WorkTruckCert — using data to understand the market

By Kevin Koester, NTEA senior director

This article was published in the September 2020 edition of NTEA News.

Since early 2019, commercial vehicle manufacturers and distributors have leveraged WorkTruckCert to simplify the vehicle certification process and reduce on-site data storage risk. Today, over 500 organizations are utilizing this cloud-based tool to make it easier to create and print certification labels for work trucks. This system is designed to streamline the process, helping users save time and money, and mitigate risk by supporting record retention. But there are other benefits. WorkTruckCert will put data at your fingertips, enabling you to better run your business. Most importantly, though, it can help you better understand the market as a whole.

How many dump trucks are on the road in the United States right now? Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to tell how many trucks are registered in the U.S. with dump bodies, let alone if that number is increasing or decreasing — and it’s the same for other body types. As an industry, we’re making decisions based on part of the story. We know from registration data how many Class 5 cab chassis hit the road last year and the year before that, and so on. But what happened to all of them? What did they become? Without empirical data, we can’t properly identify where we’ve been, and therefore, where we’re going.

Understanding market size and trend data enables us to accurately inform our capacity planning business. Without knowing past and current segment size, companies are at a disadvantage in forecasting the future.

This can create excess capacity or even lost sales due to shortages. A simple example would be the impact of an infrastructure bill. We know what vehicles are used in construction, but how many more tanker trucks will we need to produce as an industry? If we can’t work from a base number, we can’t meet capacity and potentially can’t build the trucks.

Product planning is another area reliant on accurate and timely data. Without staying informed of market trends, it’s difficult to identify shifts in customer needs. This could mean anything from a delay in improvements to interruptions in new and advanced product development from equipment and chassis manufacturers. It’s hard to turn ideas into advancements without numbers.

The ability to adequately inform policymakers, using data, is another consideration. While vehicle emissions, fuel economy and congestion remain in the spotlight in many areas, we haven’t been able to fully measure the size of particular markets that would be negatively impacted by changes in regulation.

Where we’re going
In the coming months, WorkTruckCert will increase its capabilities with user experience improvements and the addition of an API, allowing for largescale data connection between your business and WorkTruckCert. This will provide companies the ability to upload existing and historical data as well as integrate their internal repositories with WorkTruckCert. It will efficiently mechanize the data capture for businesses using WorkTruckCert’s simple interface while providing the necessary feed required to maintain internal databases.

Development of an API, along with other targeted actions, will significantly influence our ability to measure the industry. Rest assured, the name of organizations creating labels and installing equipment on vehicles will not be shared. But what will be available is the market’s collective body and equipment data.

This means being able to provide data that can better inform policymakers. It means being able to use empirical data to make product decisions. Most importantly, though, it means being able to serve our collective customers and partners more effectively and efficiently. For example, over the past decade or so, telematics systems have become commonplace, if not a requirement, in the fleet space. This shift has been driven by fleet recognition that data can improve their business by reducing fuel consumption, predicting maintenance needs, improving route development and ultimately reducing downtime.

As an industry, we’re positioned to leverage another proven technology to make better decisions, create a resource to answer questions we’ve always wanted to ask, and in the end, simplify our businesses and better serve customers.

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