How do I submit an idea to a truck company?
My husband starting working OTR in December or 2011. I have realized the money that goes in to being a truck driver, for instance, buying food. He spent 15.00 on a subway sandwich is first week of work. Ridiculous. So I have an idea I would like to submit to a truck company/ manufacturer. Any help will do.
Thanks in advance.
Response from Vicki:
Thanks for contacting us about submitting an idea to a trucking company.
Wow! Fifteen dollars for a Subway sandwich? I wonder what kind of sandwich he got and where he bought it. Some but not all of the Subways sell $5 footlong sandwiches, but they are probably not available at all locations.
There are some things that your question does not address:
1. Is your husband a company driver? (Probably yes.)
2. Does your husband's trucking company allow him to have an inverter of any kind in his truck? (If so, this opens up a world of food and recipes meal preparation opportunities for him, even if he can use just a plug-in inverter.)
3. Does your husband carry any food with him in his truck? (If not, perhaps he can start to carry some simple items to eat to lower his food expenses on the road.)
4. Does your husband's truck have an APU (auxiliary power unit)? (If so, he may not need an inverter to power cooking appliances.)
Granted, these questions are outside the realm of what you asked, but answering them will help you see that there are options when it comes to eating on the road.
Now, about your question, first allow me to commend you as your husband's home support team for wanting to improve his situation on the road. Oftentimes, truckers' wives don't know what their trucker husbands go through on the road unless they experience it first hand. So, on behalf of wives who don't speak up, thanks.
The first place I would start if I was going to submit an idea to a trucking company is right where your husband is, with your husband's company. Put your idea in writing and submit it to the person or department most likely to take care of that issue.
Giving it to a fleet manager or driver manager probably won't cut it. Ask that person who within the company handles those sorts of things and address the idea to him/her.
This isn't meant to discourage you, but is meant as a kindly way to let you know what you may face. Please don't be surprised if your idea doesn't go anywhere (that is, if the trucking company does nothing with your idea).
When Mike drove for a certain former regional trucking company, the drivers begged for years to have APUs installed in their trucks and the company refused over and over. The "old timers" didn't have APUs in their trucks and didn't think them necessary for saving fuel. Their idea of saving fuel was "not idling" even though drivers can roast in a hot truck in the summer or freeze in the winter.
The same thing happened when the drivers requested that the trucks be allowed to go faster (as they once did). There was some kind of "reason" given about insurance prohibiting them from doing this, but any thinking person realizes that other trucks with other trucking companies zoomed past theirs. So somebody's trucking insurance had to allow it. Why not investigate rates with that company?
The wheels of commerce sometimes move very slowly within the bureaucracy of a trucking company. We think that the leaders inside trucking companies need to go out on the road once in a while to understand what their drivers go through!
As an alternative, you are also free to contact the manufacturers of large trucks with your idea. If there are enough requests for the idea you have, they will probably listen and make the improvement. To get you started, here is a list of some large truck manufacturers, the contact info of which you can look up on the Internet:
* Volvo; and
* Western Star.
The problem with submitting your idea to a truck manufacturer is that your husband's company may not buy the kind of truck that has the incorporated improvement you suggested in it.
Another option is to ask around on trucking forums online. You may or may not get any traction, but you will probably get a response of some kind from other drivers if you ask.
If you would be so kind, please let us know how this goes for you. We wish you success in your endeavors.
We also wish your husband safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.