PHILADELPIA. Testing is about to get more convenient and affordable for fleets looking for a way to objectively validate vendor claims about trucks and aftermarket equipment performance.
PIT Group, a Montreal-based engineering and research group for the North American trucking industry, is opening an Atlanta office and aiming to significantly increase its presence in the U.S., PIT leadership announced at the 2015 ATA Management Conference & Exhibition here this week.
Officials characterized the organization as “an outsourced engineering department” and “the Consumer Reports of trucking.”
The model, they explained, is essentially a co-op research organization whose members decide which tests to undertake and share the costs, with fees based on fleet size. Members also have access to the current knowledge base—unbiased evaluations of some 250 technologies.
To “make sure the model that’s been working in Canada is the right model for the U.S.,” PIT surveyed 20 American fleets, explained Mike Fielden, a transportation logistics executive with over 35 years of industry experience who will lead the U.S. operation.
“The large fleet operators, not surprising, did a lot of road and track testing. And most of the fleets preferred to use their own trucks, on the road, and do it themselves,” Fielden said. “But of the smaller and mid-sized fleets, some didn’t test at all. They made decisions based on ‘art form,’ and that’s not a good way to make an ROI decision.”
But the bottom line for PIT was that the fleets agreed they needed better testing, and “there are capabilities that the group has that fleet’s just don’t have,” he added.
PIT Group is also adding the U.S. as a location for road testing, and will use its technology certification process known as “Energotest.” Applying stringent SAE/TMC protocols to test member equipment, PIT Group will hold two Energotest events in Canada and two in the U.S. each year.
“PIT Group has become the benchmark for precise, verified and unbiased data on the return on investment fleets can expect from green technologies in Canada,” said Director Yves Provencher. “With the continual need to improve competitiveness and the increase in environmental compliance restrictions, the demand for green technologies has never been stronger. Our US office will enable us to offer the level of service and experience we’ve been providing Canadian fleets and that US fleets expect.”
PIT Group consists of engineers, technicians, eco-driving trainers and fleet management specialists that can guide fleets in selecting the product that is best suited to their needs. Membership fees are $46 per power unit for the first 500 units; $28 for the next 500 units, and $9.50 per power unit for the remaining units, with a minimum fee of $5,000 annually.
“Large and small carriers alike benefit tremendously from PIT Group membership,” said Provencher. “Larger carriers view us as a seamless extension to their engineering teams whereas smaller carriers consider us their entire engineering department. Bottom line, we have no agenda other than to certify and implement the best and most fuel efficient and environmentally friendly technologies in North America.”
PIT Group works in cooperation with the U.S. SmartWay Transport Partnership, Natural Resources Canada, and Environment Canada, which selected PIT as the benchmark facility for testing green transportation technologies. PIT Group is affiliated with the American Trucking Associations, the Technology & Maintenance Council, and the Truckload Carriers Association.
For more information, visit www.thepitgroup.com.