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Fleet & Trucking

Discussion in 'Auto, Tractor, Motorcycles, Racing, and Mechanics' started by searcher, Aug 10, 2017.



  1. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Buying fleet vehicles part 1: Do you know the TCO?

    Jun 9, 2017
    by Joe Thompson
    President, ROUSH CleanTech


    When a Granny Smith apple costs $1.79 a pound and a Macintosh just 99 cents, it’s easy to compare one apple to another. But when it’s time to decide on a fuel for your new fleet vehicles, the choice is not so simple.

    With different fuels burning at different heat energies, comparing miles-per-gallon ratings of fuels such as gasoline, diesel, propane autogas and natural gas isn’t conclusive. To achieve a true side-by-side comparison, you must look at the total cost of ownership (TCO) between various vehicles and their specific fuel.

    Here are some factors that come into play for TCO:
    • Initial vehicle price
    • Alternative fuel system conversion costs (if applicable)
    • Fueling infrastructure
    • Vehicle maintenance
    • Fuel costs
    • Fuel efficiency
    • Number of annual miles driven
    • Vehicle cost per mile
    • Vehicle warranty
    Figuring the initial vehicle price is fairly straightforward. Your dealer will provide those costs depending on what type and how many of the vehicles you plan to add to your fleet. Many alternative fuel vehicles can be ordered directly through an OEM dealership. For instance, propane autogas trucks with ROUSH CleanTech fuel systems can be ordered directly through a Ford dealership and come with the full Ford factory warranty. And you might be surprised to learn that purchasing a new vehicle equipped with a propane autogas fuel system, rather than gasoline or diesel, may not add much to the initial cost of that vehicle.

    You can also purchase new vehicles and have them retrofitted to take advantage of the benefits of an alternative fuel. Just be sure to add the cost of that retrofitting to your total cost of ownership estimate — and be aware that changes made during retrofitting may void the vehicle’s warranty.

    Although fuel costs vary, your past usage records or average cost information provided by a fuel supplier can help you pin down the fuel portion of TCO. We’ll take a closer look at fuel and infrastructure costs in our next post in this series. Our final post in this three- part series explains how online calculators can help when determining TCO so you can make the best possible decisions for your fleet. Be sure to check them out, and join the conversation here.

    http://fleetowner.com/fleet-management/buying-fleet-vehicles-part-1-do-you-know-tco
     
  2. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Buying fleet vehicles part 2: The “Aha!” Moment

    Jul 5, 2017
    [​IMG]
    by Joe Thompson
    President, ROUSH CleanTech


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    When something that seems complex suddenly becomes simple, you might experience an “Aha!” moment. Making decisions regarding which fleet vehicles to buy can involve layers of complexity. Understanding the total cost of ownership (TCO) of vehicles can help you cut through those layers with ease and confidence.

    The cost of fueling infrastructure is one part of determining TCO for a fleet vehicle. Environmental and emissions costs, if they are a fleet requirement, must be accounted for as well.

    While building a fueling infrastructure might sound prohibitively expensive, ROUSH CleanTech’s propane autogas fleet customers learn that the actual cost of an on-site propane filling station is reasonable and the construction is simple. The fuel supplier you choose can provide the equipment — in many cases you just need to prepare the site, which the Propane Education & Research Council costs about $1,500 to $7,500, depending on your fleet size. PERC estimates an organization with a small fleet can purchase its own fueling infrastructure (including the pump, tank and dispenser) for between $25,000 and $50,000. Larger fleets requiring stations with higher-capacity tanks, a canopy and multiple dispensers could invest $50,000 to $200,000.

    The fleet infrastructure costs for propane autogas come in much lower than those for other alternative fuels, like electricity or compressed natural gas (CNG). The Natural Gas Vehicles for America estimates that CNG fueling stations can cost between $675,000 and $1,000,000 to build.

    Meeting environmental and emissions regulations can be a critical factor in your vehicle fuel choice. As a domestically produced, clean-burning fuel, propane autogas can help make your fleet “greener” without the expensive emissions technology required with diesel vehicles.

