New Trucking Technology: How Industry Leaders Choose Where to Invest
In the trucking industry, innovations are always imminent. That’s why we continually seek information about new trucking technology that could make our trucks safer, more reliable and less expensive to operate.
Part of the responsibility of a maintenance operation is to find value in quality parts, lubrications and performance products. Since newer isn’t always better when it comes to choosing new technology, we need to make sure we make solid decisions and sound investments. That’s why experienced trucking companies research and test new trucking technology before introducing it across their fleet.
Research: Manufacturers’ Recommendations and Our Pressing Concerns
For most truck parts, our choices are driven by our own experience, as well as the manufacturers and their recommendations. When choosing a new parts provider, we begin by determining our biggest needs and highest priorities. We look into what issues and problems our drivers most commonly experience, as well as the best ways to reduce unnecessary maintenance expense.
We evaluate these providers based on perceived safety, performance and cost improvements. This is done by listening to the manufacturers’ recommendations; reading third-party reviews and evaluations. Our final evaluation is accomplished through testing in a real life setting.
Test: Real Road Conditions
Since the truck parts we use have such a great impact on both safety and performance, when we are considering making a change, it is done very gradually. Before investing in new technology for the whole fleet—whether it’s new tires, new engine components, or new communication technology—we want to make sure that we’ve made the best choice possible for our applications. After doing rigorous research to learn more about our many options, we test the parts and components under consideration to see how they fare with regular use. We want to make sure that the changes we implement are as safe and effective as possible.
Trial: Control Groups
As an example: we recently decided to try starter-capacitors (starter modules) to help extend the life of our trucks’ batteries and to prevent road calls for dead batteries. This is actually very new technology for commercial purposes (it comes from the military). We tested the new capacitors on a few trucks that had a history of issues of no-starting road calls. After examining the results, we saw that the capacitors performed very well. This past year we have been installing the capacitors in trucks where they will have the greatest impact.
A maintenance department’s primary role is to make sure all our equipment is safe, reliable, functional, and operating at the most reasonable cost possible. We are always looking for ways to extend the profitable life of a tractor or trailer.
New technology plays a big role in helping us meet these goals.