David Seewack Opinion Section of Transport Topics: “Lighting Tech for Better Trucking”

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Lighting Technology Has Improved the Trucking Industry

David Seewack, CEO of FindItParts.com

Did you know that lighting is responsible for 19% of the world’s electricity consumption?  The technological advancements in lighting are changing the world in so many fascinating ways and it’s becoming increasingly more evident in the trucking industry.

LED lighting is among the most efficient lighting sources available and has become the technology of choice for the trucking and freight industries. LED lighting can help make cities more energy efficient, provide safer living conditions, create better learning environments, more productive office spaces, and many more great things that impact our lives everyday.

Now how is LED lighting impact the trucking industry? Good question!  Reducing the carbon footprint of fleets can have a material impact on the environment, business bottom lines and the safety of drivers. Here are some reasons why upgrading your lighting is a great investment.

1.    There’s dataand then There’s usable data

LED lighting has the ability to dramatically increase your fleet’s productivity.  The benefits of enhanced lighting on your fleets can result in less downtime, better driver visibility, decreased maintenance costs and fewer accidents.

Fram’s famous marketing slogan “You can pay me now, or pay me later” really hits home when it comes to upgrading to LED lights. Sure, there are countless numbers of low cost incandescent lights in the market, but the hidden cost of not upgrading can really sneak up on you. Check out this example from Tom Draper of Grote Industries, “Let’s take a look at a medium sized fleet that uses 100% incandescent stop/tail/turn lamps.  A 2,000 trailer fleet has 8,000 stop/tail/turn lamps in circulation.  At a 3.5 year average life expectancy per bulb, divided by 365 days per year, that fleet will experience approximately 6 STT failures per day, which amazingly enough creates more than 2,000 downtime episodes per year.  And before all those downtime episodes, there are more than 2,000 chances for an on-the road lighting violation, which could result in a parked truck waiting for hours for a $150 roadside service call.” And then, of course, there’s the hidden fee of the service that isn’t being performed or the load that isn’t being delivered. There was a time when measuring savings was only possible by simply comparing old cost vs new cost (Hard Savings). Grote’s example show’s how a fleet can not only measure this savings, but more importantly, quantify it (Soft Savings).

2.    Avoid Lighting Infractions/Fines

Lighting infractions are one of the leading reasons a fleet’s maintenance score can deteriorate.  Lighting violations accounted for four of the top eleven violation categories or 22.3% of all violations in 2011. A high-quality lighting strategy will help improve CSA scores by lowering the number of unexpected lighting incidents incurred in normal everyday operations.

3.    Minimize Equipment Downtime

As with all fleets, unplanned equipment downtime is a big concern.  The costs associated with delayed deliveries and lost loads are far more costly than the money saved in buying inexpensive lighting.

The very low current consumption and superior illumination in LED lighting is coupled with a life span that can exceed 50 years of operation for a traditional 18-wheeler covering 100-200K miles per year.  Imagine the long-term benefits of having safe, reliable lights without the worry of violations, reduced visibility or downtime for maintenance.

4.    Increase Drive Safety

The increasing shortage of truck drivers has made retaining current drivers and attracting younger drivers absolutely critical. One very important concern for drivers has been increasing safety standards. LED lighting can have a material impact on improving standards for drivers, as LED lighting has proven to decrease accidents and improve overall driver safety.

5.    Save Money

With any business, the ability to effectively manage expenses is important.  In the trucking industry it’s absolutely critical. The expenses associated with fleet downtime, accidents, maintenance and other related issues can be extremely costly.  LED lighting provides savings due to their longevity, increased driver visibility, and low maintenance levels.

Fleets that try to save money on initial LED lamp purchases inevitably spend more money over the life of their equipment. That’s because all LED lamps are not alike.    Here are some guidelines for making your big purchase and doing it right.

  • First, the LED lamp chosen should be of the highest quality, as not all lamps are created equal.  Remember to consult an expert, as there are many factors to consider including design sophistication, ruggedness both of structure and electronics, protection from voltage spikes and electromagnetic interference, lens design, mounting design, etc.
  • The quality and life expectancy of LED diodes vary significantly. Low quality LEDs start to dim unevenly or just burn out, which can be very problematic over time.  In addition, the electronics within inexpensive lamps may not last due to vibration, corrosion, and the stress of the highway environment.
  • Lastly, entire lighting systems provide the best long-term solutions for your investment.  If the LED lamp technology can outlast the equipment it is installed on, then you have a potential problem.

