A recommendation for your practice

Updated Nov 16, 2017

Every spring and fall I take a brief detour from the independent aftermarket to attend the semiannual meetings of the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC).

Now in its 60th year, TMC is an American Trucking Associations’ organization that brings OEMs, suppliers, fleets and service providers together to discuss and address current and future technological and maintenance challenges facing the commercial trucking market.

TMC does a billion things for this industry, but more than anything else it is known for its incredibly diverse and valuable recommended practices (RP).

These documents provide detailed, intricate guidelines for nearly every tech or maintenance issue found in this industry.

There are RPs for wheel end bearing adjustments; for measuring voltage drop in trailers. There are RPs for establishing alternator efficiencies: for coolant identification. Additionally, there are process RPs; step-by-step guidelines that offer service providers and fleet maintenance facilities detailed instructions for managing common operational procedures, such as parts acquisition, technician training and much more.

The first full day at TMC is dedicated to these RPs. The Council breaks into more than a dozen study groups to discuss current challenges facing the industry. Each study group has a specific focus — engines, chassis and brakes, tires and wheels, on-board electronics, etc. — and within each study group conversations get even more granular with individual task forces. It’s within these task forces that RPs are proposed, built, modified and finalized.

It makes for a busy day, but holy cow is it informative. And this year, finally, a meeting was held to address how to handle it all.

TMC’s Service Provider study group introduced a task force at its fall meeting last month specifically to build a recommended practice fleet, dealer and independent service providers can use to efficiently implement other RPs within their businesses.

Yes, I know how circular that sentence sounded.

But it’s really a great idea, and I believe it could be hugely beneficial to the aftermarket.

TMC’s RP manual is immense. I’ve heard close to 2,000 pages. It’s not a quick read. But if you know what you’re looking for TMC’s RP manual has cheat sheets for hundreds of things you and your technicians address each day.

Want to be quicker at diagnostics? There’s an RP for that. What about a best practice for core management, or parts acquisition strategy during repairs? Yeah, there are RPs for that, too.

By developing an RP for implementing RPs, TMC hopes to provide anyone in the service industry a guide that can be easily followed to add one of TMC’s resources into your business.

It’s early, but thus far TMC believes the assisting RP will include these steps:

  • Determine your need: Where does your business analysis tell you to focus first, i.e., What RP would be most beneficial to you?
  • Determine your team: Which departments/employees will be impacted by implementing an RP?
  • Integration: How will adding an RP to your business impact your current operation? What now needs to be altered or changed?
  • Train your team: Educate previously identified employees on the RP and how it will be implemented in your business.
  • Accessibility: How will your employees access your training materials, and the RP document?

I guarantee that list will grow, and I’d guess within two years TMC has a comprehensive document any service shop can use to slip RPs into their operations.

In the meantime, if you don’t want to wait you don’t have to. TMC offers memberships specifically for service providers, and I can tell you from experience, if you need help in your service shop go to TMC. Everything TMC does is designed to help you.

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