    If using an alternative fuel seems inconvenient or outside standard procedures, it’s tempting to discount making a switch. Let the numbers guide you and inform yourself about the costs and benefits. In our next post in this three-part series, we explain how online calculators make running the numbers easy so you can decide the best fuel for your fleet. Join the conversation here.

    http://fleetowner.com/fleet-management/buying-fleet-vehicles-part-2-aha-moment
     
  3. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Buying fleet vehicles part 3: Using clear vision

    Aug 8, 2017
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    by Joe Thompson
    President, ROUSH CleanTech


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    “Blind as a bat” makes sense, because bats have to use a kind of radar system to get around, right?

    Yes and no. Some bats do use echolocation, but they aren’t blind: All bat species have eyes and can see. Our knowledge of history and science is filled with these common misconceptions that are easily proven false.

    When choosing new vehicles and perhaps a new fuel for your fleet, using quantifiable facts and figures will make your decisions clear. In this three-part series, we’ve discussed the importance of total cost of ownership (TCO) in comparing vehicles and fuels. To make sure you’re not flying blind, take advantage of available online calculators to measure TCO.

    You can find many helpful online TCO calculators, including:
    Each of these calculators allows you to input information specific to your situation, like vehicle cost, fuel price per gallon, total lifetime miles, federal incentives and more. The EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator will be helpful if you need to factor environmental and emissions costs into your fleet’s TCO.

    The calculators do the work of generating data that can guide your choices. After running the numbers, many fleet operators discover that propane autogas offers lower TCO than conventional fuels like gasoline and diesel and other alternative fuels. In situations where annual miles driven is high and a vehicle’s fuel efficiency is low, propane autogas will provide an even quicker return on investment for that vehicle.

    Choosing vehicles and fuels isn’t simple. We are always happy to answer any questions you have on alternative fuels or fleet vehicles; just comment below or send me an email. Or join the conversation here.

    http://fleetowner.com/ideaxchange/b...m=email&elq2=065e37ec84404a57a8d80f79e4ed104d
     
  4. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Spot truckload rates, demand stay hot into August
    Aug 9, 2017

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    The surge of freight during the last full week of July continued into the week ending Aug. 5, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards, as August had a stronger start than any month in more than a year and a half. The number of posted loads was nearly unchanged compared to the previous week while available capacity fell 2.1%.

    National average van, flatbed, and refrigerated rates all increased.

    For van freight, load posts edged up 2% while truck posts fell 3%, bumping the van load-to-truck ratio from 5.2 to 5.5. The national average van rate increased 3 cents to $1.82/mile, higher than the average rates for June and July. The biggest rate jumps were on lanes heading to retail distribution centers in the Northeast in advance of back-to-school shopping season.

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    Buffalo, N.Y., saw the largest average rate gain of any major van market last week, up 11 cents to $1.98/mile. Other key outbound markets: Chicago, $2.15/mile, up 7 cents; Dallas, $1.74/mile, up 2 cents; Los Angeles, $2.12/mile, down 1 cent; and Atlanta, $2.09/mile, down a penny.

    Flatbed load posts declined 7% last week while the number of truck posts rose 2%. At $2.22/mile, the national average flatbed rate was 3 cents higher compared to the previous week. Overall, 18% more flatbed loads moved last week than the week before and rates are holding up well especially in the Midwest. Rock Island, Ill., averaged $2.75/mile (up 25 cents) while Cleveland hit $2.25/mile, up 17 cents.

    Nationally, reefer load posts increased 4% and truck posts fell 2%. The average reefer rate rose 4 cents to $2.12/mile.

    Rates are derived from DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on prevailing spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. All reported rates include fuel surcharges.

    http://fleetowner.com/finance/spot-...m=email&elq2=065e37ec84404a57a8d80f79e4ed104d
     
  5. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Pump my ride
    Aug 7, 2017

    [​IMG]
    by Paul Menig
    CEO, Tech-I-M LLC


    I was just thinking earlier this week why the large oil companies are not paying attention to the disruptive nature of the push for greater fuel economy and cleaner air.

