At the weekly senior staff meeting, we received some interesting statistics on the conference and expo so far. We crossed the 600 registered attendee threshold, which was our goal. Attendees, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and staff have sent over 300 messages through Whova. We’ve had an average of over 50 attendees in educational sessions over the first nine days, including expo sessions. We’ve heard some great anecdotes from sponsors on success in connecting with potential customers. The greatest factor for success has been a real focus on leveraging the power of Whova to initiate dialogue.
We began again with an industry expo at 9:30 am. W.W. Williams shared information on what they offer to the fleet market. Williams’ capabilities extend throughout the entire range of advanced vehicles technologies and they have new capabilities around EV charging station maintenance. One point of emphasis was the value of data-driven systems to notify fleet operators when maintenance is needed to avoid under or over-spending on maintenance.
Future of Freight Movement & Work Vehicles convened at 10:30 am and featured Steve DeNunzio from Ohio State University Fisher College as moderator with contributions from Dave Schaller at North American Council for Freight Efficiency, Doyle Sumrall from National Truck Equipment Association, Taki Darakos from Pitt Ohio, and Debbie Ryan with Abbott Labs. Dave emphasized the “waves of change” we are experiencing today as fleet leaders work to make sense out of an unparalleled diversity of choices. We will see more during the “messy middle” over the coming decade. Doyle presented a substantial variety of data documenting the impacts of COVID on the truck equipment sector. One of the issues has been constrained inventories due to disruptions in manufacturing, but Doyle anticipates the sector will bounce back starting sometime in 2021. Taki stressed the importance of carriers defining and staying focused on goals. He shared information about substantial innovations in renewable energy at several terminals, most recently in Cleveland. Debbie discussed Abbott’s strong commitment to sustainability in working with carriers that handle shipments for their nutrition division.
Biodiesel: Standards and OEM Perspectives outlined the strong 20-year history of biodiesel as a reliable, renewable drop in fuel for any diesel fleets – and onset of renewable diesel. Tami Alexander, Central Kansas Clean Cities served as moderator. Panelists included Scott Fenwick, National Biodiesel Board (NBB), Holly Koziorowski from Hero BX, Wade Thorson from Benchmark Biodiesel, and Chung-Hsuan Huang from Cummins. Scott discussed the history of biodiesel standards and contribution of the NBB’s BQ-9000 program in ensuring quality on-spec product – from producers, blenders and distributors. Then Holly discussed Hero’s strong approach to quality and exceeding the BQ-9000 expectations. Wade gave a real-world perspective on Benchmark’s approach to quality that’s led to 12 years with not a single incident of gelling for any customers. Finally, Huang focused on Cummin’s historic support of B20 biodiesel dating back to 2009.
Finally, NGV Maintenance Experiences and Best Practices focused on guidance for fleets to effectively maintain their NGVs to ensure maximum uptime and strong performance. John Gonzales from NREL moderated the session. Panelists included Hugh Donnell from Cummins, Jim Rike with AFV International, and Marc Knight from Asset Works. This was truly a panel of industry heavy hitters with tremendous insights and experiences shared during the session. Hugh emphasized the strong development of natural gas engines over the past ten years. Of course, much of the credit for that goes to Cummins and their technology partner, Westport Innovations. Jim discussed the importance of regular cylinder inspection. His main overall point was the extreme importance of training and building to a properly spec-ed vehicle. Jim added that basic driver training raised fleet uptime from under 40% to over 80%. Of course, technician training is also vital. Marc emphasized the importance of properly accessing and using available maintenance data. He said technicians and other data generators need training on how to pull out and properly record maintenance data, then fleet leaders need to use those data for analyses. This approach can save time, money and increase uptime dramatically.
For those who might have missed sessions, recordings will be available through links on the Whova app within the coming 24-48 hours. Please continue to take advantage of opportunities to engage with fellow attendees, industry resources, speakers and others. Message our staff if you have any needs or concerns. You may also follow us on #MWGT2020.