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An investment during difficult times

Okay, I would agree with those who suggest that writing about being in difficult times may seem redundant, or at least a little obvious. As I write this the TSX has just experienced its biggest one-da...




Okay, I would agree with those who suggest that writing about being in difficult times may seem redundant, or at least a little obvious. As I write this the TSX has just experienced its biggest one-day drop (800+ points), and the DOW and other world markets are in free-fall as the result of the US House of Representatives having turned down the Bush administration’s proposal to bail out the financial sector.

Manufacturing jobs are disappearing in Ontario and there is real concern that North America could be moving toward the dreaded”R” word. There’s plenty of proof for those who need it that the economy is struggling.

On the other hand, Saskatchewan is booming, so much so that a delegation of employers and government officials recently staged a job fair in Ontario hoping to entice workers to head west. Indeed, we are getting mixed messages, but for the most part it’s grim news.

But while accepting the premise that we are in difficult times with increasing demands for constraints on expenditures, even cost-conscious managers would have to agree that there are times when spending money is truly an investment, and not simply an expense.

I believe that membership in associations that offer education, advice, and information sharing is an example of a valuable investment – an investment with an ROI that could be equal to or better than most that are discussed in the board rooms of the nation. Industry associations of this type certainly exist in the world of trucking, and progressive companies not only join them, but they take full advantage of their membership to stay current with all of the issues of the day.

The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, and other associations such as the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) and Owner-Operator’s Business Association of Canada (OBAC) are examples of the type of associations that deliver real value.

Active members have a broad-based source of information at hand to serve their needs. The experience and technical information available from the office and membership of these groups represent a valuable resource for any fleet operator and/or owner/operator.

The collective membership of these organizations include individuals and businesses with experience in every conceivable aspect of fleet management. The proven willingness of members to share that experience with other members provides an unparalleled resource that can be accessed by a telephone call. You can think of association membership as your pipeline to a pool of experts.

Along with the opportunity to access those resources, association members receive regular publications and electronic bulletins that keep them current with regulatory changes and other important information that matters – another source of necessary information for fleet operators.

Additionally, seminars and conferences deliver experts on a variety of topics throughout the year -sessions that help members do their jobs a little better. But perhaps even more valuable is the resource pool I referred to above.

Association members that operate private fleets are more than willing to share experiences, discuss ideas, and help other members solve problems. In the case of the PMTC member companies often do not compete with one another – at least not on the trucking level – and so there is a certain freedom to share information on trucking issues.

Associate and allied trades members offer equipment, personnel, and anything else you can think of that is consumed in the operation of truck fleets.

Speaking for our own group, while the PMTC office can and does address questions from members directly, often using our contacts within various ministries, we frequently put members in touch with other members who may have already dealt with, or share an interest in an issue.

The combined resources of the office and members generate a valuable information pool. And we share a common bond – we are all in the business of effective fleet management.

So, acknowledging that everyone needs to watch the pennies in this economic cycle we are currently experiencing, it is important not to lose sight of the simple fact that economies rebound, and while that rebound is in process fleet managers need the help of trucking associations like the PMTC.

If your company is not yet a member of a trucking association, there is no better time to consider the return on such an investment. It’s like adding an inexpensive group of experts to your staff.

In trying times the value becomes even more apparent.

– The Private Motor Truck Council is the only national association dedicated to the private trucking community. Your comments or questions can be addressed totrucks@pmtc.ca.


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