Everyone is always looking for a competitive advantage, one that will take them over the top. Well, your search can stop, at least for today. Spend your time looking into the Technology & Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations.
Steph Sabo, Guest Columnist
Steph Sabo, Guest Columnist

Too often we hear that the TMC is the "great secret." It shouldn't be a secret; my goodness, TMC has been around for more than 50 years!

So you ask, what is this "great secret" I am referring to? Well, it's a lot. A lot all wrapped into one organization.

Part of TMC's mission statement goes like this: "The purpose of the Technology & Maintenance Council is to improve transport equipment, its maintenance and maintenance management."

One of the many reasons TMC is the "great secret" is it's the only place where all the "who's who" of heavy truck maintenance, engineering and design come together for one event. It's the only place all the players in the industry work to better the great trucking industry that we call our lives.

Maybe you have heard it's only for OEMs and large fleets. Not hardly. Of course those folks are there. Again, it's where ALL the players come together -- OEMs, fleets of all sizes, owner-operators, technicians, and parts and service providers. Yes, those folks are "players," but so are you. You work hard ensuring that your business or the business you represent is the best and most profitable. It's your money that's on the line. So if that doesn't make you a player, nothing does.

It's no "great secret" that the aftermarket constantly changes. Look at the OEMs. Today, they all have their own aftermarket divisions, such as International's PartSmart, and Alliance from Daimler Trucks North America. The OEMs realize the dollars of the aftermarket are lying on the table, there for the aggressive ones to grab.

That's why you need to see how everyone is playing the game. By attending and actively participating in TMC's meetings, you can gather knowledge and network in order to keep yourself and your organization on top of the latest industry trends and issues.

Our company not only is a trucking company, but a Napa Auto Parts store and a large Napa Truck Service Center as well. So I see all aspects of the business. I have learned how the OEMs play the game with all their national accounts and use of technology to service the customer. I have watched aftermarket companies such as AMBEST take servicing customers to a whole new level. I have seen WheelTime take a strong OE affiliation and combine it with the desire to do all makes and models and develop, in my opinion, a "great secret" in itself.

I never would have been exposed to such greatness in the trucking industry had I not participated in TMC functions, and had I not gotten to know the "players" in the industry. Herein lies the "great secret:" the ability to do all this at a single function. Come to one TMC meeting -- participate, don't just attend -- and you will be your own "great secret."

Steph Sabo is the maintenance manager at Norrenberns Truck Service in Nashville, Ill., and a former general chairman of TMC. TMC's Annual Meeting is in Tampa, Fla., Feb. 20-23. More info at http://tmc.truckling.com.

From the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of HDAJ.