It's a Team's Life
They said What?
Those thoughts led me to thinking about other celebrities we listen to on the radio and those that give well-meaning advice while sitting in a radio studio. First thing to ask yourself "When was the last time they drove a truck for a living?" next question "How many people call a radio show to talk about how great their truck is running?" then "How does the radio show stay on the air, what kind of help or advice do they offer?" If all of us called in to the various radio shows to talk about how well our new trucks runs, our great fuel mileage, and real cost of ownership the radio shows would become very boring to listen to. Our truck is aerodynamic, gets good fuel mileage, rides well, and is quiet coming from the factory so no changes needed and as such we do not need a radio show host improving our truck. Bob was a diesel mechanic for most of our married years till we got into the truck. One of the reasons he was ready to get out from under a truck and get in the driver's seat was due to the changes of him diagnosing a truck while listening to it and having to depend on a computer for a diagnosis. He did not want to learn the new technology.
The new trucks are sophisticated and the problems we have now are very different then the problems Bob worked with in the seventies, eighties, and nineties. Does that make the new trucks bad? No, it makes them magical. Our current 2015 Cascadia is now not considered new but it still amazes me at what all it can do and the performance we expect and receive. We have phenomenal fuel mileage, comfort, and the truck is quiet and sometimes so quiet it scares you. The longer we drive the truck and work as partners the better the experience. This experience does not come overnight it takes time to learn everything this truck is capable of, what the computers see, and how it is going to react in certain situations. When talking to drivers of different brands of new trucks they are saying the same thing the news trucks make them more money, give them peace of mind, and they are awesome to drive.
The automotive industry has been through similar changes and look at how dependable our cars are, no different than trucks today. Anything that is mechanical will break down sooner or later and we all hope for later. The older trucks could often be fixed with a piece of baling wire and gray tape sitting beside the road or the problem was tricky and hours were spent trying to figure out the problem. Guess what we can still do that on these trucks and if it is a bigger problem hours can be spent figuring it out the problem and often the new truck will tell you what is wrong with it. Modern trucks have the ability to protect themselves from us damaging them in most instances and will shut down before we can destroy them.
One of the best features of the new trucks is the eye in the sky or remote diagnosis. Using the remote diagnosis when an event happens an email is immediately sent saying what the code means and the severity of the code. Sometimes it is a null code and will go away after shutting the truck off and restarting to the worst-case scenario immediately shut the truck down and here are three phone numbers to the shops closest to you. Everyone's heart stops for a second when a check engine light comes on, but having a remote team working in the background and getting the email we know immediately what has happened and we can talk to shops on our route to see when they can see us and if they have the part.
I learned to drive in the old trucks and now as a team driver no way would I want to put on the miles we put on in one of those rough riding, fuel guzzling, noisy machines. When I hear this advice recommended that we get an inexpensive truck and then have money set aside to take care of the issues I cringe. Then once again I think of the advice and who is giving it. When sitting in a nice studio or home that is well lit, well heated or cooled, has running water, and lots of food in the fridge it is easy to imagine them giving out this info, they don't have to live in the truck they recommend. Get the older truck, have money for repairs, and then when sitting beside the road and cold think about where you got that advice? Are they sitting in the cold, no running water, and wondering when their truck is going to get fixed? I doubt it they are snug as a bug in a rug in bed dreaming of ways to make more money.
Personally, I like older vehicles and we have an older Corvette and one of the joys of driving it is listening to the 4-barrel carburetor open up... What a thrill to drive back and forth to town and to get groceries. This car gets HORRIBLE fuel mileage, it is easy for Bob to work on, and it rides like a tank, I really enjoy driving this car, but would I want to drive this awesome car cross country or for a living? NO The Corvette has its place and I will have this car probably till I die or cannot get out of it anymore and I will enjoy it for joy rides with the top down. When we need to take a long trip, I will be looking for a much newer car with a better ride, better fuel mileage, and if it breaks down Bob will probably not be able to fix it.
The new technology is something that should be embraced and used to benefit our lives. As expediters and how our operation works our truck is our home away from home and I personally do not want to live in something comparable to a tent in the woods. For quality of life I want to be able to be comfortable in our truck, I want to feel safe in our truck, and I want the confidence that our truck will deliver us safe and sound to our destination. As a team, we have to find the tipping point between comfort, freight handling ability, income vs expenses, and stress to get the job done. When listening to someone give advice think of where they are coming from and then pick the advice that pertains to your operation. Are they sitting in a comfortable studio or are they out here for months at a time?
Bob & Linda Caffee
Saint Louis MO
Expediters since January 2005
Expediting isn't just trucking, it's a lifestyle;
Expediting isn't just a lifestyle, it's an adventure;
Expediting isn't just an adventure, it's a job;
Expediting isn't just a job, it's a business.