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TCC / Volker Tzschucke dated 24.02.2010 vom 24.02.2010

HGV Conversion goes Paperless

pro et con GmbH has expanded the MANTED portal for MAN Truck and Bus AG, Munich to a central interface between the service department and vehicle owners

Buying an HGV is the start of a long-term relationship. For unlike a car, there are many technical modifications that the owner may wish to make to his vehicle, which cannot be performed without consulting the manufacturer. Different tyres, technical configurations, integrated motors – a check by the manufacturer and obtaining approval is essential not just from a safety perspective, but also for warranty reasons. “This requires close communications between manufacturer and vehicle owner”, explains Dr. Uwe Kaiser, managing director of the Chemnitz-based pro et con GmbH.

Systematic, fast and user-friendly
For vehicle manufacturer MAN Truck and Bus AG, Munich, these communications carried on as normal for many years until November 2009. Faxes, emails and letters were sent back and forth, and telephone calls were made, until finally all the required applications and vehicle documentation were available to the competent department, “Engineering Services & Consultation” (ESC) at MAN, and approvals could be issued. “In some cases it could drag on”, so Kaiser, “because documents were missing or were provided in poor quality.” In addition, the volume of applications continued to increase in recent years. It soon became necessary to manage an ever growing stream of paper and to shorten processing times for applicants. For this reason, pro et con GmbH, together with ESC, decided to expand the existing Internet platform MANTED (MAN Technical Data, into a central interface for communications between manufacturer and customer.
Today, vehicle owners submit their applications for their MAN HGVs via the portal in a standardised and paperless format. Straightaway the customer can see which documents are needed for his application and can also submit these immediately. Application documents that are incomplete or of unsatisfactory quality are a thing of the past. “The data flows so much faster and easier”, Kaiser explains. Furthermore, the documents are now also immediately available in digital format to the ESC department, who are then able to process them without a time delay via the system. Approvals, confirmations, configuration and responses to the customer are now automated processes. The programs used to do this were designed as part of the project. “Overall, this has greatly improved the workflow, and both MAN and its customers are getting results much faster”, says Kaiser.
The system has been up and running since 10th November 2009. Processes are handled in a timely fashion, systematically and without redundancy and are also archived following successful completion. The change has elevated the customer management system in the MAN ESC department to a new level of quality.

Modern software architecture for successful communications
This is made possible by software developed by a Chemnitz business, which is based on a so-called 3-tier architecture. This consists of three layers: the user interface was developed using dynamic HTML. Asynchronous data transfer using the Ajax programming language guarantees system performance despite the high data volume. Using the input screens, the applicant enters all necessary information, as well as documents - for example vehicle registration documents - in all common formats such as pdf, jpg or tif. The middle layer of the software holds the functionality of the software system. Finally, the base layer is a relational database – a collection of interrelated data tables, which store information without redundancy. The basic functionality is extended by security measures such as registration, authorisation and authentication, as well as an automatic archiving system, which restricts the paper deluge and eliminates archiving on microfiche in the MAN specialist department.
MAN Truck and Bus AG and pro et con GmbH have entered into a long-term partnership. The featured software project “MANTED Online Services” is only one module within a complex venture entitled “Harmonisation and Integration of Technical Databases” (HIT). As part of this venture, a number of software migration and re-engineering projects have already been jointly carried out successfully, and others will follow in the future.

About the company:
pro et con Innovative Informatikanwendungen GmbH was founded in 1994, as a spin-off from the Chemnitz University of Technology, by scientists from the Faculty of IT and got off the ground in the Technologie Centrum Chemnitz. The business is a technology leader in the field of high-level migration and re-engineering projects (automatic transformation from historically grown program systems into modern software and hardware environments). It currently has 14 members of staff, who take care of companies such as the Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, COSMOS- Versicherung, MAN Truck and Bus AG und Amadeus Germany.
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