Notes from TruckWorld 2014
Traditionally, every second year during a few days in mid-April, the trucking community of Ontario gathers for the Truck World exhibition...
Traditionally, every second year during a few days in mid-April, the trucking community of Ontario gathers for the Truck World exhibition. It takes place at the International Centre in Toronto. This year, Truck World 2014 ran from April 10-12. DorogaRoad spoke to a few exhibitors that participated in the show. First we met Carol Girard, Fleet Sales Manager-Ontario and Tracy Gerber, Marketing Assistant of Volvo Trucks Canada.
Notes from TruckWorld 2014
DorogaRoad: Volvo is one of the major players on the heavy trucks manufacturing landscape. You always present your products during Truck World in Montreal and Toronto. So what's interesting this year during Truck World 2014 here in Toronto presented by Volvo?
Carol Girard: We are featuring the natural gas LNG truck with the Cummins 12 liter engine. We know that some of our customers are interested in that, especially for City P&D type work. So we're showing that we are a player in that market. And we also have our new VNX truck. The VNX is a heavy-haul truck for the heavy-haul market such as oil and gas or logging. Increased ride heights, heavy front axle, rear axle, all for increased payload. And of course we're featuring our vocational VHD with a stone slinger on the back, and then on the flagship truck the VNL 780. We are really trying to show that we have diversity. We offer our customers not only what's on the highway, but also City P&D, vocational, as well as the heavy-haul.
DR: Two years ago there was a showstopper at the Volvo exhibit. That green modern style truck brought from Europe. Was it a hybrid, I believe?
Carol Girard: Yes, it was a hybrid.
DR: Right. And this year your showstopper is?
Carol Girard: Well, I would say the focus is on the VNX. We're launching the VNX in Canada. We'll be doing some demonstrations with that product to showcase that we are in heavy-haul application. It has a D16 600 hp engine, and really we're here to take on that market segment.
DR: Volvo was always famous for great designs that truck drivers who spend a lot of hours in the cab could benefit from. And this year I know that you also introduced very cool gear for the Volvo truckers…
Carol Girard: Yes, absolutely. They're young and hardworking truck drivers who want to be on the cutting edge and we like to be there with them. We have this new look gear to help them dress and work in style. It's very cool, very cutting edge so we're really proud of that.
DR: As you know the publication I present is aimed for the Eastern European truckers of Canada. And I know they also love the Volvo brand for its European roots. What's your message to this audience, who have been dedicated to Volvo for many years?
Carol Girard: Well, we appreciate their business, we are pleased to be able to offer them comfort and the ride that they're used to from their originate homeland. By all means we are happy to have them, we're accommodating them, and we listen to them. They are a big part of our business and as they keep buying Volvos and we'll keep supporting them.
DR: Carol is there anything that I forgot to ask you or you meant to say and I didn't ask you?
Carol Girard: I'd like to say that Volvo is certainly looking to grow market share in Canada. I think we've got a great reputation for drive and safety. The fuel economy is huge. And all this is to make our drivers and our customers more successful by providing a very fuel-efficient truck, a very safe truck. We want our drivers to come home safely at the end of their trip.
DR: Thank you very much.
Our next stop is at the booth of TransCore Link Logistic. Here we met Claudia Milicevic, General Manager and Karen Campbell-Jones, Marketing Communications Manager.
DR: TransCore Link Logistics, everyone knows this name, everyone in the trucking business knows this company and uses your products. Why are you still participating in this exhibition? Do you really need to participate in these kind of events?
Claudia Milicevic: Absolutely. We do have a lot of new prospective customers that are coming by as well as existing customers. It's great to meet existing customers put a face to a name, and show them more of the latest and the greatest that we have to offer.
DR: And what are "the latest and the greatest" nowadays?
Claudia Milicevic: There's a few of them actually. First, we just had a press release yesterday for Posting Index, which you saw. Posting Index is a great system because it shows volumes in certain areas and throughout North America. And it gets load and truck ratios. So a lot of times people won't be pre-planning, they'll just take a load from here to another destination without thinking about whether or not they can find a backhaul load, but also to find out what the ratio of trucks and loads in that area is.
