Are you using the tools vital to industry success?

Wm. Craig Bonham
NTEA Board Chairman
Vice President, Commercial Vehicle
Safe Fleet
Belton, Missouri

This article was published in the October 2019 edition of NTEA News.

Years ago, when you had a question or wanted to learn something, you reached for an encyclopedia. I found myself using these resources quite a bit. While they were helpful, you had to have physical copies on hand. When I compare that to what’s available now, it’s apparent things have drastically changed. Today, information is a click away, and for the most part, it’s accessible anywhere on the planet — as long as you have a mobile device or computer. While that is immensely helpful, the amount of information can be daunting. I thought it may be helpful to highlight some of the industry tools I reach for now. 

In the commercial vehicle business, NTEA makes technical information and training available at your fingertips via The Association delivers important resources on everything related to education and business services. Beyond the full suite of information, industry experts stand ready to share guidance on educational opportunities, ways to make the most of member benefits, access business tools, and gain insights into industry health and market intelligence.

From an educational standpoint, Truck Equipment 101 can serve as an extension of your company resources. It’s a foundational course that covers all aspects of work trucks and the industry. Made up of 15 online modules, it provides insight into systems that make up a truck and basic regulatory requirements applicable to U.S. and Canadian markets. Take it from me, I went through the accredited TE101 course, and I’ve been in the business for 37 years! The presentation model ensures important topics are thoroughly covered so new hires and veterans alike can profit from the experience. If you’re wondering why you should take the course, I’d say that you can always use a refresher, and NTEA members have free access. I love the fact that the message applies to such a versatile audience, and it’s presented in a format that maintains attention. The course was truly worth my time investment. As a matter of fact, it is now part of our mandatory training and onboarding curriculum for Safe Fleet’s Commercial Vehicle business unit. The nice thing is you can complete this course at your own pace.

Earlier this year, the first TE201 module became available. TE201 is intended as a series of online course modules, designed for those seeking deeper understanding of specific TE101 topics. The first module reviews U.S., Canadian and European Union certification processes and U.S./Canadian label requirements, as well as the influence of motor vehicle safety
standards. It’s essential for all of us to have a firm grasp of these concepts in this line of work.

Last month, NTEA released the second TE201 module to help expand understanding of the vehicle powertrain, reviewing aspects like horsepower and torque, engine function and alternative propulsion, power and torque transfer by the transmission, and driveline and axle. I’m excited to review this latest edition, and if it’s anything like the preceding courses, it will be an effective way to advance industry knowledge growth.

Consider these courses, in addition to support from resources like NTEA’s Vehicle Center of Gravity and Axle Weight Calculator, WorkTruckCert, Vehicle Life Cycle Cost Tool, the latest industry and market data, Truck Equipment Handbook (the industry’s most comprehensive resource for commercial vehicle components and equipment), and networking exposure — to name a few. With tools like these, you are armed to you are armed to navigate the competitive, churning environment we know as the work truck industry.

Maybe I’m an information junkie. Maybe I’ve captured the information I needed to be successful by luck. Then again, it could be that I’ve capitalized on the tools available to me, studied the materials, and applied what I learned from some of the greats in the business. I know I would not be where I am today without these resources.  

Nobody can make an individual review and apply information from available courses, read emails, study industry data, or reach out to experts, but NTEA can develop tools you can utilize to become more efficient, productive and successful. The Association’s fundamental motivation is furthering industry knowledge, growth and profitability. As Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas) stated to Bud Fox (played by Charlie Sheen) in the movie Wall Street, “The most valuable commodity I know of is information.” This is what NTEA offers the commercial vehicle community.