LISLE, Ill. – International Truck has announced DriverFirst, a company-wide initiative aimed at giving its customers an edge in attracting and retaining qualified drivers by engineering trucks with a focus on the driver’s perspective.
During a conference call June 13, Denny Mooney, senior vice-president of International, said one of the biggest problems facing the industry is attracting and retaining drivers, and that in his recent talks with trucking companies, the concern over an impeding driver shortage continues to come up.
“Given the industry’s chronic driver shortage, it’s also about having enough drivers to operate those trucks,” said Mooney. “And for us, that means building trucks that will help our customers attract and retain drivers, by reflecting the driver’s point of view in the way they are designed and the technologies and features they offer. Simply put, we want to build trucks that drivers want to drive.”
Mooney said International would be refreshing its truck design in the next couple of years, and the company is getting input directly from drivers to determine how best to engineer those trucks.
“Engineering opinions are not always the best opinion when it comes to drivers,” he said.
Mooney added that International expects more women and younger drivers to enter the industry in the coming years, which is taken into consideration during the design process.
He said International has brought drivers in to sit in clay models of prospective new trucks in an effort to get input on where controls should be located and what does and doesn’t work for them. The clay models have even been transported directly to customers so that several drivers can get the opportunity to provide input on the model.
“The key takeaway from our research is that drivers want trucks that are designed to do the job,” Mooney said. “Drivers aren’t looking for something automotive or futuristic for its own sake. They just want something comfortable and functional, with a design that helps them do their job better and more easily.”
Mooney said when designing new trucks, International focuses on comfort, safety, productivity and efficiency.
The DriverFirst program reflects the company’s long-standing customer focus that it says has yielded a number of innovations, including the Bendix Wingman Fusion safety system and Over-the-Air Programming.
“The DriverFirst philosophy has already helped us deliver multiple innovations, and it plays an even more prominent role in the new products that we will be bringing to the market starting this fall,” Mooney said. “We are committed to helping our customers improve the total driver experience, so they can encourage their drivers to stick around for the long haul.”