The value of continuous education

by Bruce Richards

Economic indicators and the pundits on both sides of the Canada/US border are a little more optimistic these days. Less formal indicators include my conversations with PMTC members, both fleet operators and industry suppliers, who universally are a little more cheerful than they have been.

Add to that the gains we’ve seen in the stock market and housing sales and there are definite signs of improvement. We’re not out of the proverbial woods yet, but it seems that we can see some prospect of getting there.

Throughout the recession, PMTC members have continued to invest in education and used every opportunity to promote their products and services. Recognizing the paramount need to keep current with changes and new products is the hallmark of serious professionals in this industry. It is very easy to fall behind when tending only to the day to day issues – those who make the time to keep up with changes and new products position themselves and their companies to succeed.

There are many sources of information for those who take the time: Trade publications monitor and report on events and issues and are the go-to source for many people and the Internet is another valuable source of information and is often the first place to be considered when a prompt answer is needed.

And one of the most valuable sources of information and assistance is your industry association to which a telephone call or an e-mail can generate the information that you need as quickly as you need it. Of course your association likely offers lots of other opportunities to learn and to network.

In fact, industry associations can be considered the best sources of information and assistance for their members. They exist to serve the interests of their members and that gives them a particular focus for their activities.

Association newsletters, Web sites, bulletins and other communication vehicles provide information specific to the needs of the industry segments they represent. In addition to the printed word, their seminars and conferences are designed to specifically address the needs of their market.

The annual conference of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada is one such event, designed for an audience with common interests. It is the focal point of the year for private carriers and suppliers of products and services to those carriers, two days packed with valuable information and networking opportunities.

This year on June 20-21 we return to the KingBridge Conference Centre, just north of the Toronto airport for the third year in a row. The venue is outstanding and its amenities are an important part of the success of our conferences.

For many years this conference has been the premier event of the PMTC. Its educational value is unsurpassed and consistently receives high praise from attendees. Along with the educational component, this is the single best opportunity to meet with industry colleagues and share experiences.

The 2012 lineup includes no less than seven informative seminars covering a wide range of topics. We will begin with a session on the subject of Social Media in Trucking – an explanation of today’s newest communication tools. We will delve into specific examples of how to – and how not to – use social media to promote your business or build relationships with colleagues and customers, all trucking specific.

And more seminars on that first day include specifics on North America’s new emissions regulations that take effect in 2014. Environment Canada will provide a full explanation of the proposed regulations and their potential effects on medium- and heavy-duty trucks; the question of whether natural gas is a real alternative for your fleet will be explored in a seminar that will consider all the variables; and the chair of CCMTA’s committee studying whether EOBRs should be mandatory will discuss the committee’s work to date and review the draft proposals.

Day one also includes networking and receptions in the Conference Exhibitors’ Showcase – another sell-out this year – as well as the inductions into the Hall of Fame for Professional Drivers and the Private Fleet Safety Awards.  

Day two begins with a review of the Private Fleet Benchmarking Study conducted and published by Motortruck Fleet Executive magazine in conjunction with PMTC. This study provides a detailed portrait of Canadian private carriers operating coast to coast. The report is laid out in variety categories, including a best practices section, and is a must-have for every fleet operator who wants to compare his or her operations with other similar fleets. That seminar will be followed by two particularly topical sessions. The first is a presentation by PIT/FPInnovations, who have entered in to an agreement with PMTC to provide specialty services on a long list of subjects to our members. PIT evaluates products to confirm the accuracy of manufacturers’ claims, and provides engineering assessments of existing technology to determine how it can help your fleet.

Then we look at Behavioural Assessment, the cutting edge tool to successful hiring practices. Hiring the right people is the most challenging part of any business and the Predictive Index is a proven behavioural matching method for identifying the right person for the job. You don’t want to miss this one. And of course we will be distributing the PMTC annual vehicle graphics design awards – always a highlight of the conference.

And you don’t even need to be a PMTC member to attend.  We’re in the education business…come on out and get some.

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