New Year’s (re)solution: What do you need for 2014?

The whole point of a trade publication is to provide valuable, actionable information to readers about their business or industry. That’s the buzzword-y definition, but basically it’s our job here at Hard Working Trucks to pass along news that you, our readers, find useful, interesting or entertaining – ideally, all of the above.

The challenging part is that is that you, collectively, do so many different things with your trucks. I’ve spent several years writing about Class 8 trucks and trucking – and still do, over on the Commercial Carrier Journal side of the building. I’ve come to appreciate how diverse the business is, even though, essentially, most of the fleets I write for and about are in the business of hauling freight: There’s long-haul trucking and LTL, owner-ops and multi-billion dollar, publicly traded corporations; van, flatbed, refrigerated, etc.

But just a glance at the tabs across the top of HWT Web page and it’s clear the medium-duty market covers a lot of ground. That’s great news for a journalist: We get to learn something new with every story we write, and that ongoing education – calling around to pick the brains of leaders in their fields – is why many of us enjoy writing.

Or did you think we were supposed to be the experts?

Yes, some journalists have come from the industries they write about – but they’re the exceptions. And many journalists do become authorities in their fields, with time and diligence. I’m no expert, but I probably know more about the Federal Motor Carrier Administration’s Compliance, Safety Accountability than 99.9 percent of the American public; yet most of that other one-tenth of one percent are my trucking industry readers – so acting like I know it all will get me corrected in a hurry. So I still make the calls and let the real experts do the talking.

In the few months I’ve been contributing to HWT, hoping to add to the great work done by our Jason Cannon, I’ve already learned plenty about landscaping operations, P&D, and refuse hauling, for example.

While the stories often are focused on segment operations, we try to make the information in them as broadly applicable as possible. So, if I might make a suggestion, feel free to take a look at headlines that might not immediately strike you as important for your application or business.

More importantly, I’d like to make request: What do you want to know? Send me a question and I’ll find an answer, at least one, anyway. That’s my 2014 HWT resolution.

Do you want to know more about the hardware? HWT is all about trucks, of course, but there’s a lot to cover: engines, transmissions, tires, work bodies. Are you a gearhead who’d like a serious look under the hood and read a detailed comparison of specs? We love test drives.

Or are you more interested in operational matters, the new high-tech tools of the trade that keep your business competitive and profitable, such as mapping systems or safety equipment?

Are you interested in hearing from others in your field, to find out about a new tip or trick?

Simply, the real downside to not being an expert is not knowing the right questions; I don’t mind starting from scratch in an interview, and most subjects are glad to help me get where I need to go – assuming I know enough to go in the right direction.

So can you help me out? What’s on your mind? What would you like to know to help your business succeed in 2014?

Please drop me a line.

Happy New Year.