One of the highlights of spring is the trip to trade shows and meetings sponsored by the trucking industry. These shows allow companies to gain insight on trends within the industry, as well as future goals.
On March 11 we attended the Technology & Maintenance Council’s (TMC) 2013 Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition in Nashville, TN. We kicked off the TMC meeting by attending the Heavy Duty Dialogue (HDD) conference which brings industry leaders and economists together with VP to CEO level executives from supplier companies from the on-highway, commercial vehicle industry. This conference allows businesses to hear firsthand the condition our industry is in, and the problems we are facing.
Much was discussed at HDD about the direction of the industry. Class 8 trucks were a hot topic of discussion. Eric Starks, President of FTR Associates remarked that he is “cautiously optimistic” about Class 8 truck sales for 2013 with the market improving in the second half of the year. Another industry leader, Martin Daum, President and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, reported that “2012 was an extremely successful year for DTNA, but we can do better in 2013.” With a 44% market share of the North American Class 8 market, Daum feels that it is DTNA’s job to look at the technology of the future. President and CEO Dick Giromini of Wabash National Corp, a leading trailer manufacturer predicted that the trailer demand will remain above replacement levels between 2013 and 2016. This is positive news for the industry.
After TMC we attended the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville Kentucky, which gave us an opportunity to hear several leaders in the Heavy Truck industry (at both the OEM and supplier level) talk about business forecasts for the industry and their companies. Being able to connect with key customers and visits display booths allows opportunities for collaboration. At MATS, Troy Clarke, President of Navistar predicted that as long as manufacturing activity in 2013 continues to trend upward, the requirements to move materials for production will positively impact freight and truck sales. He said that the three key issues at Navistar were: setting clear goals and metrics to achieve those goals; bringing the new engines to market; and delivering to the budget. He also stated that the company would make financial progress on a quarter by quarter basis.
Attending these shows allows companies to stay in touch with industry progress to better serve clients. And, doing so at a large, enjoyable show is an added bonus!