In some recent posts, I've commented that integration is the natural order of business as companies work to grow and become more important to their customers. Integration is also a good way to make things work more smoothly, such as when my wife takes a picture with her phone and it automatically syncs to her tablet and laptop and is backed up--all for a price of course.
In the world of trucking, integration is also about getting the best performance and fuel efficiency out of a vehicle, from the engine to the wheels. That's why the vehicle OEMs and the component suppliers are working to make the powertrain/drivetrain work together better. I heard a new twist on integration this last week. We all know trucking is filled with different applications, different routes, different challenges. Several OEMs suggested they are now focused on making their integration be more customized to the needs of each fleet. Integration is not a "one size fits all" solution, but rather, a careful understanding of the real world, based on feedback derived from embedded telematics systems. With that information, the many choices of engine parameters, transmission gear ratios, axle combinations and more can be tailored to the need.
For years, I've seen experts in fuel economy work with fleets to improve their fuel economy quickly by better understanding the fleet operation and changing a few parameters. Imagine now, that the expert's knowledge is expanded and improved by having hundreds or thousands of pieces of information to work with, not just his or her personal knowledge and expertise. Yeah, that's called BIG data. So, if you take expert knowledge, integrate it with a broader experience in the industry and marry it with the best components designed to work together more closely like a team, rather than prima donna individuals, you get a winning combination rather than the best of individuals that cannot work together. Ain't it inte-GREAT-ion!!!