Overall, LED lighting is revolutionizing the trucking industry and helping provide a safer, more profitable environment for fleet owners nationwide.

Presented by: FindItParts.com is the leading e-commerce solution for heavy-duty trucks parts with over 2.5 million parts from over 1,200 manufacturers and OEM’s.

FinditParts.com enables customers to quickly and easily find the part they need for heavy-duty truck, medium-duty auto, transit, school bus, light duty and medium duty vehicles, trailers, forklifts, off-road, & agriculture vehicles around the world.

Top 5 Ways Technology is Changing the Trucking Industry

Top 5 Ways Technology is Changing the Trucking Industry_Infographic_Web

 

The trucking industry is utilizing technology to adjust to the increasing demands of fleet owners, drivers and maintenance professionals. “Technology is creating an eco-system that will forever change the industry”, says David Seewack, CEO, FinditParts.com. As technology is further implemented, the trucking industry is poised to see a surge in productivity, safety and profitability.

 

1.E-Commerce for Truck Parts: The digital arena is becoming increasingly important in the truck parts aftermarket. The online marketplace creates an eco-system that simplifies the fulfillment and distribution of truck & auto parts, effectively by streamlining and automating the search process for both common and obscure components.  The online marketplace will continue to change the way truck parts are bought and sold.

 

Featured Company: FinditParts  (www.FinditParts.com)

FinditParts.com is the largest online marketplace for heavy-duty truck parts with over 2.5 million parts from over 1,200 manufacturers. Its visitors engage with an online eco-system that simplifies the fulfillment and distribution of truck & auto parts, effectively streamlining and automating the search process for both common and obscure components.

 

2. AVL Units: Automatic vehicle location (AVL) units are in-cab devices that communicate location and other information via GPS satellite systems or cellular towers. A PC-based software or Internet application is used by the dispatcher or main office to send and receive information to the in-cab device. AVL units are growing in popularity in the trucking industry as a way to monitor shipments and update drivers with current geographical and traffic information.

 

Featured Company: Fleetilla (http://www.fleetilla.com/index.asp)

Fleetilla’s vehicle tracking solution consists of the FL1850 vehicle-tracking unit that is installed in each vehicle to be tracked, as well as the FleetOrb online web-based fleet tracking and management application. A good GPS fleet management application does more than tell a manager where their vehicles or equipment are currently located. It provides data and tools that allow managers to make better decisions.

 

3. Mobile Apps: Mobile technology is changing the way fleets do business and the way drivers work and live on the road. Now fleets can monitor fuel prices, receive signed documents from drivers in an instant and send drivers training videos while they’re on the road. Drivers can see their safety scores; search for and bid on loads, even get in line for truck stop showers without getting out of their cabs.

 

Featured Company: Drive Axle App (http://driveaxleapp.com)

Drive Axle allows the driver to take a picture of the bill of lading, or of the load, then they can add some notes, select an email and the app cleans up the document and sends to the broker or office needing the information.

 

4. Electronic Logbooker: This system allows drivers to input information for each stage of the shipping process into the terminal. The main office receives this data along with the GPS location of the truck simultaneously. The system also allows drivers and dispatchers to pre-plan load assignments, resulting in increased productivity.

 

Featured Company: Werner Enterprises Paperless Log System (http://www.werner.com)

Werner Enterprises Paperless Log System is connected via satellite through the QualcommTM and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), assists truck drivers in using their time efficiently. The system enables load planners, fleet managers and drivers to pre-plan load assignments to maximize productivity within the legal driving hours-of-service limits.

 

5. PrePass: The genius of the PrePass is that it takes inspiration from technology that is already in wide use today to keep drivers moving through toll stations and other stopping points on the road. The PrePass conveys specific information about the driver, the truck, and the company as the truck heads into a roadside weigh station.