    Cities are banning combustion engines and now countries are laying plans to eliminate their production. Auto companies are under attack for not meeting emissions requirements around the world and, possibly, for colluding in the process. One auto company, Volvo, has announced the intent to electrify all its vehicles in the next decade. Granted, electric and hybrid vehicle production is an extremely small percentage of the total production today.

    Everyone still complains about range anxiety, lack of infrastructure, and the time to recharge. Yet, improvements are being made in range and time to charge. Where is the push for better infrastructure? Wouldn’t the existing infrastructure of fueling stations complete with deli’s, restrooms, and snack centers be a good place to pump coulombs of electrical energy as well as gasoline, diesel, and ethanol?

    Apparently the sleeping giants have begun to stir. Today I read that BP is in talks with the electric carmakers to offer charging docks at their fueling stations. It’s somewhat the classic strategy story of the buggy whip which went away when the horsepower pulling the wagon changed to the combustion engine rather than a horse.

    The large oil companies should see themselves in the energy business, not the oil business. They’ve already adapted to providing natural gas as an offshoot of their oil business. But, that was easy, as it was a wasted by-product of producing oil originally.

    Moving into providing just the pumping service for power is a step. Might they become a FaaS company, Fuel as a Service by pumping any form of energy? Or, will they stick to their core competency of mining and processing raw materials for energy? If the latter, they could buy mines for lithium. They could become battery manufacturers owning the giga-battery factories just as they own the huge petroleum processing plants. Might they go so far as to own a power plant, producing the energy? Maybe. I think they will adapt to fuel our need to move around regardless of the energy source. Whether I’m traveling in a tractor-trailer rig, a medium-duty pickup truck with a bucket, an SUV with the family, a micro-electric car, an electric bicycle, or an electric skate-board, “I need more power, Scotty!” Pump My Ride so I can keep going.

    http://fleetowner.com/ideaxchange/p...m=email&elq2=2852c07fad2b4199b1bc286cf4088471
     
  6. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Ram Truck beefs up 2018 model 3500 HD pickup
    OEM boosts diesel engine torque and adds new in-house designed fifth wheel hitch.

    Aug 11, 2017 Fleet Owner Staff

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    The new 2018 Ram pickups will be arriving in dealerships sometime this August. (Photo: Ram Truck)

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    With the start of 2018 model year production, Ram Truck is boosting the capability of its 3500 HD pickup model; increasing available torque for its optional diesel engine package and adding an optional fifth wheel designed by Ram Engineering that can tow up to 30,000 lbs.

    Working closely Cummins, Ram said the 3500 model for 2018 will feature higher boost limits through a variable geometry turbo and flow rate increases through the fuel delivery system for its optional Cummins 6.7-liter I-6 diesel engine.

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    Those improvements produce an additional 30 lb.-ft. of torque for 930 total lb.-ft. of torque.

    Ram noted that its 30,000-lb. fifth-wheel towing uprating will allow customers to move away from Class 4 and 5 trucks to haul trailers that would have otherwise been limited to 24,000 lbs.



    Ram 3500 Heavy Duty maximum gooseneck and conventional hitch maximum trailer weight ratings for the 2018 model year are 31,210 lbs. and 20,000 lbs., respectively.

    http://fleetowner.com/hd-pickup-van/ram-truck-beefs-2018-model-3500-hd-pickup
     
  7. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Tires: Avoiding failures
    Simple steps can help fleets and their drivers avoid catastrophic truck and trailer tire debacles while on the road.
    Aug 9, 2017 Sean Kilcarr | Fleet Owner Magazine



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    (Photo: Thinkstock)

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    Q&A: Tips for taking care of tires


    Checking and maintaining proper air pressure for truck and trailer tires is probably one of the more irritating and time-consuming maintenance tasks faced by drivers and fleet managers alike. And that’s doubly true for highway tractor drive axles and trailer axles spec’d in traditional “dual-wheel” configurations, as checking and maintaining air pressure on the inner dual tire position is a physically taxing chore in numerous ways.

    All the stretching and straining required for reaching the valve stem on an inner dual tire sometimes convinces drivers to skip this important step—required by pre-inspection protocols—or use dubious methods for attaining the air pressure level within a tire, e.g., “thumping” tires with a baton or other such object.

