The most recent statistics from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimate that there are approximately 3.63 million Class 8 vehicles in operation in the U.S. These millions of trucks also play a major role in moving goods throughout the U.S., with the ATA stating that trucks hauled nearly 12 billion tons of freight in 2019.
Moving these vehicles and their freight is a total team effort. While drivers play an essential role in getting shipments from point A to point B, maintenance personnel are also crucial in ensuring trucks perform properly throughout the entirety of their journey.
With this in mind, the ATA and the Technology Maintenance Council (TMC) declared September 21-25, 2020 as “National Technician Appreciation Week.” This inaugural event is centered on celebrating maintenance pros from across the country and the important role they play in our nation’s supply chain.
“The People That Keep Trucking Moving”
In addition to considering items such as uptime, fuel economy and overall vehicle performance, maintenance technicians are also a central part of a fleet’s overall safety.
As Chris Spear, president and CEO of the ATA notes: “[p]rofessional technicians ensure that drivers are able to travel safely – which has always been, and remains our highest priority.”
Spear goes on to mention that without the work of maintenance teams “the trucks would stop running, and drivers would be unable to deliver the products and supplies that keep the American economy running.”
To recognize these important men and women, National Technician Appreciation Week will feature a wide range of events and activities all centered on one of the most demanding and challenging roles in the transportation industry.
The ATA and TMC will be hosting events and educational opportunities throughout this time, including webinars on key maintenance-related topics such as after-treatment systems, electrical and vehicle diagnostics, collision mitigation systems and Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification testing.
The week’s festivities aren’t just about education, either. The ATA and TMC are also holding a “Technician Superstars” contest that will celebrate outstanding maintenance pros who “exemplify the highest levels of excellence and professionalism” in heavy-duty, trailer and light/medium duty categories.
Technician Appreciation During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As is the case with most industry events in 2020, much of National Technician Appreciation Week will be held in a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic aren’t lost on fleet maintenance personnel. While many of us have worked from home since earlier this year, the in-person aspects of vehicle maintenance and repair have meant that many technicians have continued their work as usual in the face of the pandemic.
This reality is not lost on Trimble customer DieselTech. From disinfecting vehicles and implementing social distancing measures in the shop to utilizing cloud-based technology to improve visibility and reduce physical paperwork, DieselTech’s maintenance teams have continued to keep the pace in the more than six months since the world began to face COVID-19.
In spite of the enormous logistical and health-related challenges, DieselTech is just one example of how maintenance teams have carried on to enable proper vehicle performance, driver safety and the successful delivery of goods to wherever they need to be.
National Technician Appreciation Week Provides an Opportunity to Say “Thank You”
You often hear a phrase in the transportation industry that a fleet never sleeps. While this sentiment is true, this non-stop movement is made possible, in part, by the men and women who keep the trucks up and running.
“Professional technicians are the unsung heroes,” said TMC Executive Director Robert Braswell. “[L]ike a well-oiled machine, they keep business moving and trucks on the road.”
We couldn’t agree more with this sentiment and we are honored to provide solutions that help these integral individuals better manage every piece of equipment ‒ for greater availability, longer service life and lowest possible cost-per-mile.
It is also important to acknowledge that the idea of maintenance is changing. The future of how “fleet maintenance” is defined is being shaped by new technologies, more sophisticated vehicles and higher part and labor costs.
On top of these maintenance-specific trends, global supply tonnage is expected to grow by at least 50 percent in the next two decades, aided by the rise of eCommerce and supply chain connectivity. This is only going to intensify the importance of technicians in ensuring these goods get where they need to be safely and efficiently.
Technology’s Role in the Future of Fleet Maintenance
At Trimble, we are committed to support your fleet’s maintenance efforts, both today and in the years ahead. Discover how our TMT Fleet Maintenance and Service Center solutions can help you optimize all parts of your maintenance operations.
With the right technology in place, not only can you improve vehicle uptime and performance but you can also help your maintenance teams stay productive and efficient. Focusing on their success is not just vital to your fleet but to the entire supply chain and all of us who rely on it.