HeavyDuty Trucking – Issue

March 2014

Cover Story
2014 Truck Fleet Innovators: Transforming Trucking
By Deborah Lockridge

Each year, Heavy Duty Trucking honors a handful of the country’s most forward-thinking fleet executives with the title of “HDT Truck Fleet Innovator.” Read how this year's winners are using the power of collaboration to spec the best trucks and operate more efficiently -- and profitably.

Features

LEDs Light the Way Freightliner’s Cascadia is standard with custom-fit LED lamps.  Truck-Lite is also making LEDs for International’s ProStar and Volvo’s VNL.

By Tom Berg

If you were in trucking about 30 years ago, you might remember the switch from incandescent sealed-beam headlamps to halogens, which were so much better that some truck operators stopped using auxiliary fog and driving lights. A more recent step up was projector-beam lamps, whose optics better aim the lumens from halogen bulbs and even more effectively light the way for drivers.

Upgrading Your Legacy IT System

By Jim Beach

A number of trucking companies – and thousands of other types of businesses for that matter – run their businesses on what would be considered a “legacy” IT system. Those old workhorse servers might still be getting the job done, but they could be holding your business back.

Avoiding Common Maintenance Mistakes Drivers need to be trained to distinguish when a fault code means the truck needs to be brought in immediately and when it is okay to wait for the next scheduled maintenance appointment.

By Denise Rondini

Fleets try to do a good job of keeping their trucks in top operating condition, and most recognize that maintenance plays an important role in achieving that goal. Still there are some things that get overlooked by even the most seasoned fleet manager.

The FMCSA, OSHA, EEOC & You

By Deborah Lockridge

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety, Compliance and Accountability enforcement program is one of the major legal and regulatory issues facing trucking companies, but it’s not the only one, as a veritable alphabet soup’s worth of agencies target the industry.

With Funding Clock Ticking, Congress Turns to Highway Bill The Highway Trust Fund may run out of money by this summer as discussions for funding sources continue on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

By Oliver Patton

Transportation committees on Capitol Hill are starting to write the policy provisions to reauthorize the highway program that expires this fall, but the finance committees have yet to move on the key issue of funding.

Performance With a Purpose Mike O’ConnellSenior Director, Supply ChainFriot-LayPlano, Texas

By Deborah Lockridge

Frito-Lay’s Mike O’Connell leads a team that focuses on adapting the best leading-edge technologies for its specific needs.

Supercenter Fleet Super at Collaboration David HooverDirector, Outbound LogisticsMeijerLansing, Mich.

By Deborah Lockridge

Meijer’s David Hoover finds working with suppliers and dedicated fleets makes innovation easier.

Reinventing the Beverage Fleet Shelby GreenSenior Fleet DirectorPepsiCo North America BeveragesSomers, N.Y.

By Deborah Lockridge

If you think you’ve been seeing fewer of those Pepsi bay-type delivery trailers with the roll-up doors, you’re probably right. PepsiCo North America Beverages is revamping the way it delivers its products, moving to specially spec’d dry van trailers, liftgates and pallets that were pre-loaded at the warehouse.

Innovation In The Details Bill BliemSenior Vice President, Fleet Services, NFI

By Deborah Lockridge

When Bill Bliem became vice president of maintenance at NFI five years ago, his first priority was to get maintenance costs under control.

Departments

Improving Your Trailer Appearance Fontaine Renew can completely refurbish a standard flatbed trailer in about two and a half days on average.

By Kate Harlow

Tips for vinyl signage and images, plus refurbishing trailers.

Once Around the Yard: Tracking Helps Close the Doors A sensor-switch in the door header can be tricked with a magnet, telling a reefer’s electronic controls the doors are closed and allowing the unit to run. So K&J managers use tracking to determine what the rig’s really doing.

By Tom Berg

Common sense suggests that if a trailer’s doors are open, its refrigeration unit ought to be shut down. But many customers disagree, thinking the products will be better protected if cooled air continues to circulate as freight is being unloaded.

Auxiliary Power For Work Trucks Bill Decker’s Miller welder, stashed against a tool box on the front wall of his Wilcox truck body, doubles as an APU and makes 220-volt power to run heavy tools. The genset at his feet produces 110 volts for work lights and smaller tools.

By Tom Berg

Any work truck with a serious electric welder also has an auxiliary power unit, because the engine-driven device doubles as an APU to run smaller welders, heaters and power tools. And soon, purpose-built APUs will report for duty on work trucks.

Status Quo for DOT Medical Exams is Changing

By Rick Malchow, J.J. Keller

The National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners rule was published in April 2012 and effective in May 2012. A compliance date of May 21 of this year is quickly approaching. In its plainest form, it is a database of medical examiners who are certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to perform examinations of commercial vehicle drivers.

Top 3 Ways to Preserve Tire Life (And Value) Even the best tires money can buy will profit from a little help. Basic maintenance can prolong tire life, sometimes dramatically.

By Jim Park

Still waiting for the million-mile tire? Don’t hold your breath, but we’ll probably see such a tire in our lifetime. For now, you’ll have to settle for half a million miles.

Test Drives

Test Drive: Optimized Lightweight VNL The Bulk-hauling Optimized series also includes shorter VNM tractors that, like VNL versions, come as a daycab and several sleeper types.

By Tom Berg

Senior Editor Tom Berg takes Volvo's lightweight Optimized VNL430 for a drive near Volvo's New River Valley plant in Virginia.

Editorials

Commentary: How Much do Your Technicians Know About Wheel Integrity?

By Rolf Lockwood, Executive Contributing Editor

Executive Contributing Editor Rolf Lockwood discusses wheel integrity and the importance of technicians being well-versed in the rules of fastening wheels properly.

Newsletter

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