WTS18: Make your plan for a successful experience

By Doyle Sumrall, NTEA Managing Director

This article was published in the January 2018 edition of NTEA News.

One of the best parts of my job is visiting NTEA members — learning about their businesses and hearing their perspectives on current industry dynamics. You never know where conversations will lead, but they often involve connecting the member to an NTEA resource or staff expert.

During a recent meeting, I was surprised when a member said he missed having to fly to The Work Truck Show®. This caught me off guard, as most members located near Indianapolis find their close proximity convenient. So, naturally, I asked why it bothered him. I was half expecting the answer to involve a lost destination opportunity, but it didn’t.

“When I had to plan for it and commit several days, I got a lot more out of the experience,” he said. Elaborating, he explained his team used to pre-select educational sessions to ensure value for the time investment. They would also check-in with vendors to line up meetings and other opportunities for the week. Now, with the Show only a short drive away, he said it doesn’t feel as critical to create such a detailed agenda, which has contributed to missed opportunities.

Our conversation led to the conclusion that — with a broad educational program encompassing Work Truck Show, Green Truck Summit and Fleet Technical Congress sessions; exhibit hall featuring 500 companies; networking events; exhibitor and association meetings; press conferences from companies debuting products; and supplier and customer meetings — it would be a good idea to make a plan if they want to meet their objectives. 

I inquired about their attendance goals — apart from connecting with suppliers and customers. He said he wants one of his employees to learn more about lean for their upfit operation. Since the VW funds will be spent on vehicles and electric infrastructure in Indiana, his company needs to stay informed. He also asked my opinion on which sessions and events he should consider.

What a great opening to talk about the programs NTEA, supporting organizations, sponsors and exhibitors have put together for Work Truck Week. Following are just some of the highlights NTEA members won’t want to miss.

Lean
Two special sessions focus on lean thinking and moving shop productivity to a new level. Lean 101: Straightforward Approach to Lean Implementation for Truck Equipment Upfitters is held March 6, followed by Lean 201: The Kata Journey – Daily Practice for Scientific Thinking, Mindset and Culture on March 8. Find more details at worktruckshow.com/specialsessions.

Workforce development
The Work Truck Show offers resources to help your best and brightest continue their professional growth, and ensure new recruits get the training they need to become valuable team members.

The concurrent session Ready…Hire…Aim: Just Because Your Competition Hires This Way Doesn’t Mean You Should — scheduled March 7 — offers proven techniques for determining the best hires.

Solutions for Building a Skilled Manufacturing Workforce, held March 6, provides resources to help manufacturers build a pipeline of experienced employees.

I Hired Workers But Human Beings Showed up — Now What? is held March 7, and offers seven techniques to accelerate staff performance.

New this year, Visionary Center for Sustainable Communities (VCSC) is bringing its mobile classroom to the Ride-and-Drive area. This training center is equipped with examples of advanced manufacturing technologies and systems — such as 3-D printing and scanning, laser cutting and robotics. It also features online training resources, including Project Ignite, and additional information on education and career pathways in manufacturing.

Find more workforce development offerings at worktruckshow.com/workforcedevelopment.

Government regulations
FMVSS 111 Rear Visibility Full Compliance Requirements: How Commercial Vehicles Are Affected — held March 6 — offers key information about changes to FMVSS 111, including what’s new, how it affects your business and methods for field of view compliance. In addition, attendees can see live test demonstrations of how companies can conform to May 1, 2018, rear visibility system requirements at Booth 3400 on March 7 and 8 from 1–1:30 p.m. and 3–3:30 p.m. Learn more at worktruckshow.com/fmvss111.

Green Truck Summit
Green Truck Summit, scheduled March 6–8, is an alternative fuels and advanced technology conference featuring insights from leading truck manufacturers, governmental and regulatory officials, and fleet management decision-makers. During this event, attendees will learn how the industry can make an immediate impact on greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant reduction. Visit worktruckshow.com/greentrucksummit for details.

Fleet Technical Congress
This event, held March 6–8, offers fleet managers technical and operational training, enabling them to learn from some of the most accomplished and effective fleet leaders in the industry. Presenters address timely issues affecting the vocational fleet community, providing expert strategy and insight to help fleet managers optimize their resources and navigate operational challenges. Visit worktruckshow.com/fleettechnicalcongress for more.

Ride-and-Drive
Attendees can experience the industry’s latest advanced technologies and alternative fuel applications. Meet key suppliers, learn about innovative clean vehicle solutions and test-drive or ride in the newest trucks. Get more details at worktruckshow.com/rideanddrive.

Learn more
See the full Work Truck Week educational program, exhibiting companies and products, a complete schedule of events, and more at worktruckshow.com. Contact the NTEA team with any questions (info@ntea.com or 800-441-6832).

Stay connected by visiting facebook.com/TheWorkTruckShow and Twitter @WorkTruckShow. Official Work Truck Show, Green Truck Summit and Fleet Technical Congress hashtags are #worktrucks18, #greentrucks18 and #fleets18.