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Transportation notebook.

Editor's Note: Transportation Notebook will now be featured in every issue of Modern Brewery Age magazine. Contributing editor Seth Skydel serves as the executive editor of DES Magazine, a publication known in the transportation industry as "The information source for truck left equipment managers."

Did you know that by some estimates nearly 55,000 vehicles in the U.S. are actively employed in the delivery of beer? That's almost twice the number of power units than those operated by the three largest less-than-truckload common carriers in the U.S. combined, and it approaches in size fleets at the country's largest truck leasing companies.

Why am I telling you this, you ask? My point is that whether a company operates one truck, or a fleet of 1,000 vehicles, its managers have many of the same considerations about equipment, its operation and maintenance. Whether your fleet is large or small, used in local service or driven long distances, one thing all fleets have in common is that the cost of transporting products to customers is sizable making it imperative to focus on efficiency and productivity.

Telling you what you probably already know is not my purpose, however. What I do intend to accomplish on this page in upcoming issues of Modern Brewery Age is to bring you information about trucks and fleet management that I think you will find useful and informative. Here's a partial list of subjects that may sound familiar:

* Specifications.

* Maintenance.

* Regulations.

* New Technologies.

* Industry Trends.

* Safety Issues.

* Cost Control Methods.

* Environmental Concerns.

* Drivers.

* Computers.

* Fuel Economy.

* Financing.

* Leasing.

* Training.

If there are others you'd like to explore, please don't hesitate to drop us a line.

One thing I'd like to tell you about right away is an opportunity that's coming up quickly. What I'm talking about is The Maintenance Council of American Trucking Associations, and its 1994 Annual Meeting and Transportation Equipment Exhibition scheduled for February 28 through March 4 in Orlando, FL. Now before you say that TMC is great only if you operate a tractor-trailer fleet, let me fill you on one of the council's latest projects. In response to calls from fleet managers and suppliers, TMC has created a new study group devoted exclusively to medium- and light-duty vehicles. At its first meeting, held just about one year ago, more than 200 organizations were represented by over 300 fleet managers and suppliers.

Known officially as S.14--Light-and Medium-Duty Trucks, the study group has as its objective nothing less than promoting the effective design and maintenance of small and mid-size commercial vehicles, their systems and components. Initial focus group meetings identified over 50 topics of interest in five main areas, including electrical and electronics; tires and wheels; engines (gasoline and diesel); cabs and bodies; and chassis/brakes/drivetrain.

At last count, the study group has active task forces exploring electrical/electronic diagnostics; electrical system cab and body routing and installation; tires and wheels; oil change interval considerations for light-and medium-duty engines; EPA emissions requirements; cab and body systems preventive maintenance procedures; and brake rebuilding. In addition to conducting surveys and other types of research into these issues as they relate to light- and medium-duty trucks, the task forces will develop Recommended Practices for users and manufacturers of Class 2 through 6 vehicles to assist them in writing effective specifications based on well thought out designs. Meanwhile, another TMC initiative is taking into account the future needs of companies operating light- and medium-duty trucking equipment. The council's Tomorrow's Trucks program began nearly ten years ago, and in its third and most recent paper presented to the Society of Automotive Engineers, a discussion of light- and medium-duty trucks was included for the first time.

The main challenge issued by TMC to manufacturers is to develop mid-size commercial vehicles by the year 2000 that have an average service life of 25 years or 250,000 miles. Other specifics noted the need for standardization and life cycle improvements in electrical, electronic, chassis, brake, drivetrain, engine, cab, body, and tire and wheel-end systems.

Last but not least, a word about the upcoming 1994 TMC Annual Meeting and Transportation Equipment Exhibition. Along with a full schedule of technical sessions on a variety of topics, each of the S.14--Light- and Medium-Duty Trucks task forces will meet. The study group as a whole will also hold a technical session on tires, focusing on new technologies, cost saving opportunities, specs, reteading and more.

The TMC annual meeting hosts one of the industry's best equipment shows, so noted because exhibitors send their top technical personnel to provide information to TMC's highly sophisticated viewing audience.

More information about The Maintenance Council, the S.14--Light and Medium-Duty Trucks Study Group or the upcoming Annual Meeting can be obtained from TMC, 2200 Mill Road Alexandria, VA 22314-5388. TEL. (703) 838-1763; FAX (703) 836-6070.
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Title Annotation:truck fleets management
Author:Skydel, Seth
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jan 31, 1994
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Next Article:Pioneers end up with arrows in their backs!

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