Mercedes-Benz Bus and Coach has set a standard of fleet connectivity and efficiency with a comprehensive range of services designed for Mercedes-Benz and third party brands: OMNIplus ON
At the beginning of this year, Mercedes-Benz launched OMNIplus ON, its web-based portal consolidating all aspects of operational management into one solution. It looks set to define the future of fleet management.
Digital connectivity has defined much of the 21st century. Achieving it for your fleet, drivers and workshop has become essential.
Digital Services Manager of OMNIplus ON in the UK, Benjamin Morris, aptly described the OMNIplus ON Service as a “one-stop shop” for everything operationally and service related to the new Tourismo.
As of June 2018, all new Mercedes-Benz Tourismos are equipped to make comprehensive use of the services. The latest electronic architecture of the vehicles permits new levels of data to be transmitted back to the service centre, something previous models did not allow. As a result, not all of OMNIplus ON’s services can be applied to all vehicles, though retrofitting is still an option for some features.
For any vehicle ordered from factory new, though, a customer need only ask for the system to be activated to start making use of it. There are four sections within the web-based portal. They are OMNIplus ON advance, ON drive, ON monitor, and ON commerce.
The most comprehensive service is ON advance, fully compatible with the latest Tourismo. It defines the movement towards preventative maintenance. A unit within the vehicle constantly monitors status and checks for faults, from a bulb failure to activation of the ‘Regeneration Lock’.
If an item that requires attention is found, a report is sent to both the customer and the customer’s chosen OMNIplus Service Centre.
Recommendations thereon may include a visit to an OMNIplus service centre, or direct integration with its 24hr breakdown team if the fault is severe enough to stop the vehicle, where all of the diagnostic information is already with the 24hr service team and, as such, passed on to the breakdown technician.
Maintenance recommendations and scheduling on the basis of mileage are also a key part of this service, ensuring vehicles remain in tip-top condition. “It provides 24-hour connectivity between us, the operator, the vehicles, and the drivers,” Ben explains.
OMNIplus ON advance is available to any operator with a Mercedes-Benz Tourismo or Citaro built during or after June 2018.
ON monitor provides the operations aspect of the business with all the key need-to-know information in live real-time and on a user-friendly interface. ON monitor offers vehicle tracking twice per second, with no time lags between movements. “We believe operators need real, live time tracking,” Ben says. “We’ve worked hard to make sure it’s accurate to the second.”
All vehicle journeys and location events are recorded in detail – even the time the front door is opened and closed is displayed. OMNIplus ON also offers automated remote tachograph downloads of the driver card and the mass memory, as often as every day if required.
The developers, aware of the importance of accurate driver scoring, have ensured the system offers not only braking, acceleration and coasting information, but also displays retarder usage, cruise control and limiter usage, as well as graphs displaying percentage of brake pedal travel and percentage of amount of use of each retarder stage.
Coupled with EcoScore, OMNIplus ON also offers Safety Score, only available on Mercedes-Benz Tourismo. It provides key information such as if the radar (Active Brake Assist) is activated. Lane Assist and ESP usage is also displayed.
Both EcoScore and Safety Score provide recommendations to the driver and operations team of how to improve their score, an aspect Ben believes is very important for driver development.
With cloud-based servers, OMNIplus ON has the ability to provide over 500 parameters from the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo, Mercedes-Benz Citaro and third-party brands.
As well as status and vehicle checks, such as MPG figures, operators can specify their own vehicle checks for each driver alongside their walk-round check facility.
A route-planner is also offered, with time management showing live data from the tachograph unit such as drivers’ remaining driving time and rest time, as well as current status (driving, rest) allowing operators to better plan feeder vehicles and drivers should a driver be running low on driving time.
For the driver
OMNIplus ON has not forgotten the drivers. Each is registered to the system with a login to OMNIplus ON drive, accessible from all devices with an internet connection.
Departure checks, vehicle condition and defects can be reported quickly, easily and with complete traceability across the platform.
The departure check (walk-round check) feature is easy and quick to follow, and allows for pictures and audio recordings to be sent back to the fleet manager.
Non-safety related cosmetic damage can be reported separately using the damage documentation feature, reducing repetitive reports, as all damage is viewable to the next driver. Fuel tracking is available with a facility to upload receipts for quick and easy cost processing.
Finally, ON commerce provides the operator with quick and easy vehicle specific part information. Live part availability is another key feature. Availability is shown at the customer’s chosen OMNIplus service centre.
Daimler Buses has taken feedback from operators and dedicated itself to developing a set of services that it believes will support the operator in every area.
Will it set the precedent for all future services? “We believe so,” Ben says. “This is a first for us with Bus and Coach. We’ve developed our services in a way that we believe supports every area of the business that the operator is running.”