• Truck stop dentist

    May 12, 2009
    When truckers need gas they pull into the next truck stop. When truckers need emergency dental care, they pull in to the Iowa 80 Truckstop, Exit 284 off Interstate 80, CNN.com recently reported.

    As the story goes, Dr. Thomas P. Roemer runs a mobile dentist office parked at the self-proclaimed world’s largest truckstop — with an estimated 5,000 long-haul truckers daily. Back in the 90s, he had a practice in Davenport and kept getting calls from truckers at the nearby Iowa 80 Truckstop. Word spread about a one-man truck stop dentist, business steadily rolled in and Roemer closed the old brick-and-mortar office to concentrate on the one on wheels.


    He now shares a parking lot with 35,000 potential customers a week, and as many as 15 a day might visit Dr. Roemer. But they don’t call in advance and aren’t likely to schedule a future cleaning before they go. “They can’t plan where they’re going to be….These are mostly one-time patients,” he told CNN. Patients apparently who are in serious pain. His most frequent request: “Do you pull teeth?” Turns out he does.

    But he doesn’t take fleet cards.

    Read the entire article here

    Photo Copyright Connor Lawless under the Creative Commons license

    Categories
    • Industry News


  • Happy Friday to you good buddy, we’ve got your next installment of cb lingo and it’s covered in nightcrawlers. So put one foot out the door and one on the floor and get ready for N-O!

    N

    Nail it down – Pinpoint or recollect

    Nap Trap – Place to sleep

    Negative – No

    Negative Copy – Didn’t hear

    Negatory – No

    Neon, Freon, Ion Jockey – Truck driver with many lights on his rig

    Nightcrawlers – Many police in the area

    Ninety Weight – Liquor

    Nodding off – Getting tired

    Nobody knows where the teddy bear goes – State troopers criss-crossing the freeway

    Numbers – Best wishes. “3’s and 8’s”

    O

    Oil burner – Diesel truck

    On the by – Listening, not talking

    On the side – Standing by, available for a call, listening on frequency. O.M. (old man) – A CB’er

    On a [insert city name] Turn – i.e.- “I’m on an Alamo turn” (I’ll make my return from San Antonio).

    One foot on the floor, one hanging out the door, and she just won’t do no more – Full speed.

    Open Season – Cops are everywhere

    Out – Through transmitting

    Outdoor TV – Drive-in movie

    Over – Your turn to transmit

    Over and out – Closing the transmission

    Check back with us next week for a run down of the letters P-Q-R, or you can get a dictionary full of terms from the book, Woody’s World of CB.

    10-4 from Hot-lanta

    Categories
    • Fleet Resources


  • This week the USA Today reported on another example of the built-in controversy that comes with being a company whose a recipient of government bailout money. This time it hits close to home for those of us in the fleet industry.

    Facing possible bankruptcy, 500 of General Motors best fleet customers were treated to a luxurious week at the Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Arizona, paying for airfare and lodging for the majority of their guests.

    This coming after GM borrowed $15.4 billion from the government this year. A GM spokesperson says the event is scaled back from previous years and is held as a way to promote GM’s 2010 products to a group that accounts for over a quarter of the companies business.

    Critics say that any company that takes government money needs to spend it wisely before it takes any more. (A reported $30 billion in additional funds may be needed for GM to avoid bankruptcy)

    The controversy brings up an interesting debate on government bailout money that seems to be a little different from the outrage caused by other companies in the last few months that rewarded employees with bonus packages and lavish vacations.

    In the case of GM, this retreat was more about entertaining customers and staying competitive in the very lucrative fleet sales business. The big question is, do you want your taxpayer money to go to financing these sales meetings, or should GM be held to rigid fiscal responsibility until they’ve proven they are on the road to recovery.

    Let us know what you think and tell us this: Would you have gone on the trip if you were extended an invitation? Even better, if you were one of the 500 who spent the week at the resort courtesy of GM, was it as good/bad as it sounds?

    To read the entire story, click here

    Photo copyright of un-sung under the Creative Commons license

    Categories
    • Industry News


  • Has this ever happened to you? You’re sitting in traffic on the highway and a few cars up from you sits an 18-wheeler with a giant double cheeseburger plastered on the side of it.

    Other than the guy rocking out in the car next to you, it’s the only thing you have to look at and as an advertisement it is starting to eat away at the promise you made to yourself to put an end to super-sizing, happy meals or #3 combos.

    The next thing you know, that 10 ft tall, 15 ft wide cheeseburger that was professionally designed and photographed for thousands of dollars now has you pulling off the next exit ramp, sitting in the drive thru, justifying that the new Oreo Cookie shake available for a limited time only is a must as well.

    The point is, as a marketing device, your fleet vehicle has the potential to be a highly valuable marketing resource, or in worst-case scenarios, one that hurts your business.

