WABCO India is a leading manufacturer of conventional and advanced braking systems with several manufacturing units, a testing facility in Chennai and a technology centre that is constantly involved in researching and developing intelligent systems for commercial vehicles. WABCO is known internationally for its outstanding engineering, manufacturing and design capabilities and also sources products and systems from WABCO India.
WABCO’s majority stake acquisition of the Brakes division of Sundaram Clayton in 2009 also meant that they roped in the then-President of the division, P Kaniappan. Since then he has led WABCO India’s strategic growth in the market as Director.
In conversation with APF, P Kaniappan, MD,WABCO India Ltd, talks about the company’s new fleet management solutions, their acquisition of Transics and how the company has developed and hopes to expand on solutions for fleet vehicle management in order to reduce risks, improve performance and efficiency, and reduce fuel consumption.
Could you provide an overview of WABCO India's operations in the automotive segment?
WABCO India is a leading supplier of intelligent technologies and services that improve the safety, efficiency and connectivity of commercial vehicles (CVs). The company designs, manufactures and markets conventional braking products, advanced braking systems and other related air assisted products and systems. WABCO India has grown significantly in the Indian commercial vehicle market and serves its aftermarket customers through a wide national distribution network. The company has five world-class manufacturing facilities, a technology centre and a vehicle testing facility near Chennai to test commercial vehicle braking systems including anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic braking system (EBS) and automated manual transmission (AMT) technology as per IS standards. WABCO India has over 4400 employees and reported Rs 2,103 crores in sales in FY 2016-17.
How would you define fleet management solutions (FMS)?
WABCO's fleet management solutions (FMS) helps to improve the efficiency of fleets by providing accurate vehicle information updates through live tracking and vehicle activity monitoring. It helps to monitor fuel consumption and reduce maintenance costs in addition to improving vehicle utilisation and performance. With IP67 protection hardware on the offering blended with USB and Gyro sensor features, WABCO's FMS provides accurate vehicle information updates. It gauges the fuel efficiency and driver behavior management and helps in improving vehicle utilisation and performance. The portal is user friendly and offers live monitoring which makes FMS a path-breaking product in the commercial vehicles segment. It supports dashboard analytics at vehicle, fleet and organization levels with customized reports. WABCO's FMS is integrated with cloud based interface and an android enabled platform.
What is the company's contribution in this area? How has FMS evolved over time?
WABCO INDIA introduced FMS in the aftermarket in October 2015. We have sold over 3,000 systems to date and supplied to over 300 fleet customers. Subsequently, we approached OEMs to offer this solution as a standard fitment and the product has evolved to suit leading OEM requirements. The current FMS offered to OEMs and fleet customers is an advanced system which is capable of communicating with electronic engines and can give access to vehicle CAN data such as engine speed, fuel consumption, system temperature and diagnostic fault codes. This data helps to monitor vehicle performance and hence improves fleet efficiency by optimising the overall maintenance cost.
WABCO is continuing to execute its strategy to expand its fleet management solutions to commercial vehicle operators globally. With the acquisition of Transics International, we can now leverage the powerful combination of WABCO’s commercial vehicle systems expertise and industry-leading safety and efficiency technologies with Transics’ world-class fleet management solutions. This integration of comprehensive real-time data gathered from WABCO’s onboard advanced braking, stability control and efficiency systems with Transics’ innovative telematics services will offer fleet operators a rich source of data to enhance their fleet services, gain operational productivity and increase vehicle safety and efficiency.
How will FMS contribute to cost reduction?
Fleet management solution collects real -time data and provides unique information to the fleets / OEM’s. Data is available via web service integration and mobile application at one place which is easily accessible for the fleet owners. It is also programmed to send real time alerts to multiple user groups that save time for fleet managers, service centres and cargo owners. The analysis of performance of the vehicle coupled with the sensor data helps in reducing operational costs and damages for fleets. FMS is a key factor which optimises capacity investments and planning for fleets.
What will be the role played by telematics and on-board connectivity?
WABCO India specialises in mobilising vehicle intelligence. Our telematics solutions make it possible to communicate across the sensors all over the world. CV segment is headed towards a connected future and WABCO India has developed on-board diagnostics and remote monitoring solutions which guarantee maximum uptime. Predictive maintenance when applied via telematics will help the CV operators in collection of critical data for analysis. Predictive maintenance also identifies the key issues and this data can be made available to provide the necessary feedback to the fleet operators. Telematics also has a trigger warning system which alerts the drivers and even points out the location of the nearest service centre. Telematics solutions are offered as an OEM fitment and WABCO India emphasizes on the fact that it is a complete solution and adds value to the fleet.
Is the company engaged in further research and development regarding taking the new generation of FMS ahead?
We are working to integrate our FMS with our other product offerings like anti-lock braking system (ABS), automated manual transmission (AMT), advanced driver assisted system (ADAS), tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), vehicle load monitoring sytem, etc. Another focus area is integrating a driver behavior monitoring / alert system which is a camera based solution to monitor driver fatigue and drowsiness. In addition, we are developing a driver distraction alert system by using deep learning concepts. By combining all these product features, WABCO India is in a unique position to offer intelligent transport system (ITS) which will improve driver efficiency and enable truck and bus owners to optimise their fleet's performance.
How does the company propose to educate the CV community about FMS?
We are regularly meeting fleet owners through our aftermarket network to demonstrate our product solutions. We conduct various events like technology days for end users / fleet owners to demonstrate and educate them about the benefits of FMS and are also continuously working with OEMs to promote WABCO FMS as a standard fitment for their vehicles.
What will be the long-term benefits of FMS?
FMS is not just a software product, it is a complete solution which offers long term benefits like fuel efficiency, fuel monitoring and time management. Effective fleet utilisation can be optimised with FMS. It offers track and trace capabilities to optimize fleet management. Remote diagnostics allow fleets to provide immediate support to the drivers on the road and reduce downtime by allowing them to schedule preventive maintenance. It improves safety by monitoring information about the vehicle and the driver and it is capable of sending alerts to the driver to direct him to the nearest service station. FMS also provides sensor data to improve vehicle handling and reduce operational costs to the entire commercial vehicle value stream (OEM’s, dealers, and fleet owners).
What is WABCO India's growth plan for the automotive sector over the next few years?
WABCO India operates five world class manufacturing facilities in India and currently invests Rs 100 crores annually in R&D to develop next generation products and systems.
The company will make appropriate investments in production facilities, technologies and manpower as per market requirement. We will continue to operate on our three-pillar strategy of technology leadership, globalisation, and excellence in execution while also continuing to pursue aftermarket opportunities and automotive application of our products and systems. We also expect to continue to outperform the market in every region of the world.