DR: In other words, you help people plan more efficiently?
Claudia Milicevic: Exactly. Plan and insource at the regions that will be more profitable and easy for them to find backhauls. And they can look at historical data for the past year. They can look at last month or even last week to get an indication of what's happening there (To learn more about Posting Index see page 12. DR).
DR: With such volumes of loads and trucks coming through your system on a daily basis you can easily take the pulse of the industry. How do you think it compares to two years ago or four years ago?
Claudia Milicevic: You know, I'm very happy that it's optimistic. People are moving a lot of freight. The capacity is in short supply right now, and the load volumes are booming so people are excited, they're making money, they're busier than they have been, especially compared to two years ago.
DR: And your comments Karen?
Karen Campbell-Jones: It's great to actually have our teams out here and, as Claudia said, we're able to interact with the customers in a different way because a lot of times it's over the phone, and helping them with learning the service over the phone. Yet, now you're beside the customer and they can actually see and you can say: "look here, here, here, you know… look at this information…" You can spend more time with a customer, more one on one without pressure. A lot of times when you talk to the customers in the office, they're doing a job right in and there, but now they've come to you, and said: let's spend some time together. And they want to spend time and talk to us. After they've got what they're looking for, they can speak to us on a different level: talk about the shows, talk about what's interesting and connecting with each other on a different level back in the office.
DR: Thank you very much, ladies. I wish you all success in this exhibition.
At the Mack exhibit we've met Mike Reiter, Eastern Region Sales Director of Idle Free Systems, Inc. an American manufacturer of idle free systems.
DR: Mike, why are you participating in this show?
Mike Reiter: Good question. We are a US-based manufacturer. And we feel that it is very important that we have exposure in North America. So Canada, as a target market is very important for us.
DR: What exactly are you presenting here during this show?
Mike Reiter: A piece of equipment that we manufacture is designed to improve fuel efficiency for big sleeper trucks or vocational trucks and to make sure that the drivers are comfortable without having to idle the truck engine. So, with the sleeper market we can provide four seasons of comfort: air conditioning, heat, running the appliances that the driver would need to keep comfortable. On a vocational side, it's a product to provide heat to the engine, the cab, but we can also run exterior lights, interior lights, and communication devices— all without having to run the truck engine.
DR: So what's the principle? You take electricity from an external power source?
Mike Reiter: Correct. We use batteries as the power source. Depending upon the particular fleet or the vocational application; we're going to use batteries to keep the driver comfortable, depending again if it's air conditioning or heat. On the vocational side, we introduce a new product that has an engine start module; it's an ultra-capacitor. And that actually is designed to help the starter to turn the crank. Now we can use those extra batteries that we initially designed to help the engine turnover we can use those for lights and other things.
DR: Of course, there's some other product on the market similar to yours. Why do you think that customers will prefer to purchase yours over the competitors'?
Mike Reiter: It's a very good question. The differentiators for us are going to be the return of the investment as a very big part of it. If someone invests in equipment like this, they want to make sure that they're getting their money back as accurately as possible, in a short time frame. So with an electric system, we feel that that's the best way because there isn't the operational cost that competitors would have with an additional engine or generator if you will. And of course there're a lot of benefits to the existing truck engine. Those engines are not designed to idle. They're designed to propel a truck, to go, to pull a load or whatever it might be. So the benefits to the truck engine itself are significant as well. The oil change intervals are significantly increased.
DR: How you will measure the success of your participation in this truck show?
Mike Reiter: I think the success is that we are able to capitalize on leads that come to the Mack booth here. We're very fortunate to partner with Mack and really appreciate that from the stand point of their great location, they're sending us interested parties that we're able to tell about our product and show how they can benefit from using it, how they could improve their trucks overtime.
DR: Thank you Mike. I wish you success at this exhibition and everywhere else in North America.
Mike Reiter: Thank you.