Making The Work Truck Show work for you

By: Doyle Sumrall, NTEA Manager Director

This article was published in the January 2017 edition of NTEA News.

It’s hard to believe the new year is already upon us. At NTEA, we’re gearing up for The Work Truck Show and Green Truck Summit (March 14–17, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana). With nearly 12,000 attendees in 2016, the Show is North America’s largest work truck event.

In addition to the newest commercial vehicles and equipment filling the exhibit floor, the Show offers an in-depth educational program. In 2017, many Association members are participating as session speakers and concept providers. Developing curriculum has been exciting and challenging at the same time. The goal is to offer relevant content that attracts industry professionals, delivering needed insights and presenting ideas and tools that can enhance businesses. Take a look at available session offerings and consider which ones are most applicable to you. You can browse options at

The knowledge presented in these courses can help expand your awareness and provide solutions for key operational issues.

Recently, I spoke with an NTEA Distributor member who wanted a list of session recommendations. He’s bringing an employee to the Show this year and wants to select four or five courses that give exposure to ideas they can bring back to the business and start executing. After considering his options, he selected classes, including the special session Straightforward Approach to Lean Implementation for Truck Equipment Upfitters, and Advantages of Deploying a Lean Workforce. These sessions reinforce the lean mentality, offering a hands-on, 

interactive experience in streamlining processes and improving shop productivity. The all-day special session, featuring experts from Purdue University’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, engages participants in an exercise assembling small work trucks to learn about job shop lean. Attendees compare their current upfitting approaches to field-proven lean tactics. Back by popular demand, this will be the third year for this course. Former participants are returning to share how it has improved their shop processes and bottom line.

New this year is a session presented by experts from Computer Aided Technology LLC — Rapid Prototyping for Small and Mid-Sized Companies. Earlier this year, I visited a small distributor member company that uses SolidWorks to design upfit components. The science and engineering behind commercial vehicles is becoming increasingly complex. Having metal parts fit right the first time is more critical than ever. This session will demonstrate how computer design tools allow development, analysis, testing and rendering of promotional material — all in the computer environment, to shorten the path to market for components and products. Even for small organizations, these tools can be cost-effective.

These courses are just a sample of the educational programming you can explore to add significant value while at The Work Truck Show and Green Truck Summit. If you’re onboarding a new employee, for instance, consider combining a few OEM chassis update sessions with Advancing Sustainability Objectives and Reducing Operating Costs with Lightweighting as well as Spec’ing Trucks for Maximum Performance, Efficiency and Utilization. This would give your new staff member a well-rounded industry perspective. With a broad range of industry-specific sessions and hundreds of commercial vehicle and equipment displays on the exhibit floor, this could be the best training available to you. We encourage you to come to Indy in March and get involved.  

If you have any questions, contact Doyle Sumrall.