My last trip to Atlanta was for the TMC show that took place at the Georgia Convention Center. The show was fantastic! The overall theme of the time was saving money on gas, mileage and truck maintenance. People present included fleet managers and owners of dealerships. It was very nice to interact with long-time customers as well as being introduced to new customers like Prime Logistics.
During some of our conversations with fleets, we noticed a common issue, the drivers shortage. For drivers, this brings some exciting changes to the trucking industry. Fleet managers are offering big sign-on bonuses as an incentive to hire new drivers, overall they are pushing really hard to work with whoever they can that are qualified. In order to get qualified drivers, fleet managers are starting to offer generous start-up bonuses as an incentive. These bonuses range anywhere between $2,000 – $10,000. This startup bonus is especially appealing to couples who partner on up in trucking, doubling the bonus to $4,000-$20,000 for a household. This runs counter to some of the public fears circulating the trucking industry. Many drivers are fearful of job stability with the tech shift to the self-automated vehicles emerging in the market. While companies like Tesla and Amazon are investing heavily in developing this technology, there is still a driver deficit dominant in the United States. Fleets are struggling to find and keep qualified drivers. Less qualified drivers are coming into the trucking industry and with the introduction of mandatory ELD logging systems, several seasoned drivers are starting to leave the profession due to this new technology. The ATA TMC Show was great to get to hear from the Fleets Ex-Guard serves, and to listen to some of these growing pains from an inside perspective.
As the number of people interested in Ex-Guard grows, we are seeing an increase in Fleet Managers with experience in our product or curiosity approaching our booth. Some delighting us with stories on how their Ex-Guard has made a huge positive impact on their life. SNL Distributors came and told us about how he hit a pothole that was about 3-4 feet deep. When he pulled out of it, nothing was damaged on the truck, just the LT-325 grille guard. No fenders, lights, nothing. He drove that baby back in the yard unscathed. The LT-325 has the 25 level coverage, with a single hand latch, and lighter steel. Seeing that the amount of force this guard was able to endure and the protection it offered the truck, driver, and fleet was extremely satisfying. If this was our 11 gauge steel, I can only imagine what the 8 gauge could’ve withstood in this situation. This is exactly the stories that motivate our team.
Since Ex-Guard was the only grille guard manufacturer in attendance at the 2019 ATA TMC Show, we were able to hold a stronger presence for Grille Guards. It was an exceptional opportunity to introduce some of the latest third-party Fuel Economy testing performed on Ex-Guards. MTS Transport Fuel Economy Experts used real-life testing to yield a zero mpg change for trucks using the 00 and 25 designs and a half-gallon per 1000 miles for 50 & 95 designs. With the growth in product popularity and favorable Fuel Economy results, we were able to spark some engaging conversations that really reached the heart of our Fleet and prospective fleets concerns with introducing Ex-Guard to all trucks.
In reviewing the time that we had, which was brief, I would definitely recommend people to go to the ATA TMC Show. If you have a quality product, the ATA TMC Show is an opportunity to showcase it to people quality fleet some quality dealers. Atlanta is an awesome place, it’s friendly and relatively safe. There’s tons of access to restaurants, hotels, with Airbnb options in really decent neighborhoods. It’s a place I’d gladly visit on vacation and I look forward to going back for future shows.
Southern Sales Consultant