According to Don Baldwin, business segment manager for Michelin Americas Truck Tires and NACFE board member, the board also discussed plans to make the council's industry experts available as consultants to the industry. Baldwin said fleets need consulting, particularly on understanding the California Air Resources Board's regulations and on trailer operations.
In addition, the NAFCE is closely following a pending study by the National Academy of Sciences on the EPA's endangerment finding and the potential for regulation on this. Baldwin said the council will keep an eye on the issue and provide analysis and feedback. In fact, there are a few technology companies, which Baldwin declined to name, that are working on specific solutions related to this issue. NAFCE will review and evaluate the effectiveness of those new technologies.
The NAFCE, which was officially launched in November of last year by the Rocky Mountain Institute, aims to address the problem fleets have with adopting new technologies by creating a central source of information on technologies that are tested, evaluated and endorsed by an objective third party. NAFCE will not be a testing group, but it will certify testing groups, Baldwin said.
According to Baldwin, the group will provide fleets with a one-stop shop for not only getting help on what widgets and what combinations of widgets to use, but also on how to maintain, evaluate and implement new technologies.
During last week's board meeting, held in conjunction with the Technology & Maintenance Council meeting in Tampa, Fla., the council also discussed how the group's membership would be structured. One aspect of membership is going to include periodic communication with the council on key issues. When members sign up, they will indicate whether they are an owner-operator, fleet, supplier, OEM, etc., and this periodic communication will be specifically tailored to their individual needs. The council also decided to make the library of information web-based, a form that is environmentally-friendly and easy to use by the trucking industry.
The council is currently open for membership, and interested parties can join online at www.nacfe.org.
Baldwin initially took interest in the NACFE after experiencing how hard it was to get fleets to adopt Michelin's wide-based style X One tire, a cost efficient and fuel efficient technology, he said. "[Fleets] are hit with so many things telling them the same story," he said.
Baldwin said fleets can get bogged down in the massive amount of information thrown at them on different types of technologies, and it's hard for them to measure the efficiencies of all of them. "The NACFE can do that for them."
As a board member, Baldwin will be responsible for guiding the organization to collect, assess, and circulate information on performance and efficiency benefits to technology developers, fleet owners and truck drivers. "I'll just be one voice among many voices, a very diverse group," he said.
To start off, Baldwin will serve a one-year term on the board, and after the first year, the NACFE will re-elect board members for three-year terms.
In the future, the NACFE has plans to expand beyond just trucking to covering all aspects of freight, including intermodal, airfreight and ships.