Image
At The Work Truck Show, fleet managers will have opportunities to learn about writing better specifications and to closely examine various vehicles and components.
Image
More than 60 companies plan to launch new work truck chassis, bodies, equipment, and components at this year's Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

Functional and performance specifications are also useful when issuing requests for proposals (RFP) or requests for information (RFI). Truck chassis specifications are typically a special variation of an engineered specification, in which the writer calls out specific components and design requirements based on the engineering work that has already been done by the chassis manufacturer.

There are two common formats for writing specs. In the matrix format, the writer lists a specific item or requirement in one column and provides a brief description in another column. This format works very well for chassis. The other format, the narrative style, is popular for bodies and equipment. In this format, the writer provides longer, more detailed descriptions for each requirement.

Pitfalls

While a properly written specification can save you money and ensure that the finished product meets your requirements, a poorly written specification can cost you money. If a specification is too loose, the vendor's product may not meet your requirements and you could incur additional expense in the form of change orders, reduced productivity, or higher maintenance costs over the life of the unit. On the other hand, a specification that is written too tightly may force suppliers to make changes to their standard products that serve no real purpose.

When writing specifications, it is critical to strike the appropriate balance between defining exactly what you need and allowing vendors to utilize their standard components to the greatest extent possible.

A significant amount of information on truck specifications is available through the NTEA's website. Several educational sessions on work truck specification development are slated for The Work Truck Show 2011 (see side-bar for details). Throughout the year, the NTEA also offers a two-day training seminar on developing and writing work truck specifications.

Robert Johnson is a former fleet manager and currently serves as director of fleet relations for the NTEA. He will lead three technical sessions on work truck specification at The Work Truck Show 2011. Johnson will co-present the expanded Fleet Management Symposium on March 7-8. For more information, visitwww.ntea.comor call 800-441-6832.


NTEA's Work Truck Show 2011

The Work Truck Show 2011 takes place March 7-10, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. The event brings together vocational trucks, equipment, and training with more than 500 exhibitors. Attendees can choose from more than 40 training sessions for tips on improving fleet and shop operations. Many of these educational sessions will focus on developing work truck specifications. Topics will include: designing work truck bodies and equipment, chassis specification development, powertrain analysis, and truck frame basics.

The Green Truck Summit will offer real-world information on deploying and applying green technologies for commercial trucks. The event, co-produced by Calstart, features 26 sessions on alternative fuels, hybrid vehicle technology, real-world fleet experiences, and the latest product and technology developments. It takes place Monday, March 7, 8 a.m.-5:15 p.m. and Tuesday, March 8, 8-11:30 a.m.

David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will give the Green Truck Summit keynote address. Strickland will discuss the importance of alternative fuels and advanced technologies in the work truck industry. With groundbreaking regulations on fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reduction currently under review by NHTSA and the EPA, Strickland will provide critical insights on issues that will have a direct impact on companies that manufacture and use work trucks.

Get behind the wheel of work trucks equipped with the latest hybrid technology and alternative fuel applications at the Green Truck Ride-and-Drive event on Tuesday, March 8, and Wednesday, March 9. It will be the largest in the event's history, with 22 hybrid, alternative fuel, and high-efficiency diesel work trucks available.

This year, the popular Fleet Management Symposium has been expanded to two days, Monday, March 7, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Tuesday, March 8, 9 a.m.-noon. The event focuses on best practices and strategies to improve operations, productivity, and financial performance of a fleet or shop.

The Work Truck Show 2011 kicks off with an opening reception at Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers basketball team, on Monday, March 7, 6:30-9 p.m. Comedian John Cleese will deliver the keynote address at the President's Breakfast on Wednesday, March 9.

For information about special sessions, luncheons, exhibits, and registration, visit www.ntea.com.