    If you are thinking about wrapping your vehicles, or looking at redesigning them, here are few things to consider:
    • Does your vehicle commands attention in a way that is consistent with the rest of your brand?
    • Does the design on the vehicle cheapen your brand in any way?
    • Does the marketing on your vehicle pique curiosity and increase recall through relevance to its target? Is it memorable in it’s approach…while staying on brand?
    • If you are fronting a new brand, does it educate the viewer as to what your product or service is?
    • Does the vehicle provide a clear action step or contact information to your prospective consumers?

    As you may well know, consumers can make a judgment pretty quickly on a brand. Setting the right perception may make the difference between whether your next meal is a nice filet mignon or…a double cheeseburger off the dollar menu.

    Photo copyright of misocrazy under the Creative Commons license

    Categories
    • Industry News


  • Wild industry fees are a ripple effect of the economy

    The next time you rent a car, look closely at your bill for new mysterious and absurd line-items: Tire fees, Facilities fees, Energy surcharges, something called a Privilege fee, and hundreds more, according to CNN.com.

    Why? You are going to help the rental car industry recoup record losses. Hertz lost $73 million in Q4; Avis lost $121 million.

    In the article, the American Car Rental Association, a trade group for the car rental business, says these fees are essential to the industry’s survival. Not only is there no end in sight, there’s no telling what you’ll be charged for tomorrow.

    Christopher Elliott
    , the story’s author, cautions car renters to be extra aware of things like:

    A fee for something that should come with the car


    Enterprise
    apparently charges renters $2 “tire fee” (reportedly required by the state of Florida) presumably for renting a car with all four tires.

    Surcharge on surcharges


    A man in Florida found a “privilege fee” on his last car rental, which applied to rentals picked up within 48 hours of flight arrival. I guess for the privilege of being their customer. It may also go under the name “concession recovery fee.”


    The stadium tax


    Watch out for the $4 “downtown arena” fee on your bill in Kansas City to do your part for the
    Sprint Center, and a similar one in Georgia, the latter of which funds a minor league stadium for the Gwinnett Braves.

    Other than renting with a vigilance, the best tip was this: pre-pay through sites such as Hotwire.com or Priceline.com, or through an online travel agency that guarantees it rates, without even so much as a “convenience fee” for the added convenience.

    Read the entire article here

    Photo copyright of cote under the Creative Commons license

    Categories
    • Industry News


  • Bad wheels can bring business to a screeching halt

    It only takes about five minutes a month to ensure that you and your fleet have well-performing tires. A move that could save you headaches and money down the road.

    The Rubber Manufacturers Association recommends a four-part check performed at least once a month, on all tires including the spare, to make sure they’re operating at an optimal level.


    P.A.R.T.

    To help you and your drivers remember what to check, remember the acronym P.A.R.T., which stands for:

    Pressure
    A tire can lose half of its pressure and still not look flat, so be sure to check your tires pressure levels at least once a month, more if you are putting high mileage on them. Under-inflation can lead to tire stress and irregular wear and tear, as well as spending money to have them replaced more often then necessary.

    Alignment
    You never know what the roads may bring – potholes, sleet, a sudden stop for a stray dog.  The road can throw your front end out of whack, causing shaking or pulling. If you notice your vehicle doing either, have your mechanic check your alignment. The longer you ignore it, the worse it will get, and the more it will cost to fix.

    Rotation
    Unless your vehicle has a specific recommendation, which you can find in your owner’s manual, you should have your tires rotated at least every 5,000 miles. Proper rotation will make sure that you’re not wearing out the front tires faster then the back, and vice versa, resulting in you being able to get more road and rubber out of your ride.

    Tread
    Take a good, close look at the tread on your tire to make sure there are no extremely high, low or completely bald areas. Tire tread helps your vehicles grip the asphalt, and worn tires are worthless in inclement conditions. Rough, worn, or cracked tires should be replaced before your next haul.

    Remember, not only does it cost nothing to check your tires on a regular basis, it could actually save money in the long run. So encourage your drivers on how to inspect and maintain their vehicle’s tires. It’s an easy way for everyone to do their P.A.R.T. for the entire fleet.

    Photo copyright of charmcitygavin under the Creative Commons license

    Categories
    • Fleet Resources


  • The marketplace for the next generation of fleet vans is about to get pretty crowded. As you may have seen in one of our recent postings, upstart automaker Bright Automotive introduced the IDEA, an all-electric delivery van that promises to get the equivalent of 100 mpg on 50-mile trips.

    This announcement came on the heels of Ford’s announcement back in February, that the auto giant would be producing an Electric-Powered Commercial Van of their own.

    The pure battery electric-powered light commercial vehicle referred to as the Transit Connect light commercial vehicle with battery electric power is Ford’s response to a growing number of commercial vehicle fleet clients who are turning to efficient and cleaner alternatives as they renew their vehicles.


