All That's Trucking

Winning the Information Race

January 15, 2014

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Trucking today runs on information as much as it does diesel fuel.

The days of sending a truck out and not knowing where it was unless the driver found a pay phone and called in to tell you are long behind us. Today we can not only know where that truck is, we can know if the driver’s speeding, if the trailer’s at the right temperature, even if a tire is low on air.

Much of this is driven by technology. There’s a reason it’s called IT, information technology. The key is information. And the rapid growth and change in IT is mind-boggling.

The first hard disc drive had 50 24-inch disks contained inside a cabinet that was as large as a cupboard – and could store a whopping 5 MB of data.

Today, you can get a 32-GB SD card, not much bigger than your thumbnail, that stores nearly 5,000 times that amount.

When I was a kid, I remember going to the university where my dad taught engineering and seeing climate-controlled rooms filled with banks of computers the size of a refrigerator, with big tape drives on the front, programmed with computer punch cards. The smartphone in my pocket today has vastly more power than those did, and the ability to access information at the touch of a finger or even with the sound of a voice.

If you’re not taking full advantage of the information technology available to you today, in this competitive market, you’re in danger of becoming a dinosaur. We’ve highlighted just a few examples in HDT's January’s story on how information technology can cut your cost per mile.

But it’s not just the info from your own operations that you need. It’s vital to stay on top of the latest in regulations, equipment, technology and more. That’s where we come in.

Heavy Duty Trucking magazine has long been a trusted source of information, but in today’s fast-changing information world, we’re continually looking for ways to give you more and better information.

That’s why I wanted to highlight two things we’re starting this month, new for 2014.

Hotline: Hotline had its roots as a Kiplinger-style newsletter. Its information was designed to be useful both to the fleet executives who read HDT as well as to executives at equipment manufacturers and other trucking suppliers. It was mailed out to a VIP list hot off the press, as well as bound into the magazine that arrived a couple of weeks later. In a pre-Internet world, it was an incredibly valuable source of information.

In recent years, however, much of the newsworthiness of the old Hotline has been supplanted by the Internet, especially by HDT’s daily e-newsletters from our website, Truckinginfo.com. Hotline had an identity crisis. It was time for a remake.

Starting with this issue, you’ll see a bigger focus on original reporting, including a Q&A with an industry leader each month that will continue on Truckinginfo.com. We’re partnering with respected industry observers such as FTR and IIHS Polk to bring you exclusive data, and insight into that data. And we’ll highlight key industry personnel moves and milestones you may have missed online.

Ultimate Test Drive: We’ve had a long-standing partnership with Canada’s Today’s Trucking magazine, our award-winning friends north of the border. Now we’re partnering with them to bring you video test drives by HDT Equipment Editor Jim Park.

Park, who also writes for Today’s Trucking, is a former owner-operator who already brings a level of real-world experience and writing excellence to test drives in the magazine that is unmatched by other trucking publications. Now Park and a team of professional videographers and video editors are taking Test Drives right off the page, and will bring them to life on video in the Ultimate Test Drive series. Look for them in the video section of Truckinginfo.com.

Let me know what you think of the changes and how we can help bring you the information you need to make your business a success by emailing me at dlockridge@truckinginfo.com.

From the January 2014 issue of Heavy Duty Trucking magazine.

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Author Bio

Deborah Lockridge

Editor in Chief

Truck journalist 21 years, joined us in 1998. Plans and coordinates editorial, specializes in maintenance, drivers and fleet operations.

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