare time. "I eventually became commander of a voluntary fire service. It´s also an advantage for me to know exactly why customers come up with some request or another regarding our chassis."
At this year´s IFAT, the world´s leading fair for the water, sewage, waste, and raw material industry, MAN was, among other things, showing the Hydro Hybrid, a waste collection vehicle driven by hydraulic hybrid technology. Waste collection trucks are ideally suited for regenerative braking systems since they repeatedly brake and reaccelerate over short distances in the course of emptying dustbins on a stop-and-go basis. The braking system still works, even when the driver takes his foot off the gas. This results in fuel savings of up to 15%. MAN will was also presenting many other Euro 6 solutions for the industry at the fair, all of which have one thing in common – they are perfectly attuned to the needs of both users and body manufacturers.
Protection against fire and other disasters depends on having emergency vehicles you can trust.