    Ralph Dimenna, COO of Michelin Americas Truck Tires, a division of global tire maker Michelin, noted that a tire that is 10% underinflated will lose 10% in tread wear and will come out of service quicker. He added that a tire that is 20% below the optimal air pressure is considered a flat tire and warned that tires operated in such underinflated conditions will experience “casing fatigue” that could lead to a catastrophic failure or a zipper rupture.

    “If the tire has been run 20% underinflated, it should be removed from the vehicle and scrapped,” Dimenna stressed.

    Under guidelines established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration under its Compliance Safety Accountability program, a tire that is found to be operating with less than 50% of its maximum pressure is considered to be in an out-of-service condition, putting a truck or tractor-trailer on the side of the road until it can be replaced.

    The reason commercial vehicles are sidelined in such situations is that underinflated tires experience higher temperatures and greater stress, thus presenting an increased risk of failure, explained Jon Intagliata, product manager for tire pressure monitoring systems at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems.

    “Industry research has indicated that about 90% of tire blowouts can be traced to under-inflation, and almost half of all emergency service road calls are tire-related,” he added.

    Intagliata noted that research by the Technology & Maintenance Council, which is an arm of the American Trucking Associations trade group, found that tire under-inflation of just 20% results in a 30% reduction in tire life.

    “Another pressure-related issue is that of dual-tire imbalance,” he added. “When you’ve got a pair of tires side-by-side on an axle, if one is running at a lower pressure, it’s essentially got a different circumference than its neighbor. This means that as the axle rotates, that tire’s going to drag and experience excessive wear, increasing the chance that it’s going to fail prematurely.”

    There’s also another safety aspect of under-inflation to consider as well beyond just a heightened risk of tire blowouts, he emphasized.

    “Advanced safety technologies really do rely on maintenance of basic components like tires to ensure best performance on the road,” Intagliata said.

    “If you’ve invested in systems that help prevent or mitigate forward collisions or that intervene through braking power to help prevent rollovers, the last thing you want is to reduce their effectiveness through something as easily preventable as poorly inflated tires,” he pointed out.

    Brian Buckham, general manager-product marketing for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., stressed that while it’s difficult to predict what will happen to a tire when it’s rolling down the highway, preventive maintenance is the one thing that helps ensure tires are in optimal condition before they hit the asphalt.

    “Like other truck components, tires require post-installation maintenance—and good truck tire maintenance starts with frequent air pressure checks,” he emphasized.

    “Generally speaking, maintaining proper tire inflation pressure is probably the single most effective maintenance practice that a fleet can employ to positively impact tire wear, casing life and overall tire performance,” Buckham noted. “As such, both over- and under-inflation should be avoided. Under-inflation can be particularly harmful, as running a truck tire under-inflated for a long period can induce excessive heat buildup.”

    In fact, a study conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute eight years ago—an effort sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—discerned that improper tire maintenance and operational issues were the root cause of 32% of failed truck tires found on the roadside.

    The same study found the two other leading causes of tire debris on the road are road hazards and excessive heat, noted Jason Evans, director of store operations for GCR Tires & Service.

    Heat

    “Heat is a tire’s worst enemy,” he stressed. “Chemical reactions increase exponentially with temperature. As such, heat accelerates the tire-aging process, which is why it is so important to minimize the amount of heat a tire sees both in service and in storage.”

    Michelin’s Dimenna added that when an under-inflated tire heats up, the casing integrity changes due to that heat buildup.

    “This can lead to separation [between the casing and tread] and chemical breakdown,” he explained. “Heat magnifies the issue and tires fail because they cannot be cooled by the ambient temperatures around them.”

    Yet GCR’s Evans also emphasized that cold temperatures can damage a tire, too.

    [​IMG]
    A blown tire casing is one of several end results of improper tire care.


    “Depending on a tire’s compounding and how low the ambient temperature reaches, you can get what is commonly referred to as ‘cold weather cracking,’” he noted. “When a tire is exposed to extreme cold temperatures, tire compounds can lose their elasticity and become brittle. Tires also wear faster when the temperature is lower as compounds become stiff and less pliable.”


