TORONTO, Ont. – The Ontario Trucking Association is gearing up for its annual convention Nov. 11 and 12.
This year’s program of events will also see the return of the Technology and Maintenance Council to the roster, with maintenance and information technology sessions (some of them even hands-on) running side by side with the convention series.
It will be the TMC’s second appearance at the OTA convention, and a major coup for the association. The Technology and Maintenance Council (a self-supporting part of the American Trucking Associations) touts itself (and justifiably so) as the premier North American body working to educate the trucking industry about state-of-the-art maintenance procedures.
“We believe this kind of forum is something Canadian fleets want and something we have a particular type of expertise in,” said Janet Howells-Tierney, who managed the TMC’s schedule of events at last year’s OTA convention.
“We’ve worked with fleets in the U.S. for many years and since we came up to Canada last fall we’ve been getting a lot of feedback. Canadian fleets are definitely interested in having us up there.”
The TMC sessions promise to offer a refreshingly practical addition to a convention that has traditionally catered to top industry executives.
While fleet bigwigs can stimulate their intellects at sessions on such topics as “Wage research as a communication tool: Improve employee relations and reduce turnover,” and “Q&A with the bridge,” maintenance managers can get their hands dirty at technical sessions such as “Measuring and assessing the performance of the new diesel engine,” and “Battling corrosion.”
“And at the Friday session we’ll have a session on issues with brakes on multi-axle vehicles, which will be of particular interest to Canadian fleets,” said Howells-Tierney.
Idling issues to be discussed
Technical sessions will also cover border-related and idling issues, by examining the tools (software among them) currently being used to address them.
“Canadian fleets have expressed a particular interest in the idling issue, especially when it comes to waiting at the border,” said Howells-Tierney.
A session, entitled “Strategies to reduce fuel consumption caused by costly engine idling,” will be held on Friday, Nov. 12.
“Basically, we’ll be looking at some government agencies that have actually addressed the issue, as well as a number of companies that have come up with different ways to keep their cabs warm, using APUs etc.,” Howells-Tierney said.
Logistic sessions will also be on the OTA/TMC menu, such as “Mapping efficient deliveries,” on Friday, Nov. 12, and “Custom solutions for trip inspections – RFID tags.”
And as usual OTA will offer a full roster of compliance, profit and upcoming challenge-related themes, including sessions on cargo loss and prevention, Customs developments, payment liability, tracking and insurance.
In short, it’s going to be a packed two days, with something for just about everyone.
What the TMC is hoping to get out of it is an inroad into the Canadian trucking industry, which promises to be a rich source of membership (and, one would assume, revenue) in years to come.
“We would like to get some committees going in Canada to deal with issues of specific interest to Canadian fleets,” admitted Howells-Tierney.
“Having fleets meet with equipment manufacturers and service suppliers is always a good idea – the fleets get to discuss their problems and the suppliers get to come up with solutions that address them directly.
“Of course before we come over the border we have to work up interest first,” she said. “Because these member driven groups need a huge staff to run all their studies.
“Right now in the U.S. we have 75 task forces and study groups running and more starting all the time.”
Howells-Tierney said she has heard of the Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar’s annual convention but that organizers have yet to contact her.