    While Bright Automotive’s IDEA won’t be available until 2013, the Transit Connect with battery electric power is the first of Ford’s new electric vehicle plan to bring battery-powered vehicles, hybrids and plug-in hybrids to market.

    Ford is working with Smith Electric Vehicles, a company based in the U.K. that has been converting vehicles to battery electric power since 1920 and the Transit Connect is already available in Europe.

    As a fleet manager, reduced operation and maintenance costs over the long haul may just be part of the value of making the shift to an electric powered vehicle as the government is introducing federal and regional programs that offer incentives for companies to electrify their fleets.

    We want to know what your plans are. Do you think your next fleet upgrade will go electric?

    Check out the complete article on Ford’s new Transit Connect here.
    Categories
    • Industry News


  • Look for these 3 ways to save on fuel costs

    If you’ll soon be in the market for a new fleet vehicle, check out this posting from www.lubbockonline.com. They recently ran an AP story that highlights a few car-shopping strategies that could save your business some cash at the pump.

    All about the GPMs


    Miles Per Gallon aren’t the only way to measure fuel economy. Flip the formula and measure Gallons Per Mile. Here’s how: Pick the number of miles you drive over a period of time. Divide that number by a vehicle’s mpg to get the gallons of gas a vehicle burns over that distance.


    The article quotes professor Richard Larrick of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, “You get a much more precise idea of how much gas and money a new car will save you.” But if you’re no mathlete, let GPMCalculator.com do the number crunching for you.

    Turbo-charge it


    Fuel efficiency isn’t limited to high-end hybrids, electric cars and vehicles that run on French fry grease. Ford Motor Company will have an EcoBoost engine with turbochargers ready to roll in 90 percent of its models by 2013. “Ford says it improves fuel economy by up 20 percent and cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent without sacrificing power,” according to the article.


    Do Diesel


    Enlightening on several levels. Diesel fuel costs slightly more, but your long-run savings might be worth it, especially as summer fuel prices creep up. The report states that the average diesel driver goes further with 20 percent to 40 percent better mileage — and 50 percent more power. And buyers of some diesel vehicles are eligible for federal tax credits. Visit http://www.fueleconomy.gov/ to learn more.

    Ok, so you’re not ready to buy. The good news is you don’t have to outfit your fleet with a fuel-efficient car today to cut fuel costs tomorrow. Instead, try a fuel card that is custom-fit to your business.


    Did you know the right fleet card lets you fill-up at the best prices, track use online in real-time and prevent unwanted purchases altogether? See how quickly your savings add up. Savings you can use for a down payment on that new fleet vehicle.

    Photo copyright of  Peterr under the Creative Commons license.

    Categories
    • Industry News


  • This week, Work Truck Online looks at effective fleet managers and the traits they share in keeping their vehicles running as safely and efficiently as possible.

    See if your management style matches up:

    1. Goal-Oriented Fleet Management – Are your goals in step with the company’s overall mission?

    2. Focus on the Internal Customer – Keep senior management informed and the company’s interests foremost in all fleet management decisions.

    3. Develop Partnerships with Suppliers – Work with suppliers and other partners to optimize performance.

    4. Practices Strategic Fleet Management – Treat every decision you make, from vehicle acquisition to how you choose your suppliers and manufacturers, as a high-level corporate decision.

    5. Ability to Implement Effective Fleet Policies – be strategic in controlling costs. It can truly impact the bottom line.

    Read the entire list here
    , and we want to know: what do you think of the list? What would you add or delete?

    Photo copyright of ktoiswho under the Creative Commons license

    Categories
    • Fleet Resources


  • A Big IDEA

    May 01, 2009

    The changes in the auto industry are becoming more and more evident everyday and your fleet could be on the forefront of innovation that could be a real game changer for automakers and the oil industry.

    Last week, Bright Automotive, a start up company based in Indiana unveiled the IDEA, a plug-in hybrid electric van that can get a 100-miles per gallon and they are looking to businesses and government agencies to be their initial customers.

    Bright has plans to produce 50,000 vehicles a year beginning in 2013. CEO John Waters, who created the battery pack for General Motor’s first electric car, is targeting fleets because of the large numbers of vehicles bought at one time.

    Bright Automotive is just one of the many start up companies challenging the more established auto makers with the kind of technology that will reduce emissions and provide millions of dollars in savings on gas each year.

    Though no price is available for the IDEA, production is set to begin in 2012 and be ready for distribution the following year.


    In short, the future will be here sooner than you think and some of these high mileage vehicles may make you think twice about purchasing new vehicles for your fleet until newer options are made available and are affordable as well.

    To learn more about Bright Automotive and a look at the IDEA click here.

    Categories
    • Industry News