If you worked at an over the road big truck company, building a better vehicle that sold more units would be the goal.
To get that better truck designed, built you had best be very curious. Asking the truck drivers who live in those 18 wheelers what they like.
What they don’t.
About the rig they drive, that others use. And learn what they have experienced or heard at truck stops about the pros and cons of all flavors. 10-4?
Even if you had engineers from the best college schools in the land back east working for you, have to still tap in to the guy or gal behind the wheel racking up those millons of miles. Those truck drivers with the chain drive wallets are the real research and development crew. They live in that home away from home on wheels for weeks, years at a time.
My dad was a Maine potato farmer for twenty four years. In addition to growing spuds, he was a broker for them.
Buying Maine potato loads to get to the Boston, Hartford, New York produce markets for the most part.
He had ICC comodity rights for hauling back loads of paper products. Usually the back haul was a load of french fry cartons.
My brother Brian, other brothers and myself would take truck trips. We had fun going to the big city, riding shot gun in the cab overs my Dad bought. Helping the truck drivers unload. Having a bag of potatoes left over to trade for fresh off the Florida tree grapefruits or oranges.
The first trailer truck bought after the Maine railroad started loosing loads to over night efficiency was a 1963 White cab over 250 Cummins diesel single screw with a tag axle.
And the first trailer a Fruehauf 1957 box. My parents eventually had eight trucks parked out behind our Maine farm barn that became a truck terminal.
Have two brothers that ended up engineers. But the mechanical one was my Brother Brian. He would designed truck after truck in his bedroom. Dad and Mom had a desk built just for drafting. Brian drews cars too. Very detailed, very well.
He worked his way up through the ranks of Freightliner and married a lady from Portland Oregon. And when he became plant manager, he also had experience with designing a new series.
To get the best Freightliner built, he sent the engineers who thought they could design anything out on the highway with coast to coast truckers.
To take off their white shirt and tie and live like, think like a trucker.
Those engineers designing the new series truck came back with tons of information. Complaints from some drivers of older models that their back and kidneys hurt due to the seat suspension. Others complained how hard it was to change a truck electrical fuse. Or reach way over to change a station on the radio without nearly a jack knife accident happening.
But also a long list of what the drivers liked about their current truck were gleaned, gathered and factored in to the design of the new class eight truck line. The engineering is key. But the guys and gals working on this module, that system have to communicate too. The truck does not just go together the most efficient, ergonomic way without study, timing, discussion.
I’m am glad my parents ran lots of businesses and exposed the four boys to many endeavors.
It was not just a childhood of one type of living or career and we all became more well rounded because of it.
One brother went in to truck design because Dad and Mom had Whites, International Transtar and a Peterbilt.
Another went in to civil engineering because of my parents building a new centralize packing potato shed.
I got exposed to Maine real estate due to my parents working in that and the property appraisal field.
I was lucky to have hard working, creative parents that exposed us to a very education childhood in Maine.