Challenges MAN Truck & Bus is on a continuous digital transformation journey. Managing product information through the organization's various legacy enterprise systems was becoming too complicated given the task of complex customization.

MAN Truck & Bus hits the fast lane with ThingWorx Navigate

MAN Truck & Bus, based in Munich, Germany, is a leading international provider of commercial vehicles and transport solutions in Europe. The largest subsidiary of MAN SE, MAN Truck’s products range from heavy goods vehicles to city buses and coaches—as well as diesel and natural-gas engines. The manufacturer owns production plants in three European countries, as well as in Russia, South Africa, India, and Turkey.

Business challenges

MAN Truck was on a digital transformation journey. The manufacturer prides itself on producing individualized products for each of its customers. However, juggling product information through the organization’s various legacy enterprise systems was becoming too complicated to handle given the complex task of customization. What the manufacturer needed was a core PLM “backbone” for its product development – a stable system to manage data with core, foundational functionality – so that the team could continue to develop and manufacture products efficiently.

To achieve this, MAN Truck turned to Windchill, PTC’s Product Lifecycle Management solution. Making the move from legacy systems to Windchill, however, was not as simple as rip-and-replace. “Since our legacy systems were still being used by stakeholders throughout the product lifecycle, we were concerned about losing the valuable information that they stored when the organization switched to Windchill,” said Martin Mundinus, PLM Program Manager, MAN Truck & Bus.

In addition, stakeholders outside of the engineering team needed to have access to important product information that had, until this point, only been available to engineering. MAN Truck needed a way to easily give its enterprise stakeholders access to product information without requiring them to undergo comprehensive training to gain a basic understanding and access to engineering systems. 

The solution

To ensure that they could smoothly make the transition from its legacy systems to Windchill while extending product data to the enterprise, MAN Truck turned to ThingWorx Navigate – a set of task and role-based applications that get the right product data from various enterprise systems into the hands of the users who need them. ThingWorx Navigate makes it possible for stakeholders to continue using legacy systems without requiring them to invest in the systems any further with new information. For example, MAN Truck is moving away from its legacy drawing release program. With ThingWorx Navigate, users can see a mash-up of information from the legacy program and Windchill to determine which drawings have been released.

In addition, by deploying ThingWorx Navigate alongside Windchill, MAN Truck will be able to easily customize its user experience without complex adjustments to its core PLM system. This prevents the manufacturer from experiencing complicated updates or upgrades in the future.

MAN Truck and Bus Deploys ThingWorx Navigate

Results and next steps

The roll-out of ThingWorx Navigate has allowed MAN Truck stakeholders to maintain a high-level of productivity as they move to Windchill. Currently hosting 200 users, the manufacturer is planning to roll ThingWorx Navigate out to 2,000 users and expand the product’s use cases. ThingWorx Navigate will made it possible for MAN Truck to begin internal digitalization of its processes.

Says Mundinus: “Not only has ThingWorx Navigate made the transition from legacy systems to Windchill smoother, it has also demonstrated the value extending product information to more stakeholders than we have previously.”

The company is now exploring other use cases for getting product data into the hands of stakeholders using ThingWorx Navigate – including extending to production engineering systems. MAN Truck is also exploring the use of smart, connected products and building a digital twin with PTC’s ThingWorx platform. The manufacturer has been working on a prototype of a connected truck that would combine the GPS location and other real-world information from products in the field with product information from engineering and manufacturing. This combination of the digital information with the physical experience of the product will allow MAN Truck to determine when and where issues arise and bring that quality information back to production. MAN Truck is also exploring the use of augmented reality (AR) for providing service to trucks in the field. Using an AR headset, users can document quality issues on a product that automatically are fed back into both design and production.