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Another challenge: Manufacturers, step up efficiency

Fleets we speak to are looking for products that are dependable, reliable and that have a decent payback. A two-year return on investment is what most of them are looking for.

In previous blogs, I issued challenges to drivers and fleets to do everything they can to help improve fuel economy. Each plays an important role in getting the most out of the vehicles they drive, manage and own.

But the reality is drivers can only improve their driving habits given the things fleets spec on their trucks and fleets can only spec what is available to them. That brings us to truck manufacturers and component suppliers.

Fuel efficiency gains start with what is baked into the truck design itself as well as what optional equipment is available for fleets to spec on their new trucks or retrofit on their existing vehicles.

I first have to mention that the truck makers to date have done an excellent job on improving the aerodynamics and powertrains of the base truck. That alone goes a long way toward reducing fuel consumption.

But today I want to challenge you to do more when it comes to developing and deploying options that help fleets operate more efficiently. Fleets we speak to are looking for products that are dependable, reliable and that have a decent payback. A two-year return on investment is what most of them are looking for.

I want to challenge manufacturers to continue to work on improving the reliability and durability of their products. I also want to challenge them to bring second, third, fourth and subsequent generations of existing products to market more quickly and to try to keep costs down as much as possible while improving the quality of those products. Make them more available to all the duty cycles and as many niches as can be done.

I attend quite a few industry events and I often hear manufacturers and suppliers talk about being customer focused. Today I am challenging you to do even more than just talking about that. I want you to walk the talk and that means listening to fleet input on how products are performing in the real world and not fall back on touting product performance based on laboratory or limited field-testing.

I am not asking manufacturers to rush products into development or to take a loss when they bring something to market. I am challenging you to manufacturer trucks and components that help fleets get closer to the average 10.1 MPG number we know is achievable based on results from Run on Less in a reasonable amount of time and with a reasonable payback period for the fleet.

I don’t think that is too big of a challenge. If you need help knowing what areas to focus on, talk to your customers, engage with other manufacturers or check us out. Our Confidence Reports provide a roadmap on what to work on.

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