 

Featured Company: Heavy Vehicle Electronic License Plate (HELP) (http://www.prepass.com/)

The culmination of HELP, Inc’s efforts is PrePass – an intelligent transportation system that electronically verifies safety, credentials, and weight of commercial vehicles at participating state highway weigh stations, commercial vehicle inspection facilities and ports of entry. Installation of the basic PrePass equipment at many state inspection facilities is funded by HELP, Inc. and provided to states without the use of public funds

 

Do Surveys Matter? Yes – Here’s Why

It seems like you can’t shop anywhere, whether online or in retail establishments, without being asked to fill out a survey or answer questions on one of those “How are we doing?” cards. And yes, we rely on this data as well, having already asked for your feedback on our product selection, service and support.

Everyone is busy these days, so we understand that it can be asking a lot for you to take a few extra moments to let us know what you think about our website.

This is especially true if you’ve had a positive experience because that’s what you’ve come to expect from online marketplaces—an easy, convenient, seamless and secure process. (Which most of our customers have, I’m happy to report.) It’s been gratifying to hear from those of you who tell us about their transactions, whether it’s a purchase of one part or ten. We’re proud to be filling a niche for heavy-duty truck parts online that buyers and sellers have needed for a long time.

But just like every other business, we have discovered that it’s the unhappy customers who are always eager to let us know when something goes wrong – and we welcome that feedback. As a rapidly growing company, our overarching goal is to always provide best-in-class customer service, but when we fall short, we expect to be held responsible and welcome the opportunity to correct any missteps.

For the overwhelming majority of our customers, however, the buying process proceeds without incident. You found the part you needed, paid for it, the part arrived when expected and the transaction was complete. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, so why stop and fill out a survey just to tell us that we did our jobs?

Well, one reason is that these feedback surveys also provide an opportunity for you to let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see on our site, or if you have any suggestions on how we can serve you even better in 2012 and beyond.

Hundreds of purchases are initiated and completed on our site every day. The majority of those who told us about their experience gave us high marks, and would recommend the FinditParts site to others. That tells us our efforts to provide a successful purchasing experience for customers are paying off. But with that much daily activity it requires extensive and constant effort to track all of the details on each transaction. When you tell us what went right and what went wrong, it helps us to decide where we can make adjustments that will help make finditparts.com everything that customers need it to be.

And when we receive a particularly innovative idea, or a question that might also be relevant to other customers, we may use that feedback as the subject of a future blog entry. So if you can, please take a moment to fill out our survey if you haven’t already. It’s the fastest and easiest way to help us serve you better.

From David Seewack, CEO, FinditParts.com

Over the past few months, thanks in large part to our loyal customers, FinditParts.com has experienced growth in every key area that is critical to the success of an online marketplace.

We’re also fortunate to be working in the heavy-duty truck parts market. As so many other industries have suffered, heavy-duty truck parts have proven resilient in a strong and vibrant aftermarket industry. As new and used truck registrations achieve all-time highs and U.S. heavy duty trucks are sold into global markets in record numbers, the outlook for 2012 and beyond is one of continued growth. 

With well over 1,000,000 heavy-duty truck parts in our database, FinditParts.com is uniquely qualified to help truck drivers, mechanics, counter personnel  and distributors  quickly find and buy the truck part they need. From great deals on popular items to hard-to-find parts that may not be available in the buyer’s local area, our selection is unrivaled and available for search anytime, from anywhere.

Another element in our success is the availability of the top brands and OEMs in the industry, including Velvac, Bendix, Meritor, Ford and Freightliner.

As the largest online marketplace of heavy-duty truck parts, we’re also in a unique position to service the needs of international truck owners and operators who face a more difficult challenge in finding and buying parts they need for U.S. commercial vehicles.   That’s where the Web-based nature of our business really comes into play: we’re open 24/7/365, and utilize such tools as Google Translate and click-to-chat to facilitate the purchasing process for our international customers.  Plus, we guarantee that every order is shipped with new and original parts from over 800 leading manufacturers.

If you haven’t tried us yet, we invite you to do so, and find out what sets FinditParts.com above and beyond the competition.  Questions? Comments? Let us know.

