Training and education: they’re foundational to so many industries, including ours. The reasons for this are seemingly self-evident, but nonetheless, thorough training of employees including technicians and drivers is neglected more often than it should be.
That’s understandable—trucking is a demanding industry, with constant deadlines to hit, shipments going out and coming in, maintenance and driver concerns, the list goes on. Yet skipping out on necessary training could cost your fleet time and money in the long run. Take filtration and coolant, for instance. According to Jay Stephenson, North American Training Lead for Fleetguard, the perception across the industry is that one coolant or filtration product is as good as any other—but this isn’t always the case.
“The perception [of filters and coolant] is that they’re all very similar,” Stephenson explains. “As a result of that perception, people often just pick the cheapest product they can get their hands on.”
For a fleet, he notes, a truck is an investment and should be treated as such.
“You want to take care of that truck and you want to use the right parts on it,” he continues. “You want to maintain it well and maintain the value of that truck. Obviously, that’s going to lead to hopefully more uptime and more productivity for that vehicle—and for a business owner, that means more money.
“So if the perception is, ‘We’re just going to use the cheapest product we can get our hands on because they’re all the same,’ ultimately that can cost you money in the long run because the cheap product that you thought was the same as the more expensive one could cause some problems,” he continues. “That’s not necessarily a truck down, but maybe it’s shorter service intervals. There’s that over-the-counter cost that you think about, that price, versus what our industry loves to talk about: total cost of ownership.”
Among the training and education resources provided by Fleetguard are some basics on Fleetguard.com that Stephenson says make for a good place to get started if you’re trying to learn more about how filters and engine coolant work, the different kinds of filters that are used for different applications, etc.
“We want to make sure that people understand not all filters or coolants are created equally. Gaining that understanding, knowing how to differentiate between types and technologies for your own unique situation, can help lead to a lower total cost of ownership for whoever is footing the maintenance bills for your fleet,” he explains. “For example, coolant can be particularly confusing and intimidating to customers. Formulations and technologies have changed quite a bit over recent years, and not knowing which type of coolant to pick or how to maintain that coolant can be detrimental to the longevity of a heavy-duty diesel engine. In our experience, training is a fantastic way to help educate customers on the different solutions in the marketplace today, what red flags to watch for and how to best protect their vehicles through proper maintenance.”
Beyond that, he says, is Fleetguard’s Fleet School offering (Fleetschool.com), a free training website that has been going for more than 10 years.
“The Fleet School website was designed as a way to provide education to people that want to learn more about how an engine filter works and the different kinds of filters that go on an engine,” Stephenson says, “really walking through some of those basic principles that would get somebody up to speed relatively quickly. So, for example, if you want to learn more about how a fuel filter works and what a fuel filter’s job is on an engine, you can take a course and walk through that material; or if you want to learn more about how an air filter works and what’s different about an air filter functions versus a fuel filter, then Fleet School is a great resource for you.”
Stephenson highlights a program that took place in early 2021 called Fleet School Live. It was a five-week program that served as an interactive webinar version of many of the training topics offered on Fleet School. 10 filtration-related topics were covered, and the sessions were recorded and can be viewed on Fleet School today.
Stephenson says that it’s also a great place to start for those who are new to the diesel engine world. Learning more about the challenges that equipment and vehicle owners face today, and the types of solutions that filtration and coolant companies bring to the marketplace, will help those customers overcome the challenges that they’re facing.
The training, Stephenson continues, can help correct some of the common misconceptions in the industry, specifically surrounding coolant, adding that there’s a “great need” to train people on using the right coolant for the right application.
“Many people we encounter are concerned about the color of the coolant they’re using, when in reality, color doesn’t doesn’t mean much of anything,” he says. “There are a lot of misconceptions and perceptions out in the marketplace that we’re trying to help correct—whether they end up using our product or not—just some basic principles that can guide them and put them in a better position than where they were yesterday.”
Fleetguard offers resources on YouTube as well—with the video platform becoming such a global behemoth, it’s naturally become the first place many look for tips about their vehicles’ parts and maintenance.
The channel, Stephenson notes, also includes plenty of step-by-step ‘how-to’ videos, filter installation videos, etc. For example:
“We offer material on coolant that is addressing common questions: Can I mix coolants? What does coolant color mean? How often should I be replacing my coolant? We’re trying to help try and address some of those questions in a very easy-to-digest format,” Stephenson shares.
If you’d like to know more, visit www.fleetschool.com.