    Temperature is critical in more ways than one to ensuring long, usable life for truck and trailer tires, pointed out Tom Clauer, corporate manager of commercial and OTR product planning for the U.S. division of Yokohama Tire.

    “Every [tire] manufacturer will tell you to check the air pressure on a cold tire; not a hot or ‘recently ran’ tire,” he said. “As a tire moves, there is a certain amount of resistance that is evident. This resistance comes from flexing and the various components [of a tire; its tread, casing, and sidewall] moving against and with each other.

    “This generates heat, which will increase the air pressure inside the chamber of the tire.”

    Clauer noted that a commercial tire can handle a certain amount of increased air pressure, but that the key is to not allow the air pressure to drop below its rated capacity for the load.

    “We need to remember that a tire is not carrying the load; it is only a vessel to contain the air pressure, which does carry the load,” he explained.

    Cold

    And as is often the case in trucking, it’s the “little things” that can make a big difference when it comes to maintaining proper tire pressure. Take, for example, tire valve stem caps.

    “All valves should be capped only with either metal or flow-through caps—no plastics,” Clauer said. “The only exceptions would be if you are using automatic air or equalizing systems.”

    Drivers and fleet managers need to remember to always allow a tire to cool for several hours or overnight in order to get an accurate air pressure measurement, he emphasized.

    “Extremely cold climates can create just the opposite results and bring in other issues,” he added. “In extreme cold climates, air pressure should be checked in a controlled environment. If possible, allow the tire(s) to reach a temperature above 32 degrees [Fahrenheit] in order to get an accurate pressure measurement.”

    [​IMG]
    Freddy Navarro of Rancho Foods checks tire tread depth, a crucial step to ensuring longer and safer tire life. (Photo: Yokohama Tire)


    Other challenges that can affect tire performance in extreme cold environments include condensation in both ambient air and in the compressed air found within a commercial vehicle’s air supply system.


    “This can gather in the [tire air] valve core, freeze, expand and actually allow the core to open and release air,” Clauer explained, leading to tire deflation.

    Goodyear’s Buckham added that fleets should make it standard practice to check inflation levels at least once a week, if not more often when possible.

    “Also keep in mind that ambient temperature can impact a tire’s inflation levels,” he said. “As a general rule of thumb, inflation pressure can drop one pound [per square inch] for every 10-degree [Fahrenheit] decrease in ambient temperature.”

    Some fleets also employ the extra step of using an automatic tire inflation system to monitor and “top off” tire pressure levels as needed, added Buckham.

    “In addition to tire pressure checks, we strongly recommend that fleets perform regular visual and tactile inspections of their tires,” he emphasized. “Things to check for include unusual wear patterns, plus cracks, cuts, bulges and blisters, all of which should be addressed immediately.”

    GCR’s Evans noted that while such “visual cues” regarding tire condition are important, proper tire maintenance and safety are about more than meets the naked eye.

    “We advise our customers to conduct thorough tire assessments before each haul, which includes checking inflation pressure at each wheel position, measuring inflation pressure, and tracking mileage on tires,” he explained.

    Additionally, Evans said fleets should regularly mount/dismount wheels and check truck alignment to help catch any non-visible issues before they become unplanned downtime.

    “It’s also critical for fleets to work with their dealer/service partner to schedule regular tire inspection checks that are conducted by a tire professional,” he pointed out.

    Alignment

    Other critical tactics can be used to not only ensure better overall tire health but reduce the risk of premature failure as well.

    “Tire alignment is important,” Michelin’s Dimenna said. “Many tire problems can be traced to mechanical conditions in the vehicle. Therefore, to obtain maximized tire performance, vehicles must be properly maintained—and that includes tire alignment.”

    He noted that “alignment” refers not only to the various angles of the steer axle geometry, but also to the tracking of all axles on a vehicle including the trailer.

    “The dual purpose of proper alignment is to minimize tire wear and to maximize predictable vehicle handling and driver control,” he explained. “Toe misalignment is the number one cause of steer tire irregular wear, followed by rear axle skew, also known as parallelism or thrust.”