Blog Post from David Seewack and Scott Spiwak, Co-founders of FinditParts

Welcome to FinditParts’ new website, designed to help Heavy-Duty Truck Part buyers quickly find and purchase the part they need through the security and convenience of online shopping. We not only created this new channel to easily find and buy hard-to-source heavy duty, medium duty and light duty truck parts, we absolutely believe this is the future of buying truck parts. We envisioned a marketplace that everyone in the industry has quick and easy access to, whether they’re fleet managers of hundreds of trucks or a counter person desperately searching for that elusive, yet critical part for his customer, or the owner/operator in rural areas with limited resources. To that end, we’ve spent the past year, building an inventory of over 1,000,000 heavy-duty truck parts. We’ve brought together a team of experts to create an unmatched online shopping experience through an easy to navigate site and a secure checkout process, ensuring that your experience from beginning to end is smooth and seamless. While there are multiple ways to search for the part you need—by part number or part category or manufacturer or most popular part—we’re also here to personally help you in multiple other ways. Click-to-chat and we’re at the other end of the phone to answer all your questions or email us a photo and we’ll source the part for you. (We have a team of parts detectives who can track down the most obscure parts.) We want to be your go-to source for all your heavy duty truck parts—that’s why we’ve got all your top brands from Meritor to Timken, Grote to Bendix, Velvac to Navistar, Freightliner to Ford and more —from over 800 leading manufacturers and OEMS.   We know the industry, we understand how your business runs, and how hard it is to find parts. While we’ve got over 30 years in the heavy duty truck market, we need your feedback and input, too. So let us know how we’re doing and what you’d like to see on FinditParts.com. Email us at: cofounders@finditparts.com

The Trucking Industry Wins on Election Night

November 2 may not have been a happy night for Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, but those who make their living in the trucking and transportation industries were almost as happy as Republicans when the votes where tallied.

Why? Because several state transportation-related initiatives were up for public consideration, and most of them were decided in favor of the industry.

The results were not particularly surprising, given the mood of the electorate.

Initiatives proposing new legislation to regulate the trucking industry? Not this time, said voters who believe companies should have fewer hindrances to expanding and hiring new workers in this stagnant economy.

A vehicle license fee increase? Rejected. While large trucks would have been excluded from this California proposition, no one in the cash-strapped Golden State was in any mood for paying more for anything. Voters also allowed the Anaheim City Council to pass legislation prohibiting red light cameras or any automated traffic enforcement system. Similar propositions also passed in Ohio and Houston, Texas. Take that, Big Brother!

However, transportation issues did not achieve a GOP-like sweep. Read the details of how voters decided on more than a dozen propositions and initiatives.

Overall, however, the results can be summed up this way – if it cost more money, it was probably going to be voted down. Increases of as little as one penny on state taxes received a chilly reception from the electorate, even when the funds would be spent on such non-partisan objectives as improving education and building parks. But people who are looking for work, or who are struggling to balance their own budget while the nation’s debt spirals out of control, had little patience for any government entity asking them for more money.

Delivering Christmas to Washington

Every year, enormous decorated trees are unveiled in places like the White House and New York’s Rockefeller Center. To casual observers their appearance is just another part of the Christmas magic associated with the season. But behind the scenes it takes more than elves to get these mighty spruces to their destination.

The tree at the U.S. Capitol, like all of the nation’s most prominent Christmas trees, is delivered by truck. The 67-foot tall Englemann Spruce, weighing more than three tons, traveled to D.C. from Jackson Hole, Wyoming in the trailer of a semi owned by Jeff Underwood Trucking Inc.

The tree was chosen back in July – that much time was needed to make the necessary preparations for its transport. These included the building and graveling of roads to allow heavy equipment to reach the site, and the widening of roads so the Underwood truck could travel safely from Bridger-Teton National Forest. Initial loading was accomplished by driving the truck under the tree so it could be gently lowered, horizontally, into its bed, along with a sophisticated watering system that kept its needles green during the 21-day trip. Facebook and Twitter updates allowed people to follow the journey online.

The U.S. Capitol tree was officially lit on December 7. Meanwhile, back in Wyoming, 500 seedlings were planted as part of a carbon neutral program. And every part of the journey, from the fuel for the truck to the heavy equipment needed to cut down and transport the tree, was donated by various public and private organizations. Apparently, even Christmas trees are not immune from political scrutiny. If only Washington had watched the budget this closely when all that bailout money was being distributed.

Read more about how the trucking industry served this country in 2010.