March 2014

Cover Story

2014 Truck Fleet Innovators: Transforming Trucking

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.

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Innovation In The Details

Bill BliemSenior Vice President, Fleet Services, NFI

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

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Reinventing the Beverage Fleet

Shelby GreenSenior Fleet DirectorPepsiCo North America BeveragesSomers, N.Y.

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.

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The FMCSA, OSHA, EEOC & You

The FMCSA, OSHA, EEOC & You

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.

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Avoiding Common Maintenance Mistakes

Drivers need to be trained to distinguish when a fault code means the truck needs to be brought...

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.

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Status Quo for DOT Medical Exams is Changing

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.

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Upgrading Your Legacy IT System

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.

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Auxiliary Power For Work Trucks

Bill Decker’s Miller welder, stashed against a tool box on the front wall of his Wilcox truck...

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.

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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...

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.

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LEDs Light the Way

Freightliner’s Cascadia is standard with custom-fit LED lamps.  Truck-Lite is also making LEDs...

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.