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Truck stories we’re thankful for

Jason Morgan is the content director of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 15 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

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Art by Tammy House

The trucking industry has a lot to be thankful for this year. Sure, we have our share of challenges (we’re looking at you, Supply Chain), but the fact is that trucking flourished during the pandemic and came roaring out of it. While other industries were cutting hours and some even closing their doors, trucks rolled large. (Labor shortage issues? Welcome to the party, we’ve been dealing with driver shortages for… well, ever.) Fleets like yourself put in near record setting new truck orders. Electric trucks actually started working and are now a reality.

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So let’s pause for a moment and tell the headaches to hold on (we’ll deal with you in a second, DEF sensors). We’ll deal with our problems in a moment, but right now, we’re going to take stock of how lucky we are. And that goes for the Fleet Equipment staff as well. We have been able to tell awesome stories this year and bring you the equipment insight you need to manage your fleet more efficiently. Here are some of our favorite headlines from the year (so far).

Cummins carves a new path forward

Jason Morgan, content director:

I always appreciate all of the opportunities I have to talk with trucking industry leaders. In our exclusive Executive Interview series this year alone, we’ve been fortunate enough to spend time with the likes of Bendix, Navistar, Peterbilt, Geotab, Mack Trucks and Volvo Trucks, to name a few. I was especially grateful to talk with Jennifer Rumsey, Cummins president and chief operating officer, because our interview couldn’t have come at a more interesting time.

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As I noted in the lede, we talked the afternoon after Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its report that showed that humans are impacting climate change, and the time is now or never if we’re going to do something about it. In talking with the world’s biggest diesel engine manufacturer, Rumsey’s candor and vision for what Cummins will become in the years and decades to come made for an excellent story. One I was thankful we got to tell.

Who could have predicted?

Jason Morgan, content director:

More than ever, Fleet Equipment is a product of collaboration and team work. That’s doubly true as we’ve beefed up our video content offering this year. We launched FE’s Data Center service technology focused video series in January with the aim of making service data analysis and usage approachable and fun. One of the biggest mile markers of the video team showing off what they could do was when I had two of me, on screen, interacting in a way that defied our assumed technical shooting limitations. Holy ****, they pulled it off.

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Predictive maintenance can be hard to wrap your head around, but if data could save you from spilling your cup of coffee (which I do with alarming regularity), then it could have even greater impact on stopping your trucks from ending up on the side of the road. That’s what the video team showed with the two Jason hosts (I swear, there’s only one of me in real life). This early episde was a gateway into more zany Data Center antics, and featured great info from Noregon on where the industry is going with predictive maintenance. Check it out if you missed it:

Michelin helps to get fleets rolling for the 2 millionth time

David Sickels, senior editor:

Two million roadside tire service calls. Two million times a fleet needed a helping hand, and 2 million times (and counting) Michelin was happy to oblige. At this year’s TMC Fall Meeting, Michelin North America Inc. announced that its Michelin ONCall Emergency Roadside Service surpassed 2 million roadside tire service events. Launched in 2009, Michelin says it handled more than 243,400 calls in 2020.

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Any service that helps fleets stay active on the road instead of trapped in the service bay is a winner in our book (we’ve only shot nine On the Road videos about how to reduce downtime in the past two years. Here’s a recent one on tires). It’s fair to say that if fleets have tapped Michelin’s service 2 million times to help prevent or manage breakdowns out on the road, the company is probably doing something right.

What fleets don’t realize about electrification until they’re electrified

David Sickels, senior editor:

If you’ve logged on to fleetequipmentmag.com at any time this year, there’s about a 98% chance you were greeted with a story about electrification (that’s not official data, but my gut tells me I’m right). OEMs are developing new electric trucks, aftermarket manufacturers are making breakthroughs in electric drivetrain technology, and some of America’s largest fleets are announcing they’re going electric.

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Don’t get me wrong, fleets are far from throwing their diesel trucks to the wolves, but the interest in electrification is there – and questions come from that sense of curiosity. What are the operational challenges of converting to electric? What new data points need to be tracked? What do fleets running trucks with EV drivetrains say is their biggest surprise after converting? These questions need answers for adoption rates to grow – and we’ve got ’em.

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