    Dimenna also pointed out that proper tire matching and rotation are important too. “Beware mixing [types of] tires on your vehicle, especially across an axle,” he warned. “Try to match tires with the same tread depths, same tread patterns, and same height or diameter.”

    At the end of the day, however, putting an emphasis on maintaining proper tire inflation pressure is perhaps the single more effective tactic to not only reduce the risk of catastrophic blowouts but also as a way to ensure all other safety systems on a truck and trailer work to their utmost capability, too, according to Bendix’s Intagliata.

    “If you think of the approach to safety system maintenance like a hierarchy, tire upkeep—much like the actual tires on a vehicle—is the foundation upon which other systems rest,” he said.

    “Getting the best performance from drum brakes, air disc brakes, full-stability systems, and advanced driver assistance technologies requires tires that are in good shape and at the correct inflation pressure,” Intagliata emphasized.

    “Tire inflation is just about the most basic form of maintenance there is, but not paying the right attention to it can have serious effects on several levels of vehicle and fleet safety,” he stressed.

    TIRE CARE: FROM START TO FINISH

    Reducing the risk of premature failure or a catastrophic failure for either a truck or trailer tire isn’t solely about maintaining proper inflation pressure, noted Jason Evans, director of store operations for GCR Tires & Service. In fact, the process starts before a fleet even buys its tires.

    —Select the right tire for the job, considering the proper tire size, load-carrying capacity, speed capability, and service type.

    —Inspect tires frequently for damage such as cuts, cracks, bulges, and penetrations.

    —Track mileage and measure inflation pressure to monitor tire performance. (Note: tire under-inflation by as little as 10% can result in a 1.5% drop in fuel economy, according to data analyzed by TMC.)

    —Check tread depth at each wheel position and watch for mismatching tread depths to avoid scrub. Scrub-out is caused when one tire has a larger circumference or tread depth. This leads to irregular wear and can impact fuel economy.

    —Set and maintain proper cold inflation pressures. Cold inflation pressure is the inflation pressure of tires before they are driven.

    —Abide by the tire’s maximum recommended speed, which may be lower than posted speed limits.

    Tom Clauer, corporate manager of commercial and OTR product planning for Yokohama Tire, adds in a few other “telltale warning signs” that may indicate a tire could be close to suffering a premature failure. Those include sidewall discoloration, cuts, scrapes, and other damage; irregular wear; and debris in the tread.

    “When it comes to tread condition, ‘shiny’ is not good, as that may indicate nail heads or bolts are stuck in it,” he explained. “Look for and dislodge any debris stuck in the [tread] grooves such as rocks that the tires cannot eject. If they are not removed, they could continue to work at the tread base and groove walls and pose potential casing damage if allowed to get through the base and into the steel belts.”

    http://fleetowner.com/tires/tires-a...m=email&elq2=2852c07fad2b4199b1bc286cf4088471
     
  8. searcher

    searcher Mother Lode Found Site Supporter ++ Mother Lode

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    Driver pay, trucking’s image, and the worsening driver shortage
    Aug 14, 2017 Cristina Commendatore

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    Photo: Thinkstock

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    Pay up!


    The average age of the truck driver is 52 and each year that number continues to increase, according to Leah Shaver, COO at the National Transportation Institute. But as fleets are finding it more and more difficult to attract a younger driver base, partly because of an industry-wide image problem, what can they do to soften the blow of a deepening driver shortage?

    “Our efforts to recruit and retain millennials today are not as successful as we need them to be. The incoming students are not coming in at fast enough rates, and they’re not sticking with the industry the way that we need,” Shaver explained during a recent Fleet Owner webinar sponsored by Ryder.

    Titled Listening to the Voice of the Driver can Ease the Shortage, Shaver along with Patrick Pendergast, group director of talent acquisition at Ryder System, discussed how driver income, trucking’s image, and the economy are impacting the worsening truck driver shortage.

