MICHELIN at the service of truck drivers
MICHELIN RoadConnect: by truck drivers, for truck drivers
Sticking closely to the needs of truck drivers … that’s one of Michelin group’s ambitions, specifically by providing applications to make their daily lives easier. And the news is that after the launch of the RoadConnect application at the end of 2017, Michelin has just announced its acquisition of the activities of the free application, Truckfly, one of the top applications used by European truck drivers …
Launched in September 2017, co-constructed with truck drivers themselves, the Roadconnect app (Android and iOs) enables drivers to organize their journeys logically and agreeably, taking account, in real time, of incidents on the roads and restrictions linked to the transport of dangerous materials. For example, the “planning” function gives an estimated journey time with three possibilities: the shortest by distance, the fastest and the most economical. The “break” (or SmartBreak) function shows the closest truck parks and service stations as well as truck stops along the route. A driver can also record his favorite restaurants and can see their address, telephone number, opening times, menu price, etc. Another function allows drivers to communicate with a community using the Spea’k app. It’s a sort of modern day CB that enables live conversation between truck drivers on a private or public channel, to exchange details of what’s happening on the road (traffic jams, obstacles...) or to assist one another. It is also possible to locate in real time the people one is close to and to contact them directly via the app (by phone or email). With 6,000 installations already on Smartphone (iOs and Android), and monthly growth of 10 to 15%, the RoadConnect community is starting to gain momentum.
Truckfly : la reine des POI
Within the context of its strategy to increase its proximity to truck drivers, Michelin has just announced its acquisition of the activities of the TruckFly free app, which gives drivers details of Points Of Interest (POI): truck drivers’ restaurants, truck parks, service stations, etc. Contributions are made by the community of drivers who have already downloaded the app and stops are detailed and commented to provide everyone with information that is reliable and, above all, regularly up-dated by the community: 120,000 drivers already in Europe, of whom about 45% in France.
3 questions for
Innovation Initiative Leader, Incubator Programme Office (IPO) Michelin Europe, en charge du programme RoadConnect
Why were you interested in TruckFly? What does this acquisition mean?
Started about 18 months ago, the MICHELIN initiative RoadConnect is still at the proof of concept stage (POC). The current ramp-up phase is interesting but still in incubator mode, we need to make progress quicker. That’s why, when the Parisian startup Truckfly, which provides us with the points of interest (POI) for RoadConnect, offered us the possibility of taking over its activities, we had no hesitation in doing so. It really was the right thing to do because it already has one of the biggest POI databases in Europe, which is regularly up-dated by its community of users, which is also one of the largest in Europe. We are buying only the software section, with the community and the name, but not the company, which will continue with other activities under another name.
What will be the difference, tomorrow, between the two apps TruckFly and MICHELIN RoadConnect? What is the synergy with MI RoadConnect?
It’s true that at first there was maybe a bit of competition between the two apps. But TruckFly only deals with POI. They also had a community aspect which we had developed rather less with RoadConnect.
Truckfly is an app that is very easy to use, with a name that is already well known amongst drivers. That’s why we’re not going to change it. The app will continue to be free of charge, we are going to improve it by integrating into it in particular some RoadConnect components, such as a lighter version of Smartbreak which will detail top points of interest located all along a journey. Our ambition is also to continue to enlarge the community, hoping to achieve 300,000 users within two years. That would make it one of the largest Michelin communities.
With regard to MICHELIN RoadConnect, we want this offer to become complete by integrating other MICHELIN apps into it, such as MyTraining, MyRoadChallenge, MyInspection… aimed at fleet managers so that they can provide it to their truck drivers.
So, to summarize, we’ll have on the one hand a free, improved version of Truckfly, for rather more personal usage on truck drivers’ phones, and on the other MICHELIN RoadConnect, in a pay version, aimed at fleets and for professional usage.
More generally, what is the Michelin strategy for truck drivers?
Truck driving is for people who are passionate about their job and for professionals. Two qualities which, I believe, also characterize us pretty well here at Michelin. So it’s not surprising, therefore, that we are getting alongside truck drivers, to help them. And then of course they are also real influencers and real order-givers in terms of tires. So it’s also a way of getting close to them, helping them more and getting to know them better. To set up RoadConnect we therefore worked directly with about thirty truck drivers to co-construct the app based on the issues they told us about: management of their route and breaks, social interaction, etc.