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freightliner trucks

KARY SCHAEFER

FREIGHTLINER TRUCKS AND DETROIT ARE MAKING STRIDES IN THE MARKET, AND ITS THEIR INTERACTIONS WITH CUSTOMERS THAT MADE THAT POSSIBLE.

MWS: FREIGHTLINER TRUCKS PLACES A HIGH PRIORITY ON CUSTOMER SATISFACTION, GOING AS FAR AS CREATING A TRUCK BASED ON CUSTOMER FEEDBACK (NEW Cascadia) AND YOUR VISITS TO CUSTOMERS AND DEALERS ON A BI-WEEKLY BASIS. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO FREIGHTLINER TO MEET ITS DEALERS/CUSTOMERS FACE-TO-FACE?

SCHAEFER:

Every customer has unique needs, so the more we work with them to consider what’s best for their specific business or application, the more we can contribute to their long-term success.

The relationship with our customers is also critical at the dealer level. Our dealers want to have deep insights into the customers’ operations, how they use their vehicles, and what features are most important to them. This way, the dealer can suggest the right specs that will be most beneficial to their business.

MWS: WHAT ARE SOME FREIGHTLINER TRUCKS SOLUTIONS TO RECURRING PROBLEMS YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED AS YOU’VE INTERACTED WITH CUSTOMERS, FLEET OWNERS, AND DEALERS?

SCHAEFER:

Freightliner Trucks continues to focus on adapting to the needs of our customers and their businesses.

Through our ongoing dialogue with customers, we know that for the vocational sector, the emphasis is now more about decreasing weight and becoming more efficient and productive. Fleets continually evaluate their duty cycles and optimize their overall fleet utilization. Part of that assessment might result in looking at the number or type of trucks in their fleet and determining what fleet makeup will translate into the most efficient and productive business operation.

Vocational customers also have higher expectations when it comes to servicing their trucks. Downtime needs to be mitigated, and with programs like Express Assessment—which is part of Daimler Trucks North America’s Elite Support dealer certification program—we get trucks back to work faster. We will also continue our focus on supporting our customers’ maintenance and service needs through our extensive dealer network.

MWS: HOW DO FLEET OWNERS BENEFIT FROM FREIGHTLINER PRODUCTS AT THE BOTTOM LINE?

SCHAEFER:

We offer several customization options for the vocational market so customers can spec the right solutions based on their business priorities. Then, we together take a holistic view of their needs and determine the best ways for them to be as efficient and productive as possible.

For example, we review:

  • Body equipment needs
  • Priorities, such as ease of upfit, durability, uptime, and fuel efficiency
  • Driver comfort and safe vehicle operations

We also partner with truck equipment manufacturers (TEMs) to determine which features make it easy for them to add their equipment. TEMs and customers can spec the vehicle with proprietary and non-proprietary components to meet the needs of their specific applications, reducing upfit costs and, ultimately, cutting downtime.

MWS: WHAT’S THE NEXT BIG STEP FOR FREIGHTLINER TRUCKS? ARE THERE ANY NEW PRODUCTS FREIGHTLINER IS LOOKING TO INTRODUCE TO THE MARKET IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

SCHAEFER:

Freightliner Trucks recently introduced the new Freightliner EconicSD™ waste collection truck. The Freightliner EconicSD is a modern, low-entry cab-over-engine (COE) waste collection truck for the North American market that provides superior safety, uptime, and productivity. The Freightliner EconicSD is equipped with the Detroit™ DD8™ mid-range engine, which was unveiled in early 2017.

The DD8 is a 7.7-L in-line, 6-cylinder engine that boosts the horsepower of the M2 106 truck up to 350 hp and torque up to 1050 lb-ft. This engine provides vocational and medium-duty customers with fuel efficiency leadership and best-in-class maintenance intervals. It has both engine and transmission power-takeoff options.

Detroit DD5™ and DD8 engines come standard with Detroit Connect Virtual TechnicianSM. This technology provides deeper insights into vehicle health and performance, which help customers make more informed decisions about maintenance.

MWS: WHAT NEW TECHNOLOGIES WILL SIGNIFICANTLY BENEFIT THE WORK TRUCK INDUSTRY?

SCHAEFER:

Freightliner Trucks is committed to exploring technologies that will help our customers continue to make informed service decisions, avoid untimely trips to the shop, and stay on the job longer. Our dedicated teams are investigating the connectivity roadmap for vocational applications and identifying the services that make the most sense for specific applications and job requirements.

The new Freightliner EconicSD is engineered to enhance the safety of not only the driver and crew, but also pedestrians and other vehicles. The truck has a panoramic windshield and low seating position for outstanding visibility, while the mirror system offers an expanded field of vision for work areas and potential blind spots.

Further contributing to the Freightliner EconicSD’s safety is the Detroit Assurance® suite of safety systems. The Freightliner EconicSD comes standard with active brake assist, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning to mitigate potential collisions. Optional safety features include side guard assist and a built-in camera system with 360-degree views displayed on a flash screen monitor.

MWS: WITH REGARDS TO CLEAN DIESEL, NATURAL GAS, AND ELECTRIFICATION, WHAT DEVELOPMENTS ARE IN THE PIPELINE? HOW WILL THESE IMPACT FLEET OWNERS AND THE WORK TRUCK INDUSTRY?

SCHAEFER:

Besides investments in diesel technology, we also offer alternative-fuel options to our vocational customers. We listen to them and are always evaluating powertrain options that satisfy their business needs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kary Schaefer, general manager of Freightliner Trucks and Detroit product marketing and strategy, has long been in the business. Her engineering career started out strong and has gained great heights since. It’s her proven experience that separates her from others. In her position at Freightliner Trucks and Detroit, she is able to interact with customers and listen to their feedback, which has helped the business and customers alike. This month, Schaefer shared some of her valuable insight with MWS.


MODERN WORKTRUCK SOLUTIONS: MAY 2018 ISSUE

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