Inspiration and Information at TMC

Feeling very inspired these days in part because of all the great presentations I attended and conversations I had during the recent Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition.

As a meeting attendee I was given the opportunity to download the Executive Summary of TMC’s Future Truck Fleet Survey, which details TMC’s current projections on the future of trucking technology and business practices.

It was chock full of great stuff. Here are a few of the many things that caught my eye:

  1. Fleets expect OEMs to offer fully integrated solutions so that technologies, components and systems do not have to be added after truck assembly is complete. This is right in line with what we are hearing from the fleets we speak with during research for our Confidence Reports. We’ve called this Availability in our past work – is the technology available, at the OEM I want to buy from, in the configurations I need, assembled online, etc.  Fleets want this in part because warranty will be in one place, service and diagnostics will be seamlessly integrated and any interface with the drivers will occur without having to add additional displays.
  1. Fleets want OEMs to fully validate new technologies over the life cycle of the vehicle or at least for the full length of the warranty period. Fleets indicated that they are tired of being the testing ground for what should be production ready technologies.  Our business is complex and I realize not all configurations can be tested, but they should be reviewed thoroughly for acceptable durability. 
  1. Technology and communication are changing rapidly. Big data is the name of the game. However, manufacturers need to find ways to respond more rapidly during product development. Trucking needs to work together to offer solutions that use the same terminology and have the same service practices so that fleets can do accurate comparisons of product and technology offerings.

My takeaway from all of this is that manufacturers and suppliers need to do a better job of testing and validating their new product offerings, need to work together to ensure that information is presented using common language and that information needs to be shared more freely for the benefit of all.

That doesn’t seem like too much to ask and we are willing to do our part to facilitate the process because we believe the more information available the more likely fleets are to make the technology investments that will result in better mpg and a smaller carbon footprint.  Reach out to me if you want to help us in that role.  Keep truckin.

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