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    NTI, which tracks driver income for both for-hire and private fleets, has found private fleet income is always more stable than for-hire income. According to Shaver, one of the problems is that over the last 10 years, for-hire income has at times been the opposite of the rate of inflation. In the last five years, she explained the rate of change for driver compensation has gone up by only 6.3%. Compare that to minimum wage, which has gone up by 45.26%, and the income for a worker at McDonald’s, which has increased by 94%.

    NTI also compared earnings for for-hire fleets versus private fleets per region nationwide and found that the median W2 income nationwide is about $54,000 for for-hire fleets and well over $70,000 for private fleet drivers.

    “That’s a big gap,” Shaver stressed, noting that private fleet drivers also have more consistent workloads and time spent at home. “Private fleet drivers tend to retire from their jobs. They don’t age out or wear out in the same way that they do in for-hire fleets. It’s a lifelong career, and they do retire. Private fleets are seeing retirements in record numbers, and they’re really expanding their recruiting and retention efforts.”

    Shaver noted that throughout the industry, however, there really haven’t been significant changes in driver compensation this year, which is difficult to understand considering the decrease in the supply of drivers. There has been a small increase—0.6% in the maximum a driver can earn at a company—but overall the industry has seen very little movement in earnings, she added.

    Plus, the industry is still trying to overcome an image problem. “In recent news we see that media can pick up on a story, and image can still affect our industry,” Shaver said. “Ultimately, that image makes it very hard to sell as a career.”

    Shaver referred to articles from the New York Times and USA Today in which drivers interviewed said they really feel a continued disconnect with their companies and often feel like they’re “throwaway people.”

    “When we visit with carriers, we’re seeing some upward movement in driver turnover,” Shaver explained. “Carriers are telling us pretty consistently that turnover has spiked up, and driver supply is becoming even more difficult.”

    Driver satisfaction: Best practices
    According to Pendergast, pay is a crucial component to how satisfied a driver is, but it’s not the only one. He outlined some best practices for fleets to consider.

    Appreciation: “How do we figure out within our own group of employees, our own group of drivers, what really matters to them,” Pendergast asked. “We encourage companies to spend time talking to their drivers. Some drivers feel disconnected and don’t feel their company recognizes them as a true partner.”

    Using advanced technology to attract talent: “Millennials have grown up with a tremendous amount of technology all around them,” he noted. “As Leah pointed out, the trucking industry does have an image problem. It’s incumbent on us in the industry to talk about the changes in engine technology and talk about collision avoidance and all the things that are attractive to the younger generation.”

    Have a plan around retention: “This problem isn’t going away,” Pendergast stressed. “The ostrich approach isn’t going to work.” He added it is critically important for fleets to listen to their drivers to understand what challenges they face. “Some managers might be nervous to hear the challenges the drivers have, but that’s the first step to understanding what your turnover looks like.”

    Pay and benefits: Pendergast advised carriers be in line with what the market is paying and the environment in which they’re operating.

    Treatment: “Do your managers understand the roles they play in your turnover percentage,” he asked. “They are certainly playing a big role in how the driver feels when they get in their truck and go out for their loads that day.”

    Employee involvement and training: Pendergast advised that fleets get employees involved in the decisions that affect them and acknowledge any input they give. When it comes to training and advancement, he said all employees, but particularly millennials, have a real thirst for learning and understanding how they get ahead and what the next steps are.

    Recognition and performance management: Perks such as performance bonuses for safety, driver of the month, safety banquets, and other events that highlight what drivers are doing really well and what matter for your company go a long way, Pendergast stressed. He also noted that open communication and regularly scheduled performance appraisals are invaluable in driver retention efforts.

    According to Shaver, researchers at NTI know and believe that the driver turnover will continue to rise. “It’s going to be stuck at over 80% in the foreseeable balance of the year—that’s our prediction,” she said. “We think that GDP (gross domestic product) is going to continue to grow. Unemployment has dropped. Blue collar jobs are not being filled. Construction is booming. Labor shortage is an issue. All of these signs point to economic growth, but our prediction remains nearly flat for driver pay.”

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  9. nickndfl

    nickndfl Midas Member Midas Member Site Supporter ++

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