State of the (NWHD) Union

September 1, 2012, seems an appropriate time to assess the progress of NW Heavy Duty.  It is after all, the one-year anniversary of the launch of this business.

One year ago there were no business cards. There was no website, business address, bank account, or legal status. There was no office. There was however an idea, a generous amount of business and industry experience, and conviction. A belief that a business could be established where none had previously existed. A belief, ultimately, that the market would reward the creation of a new resource. Ahcapitalism!

I am thrilled to report that the business is doing well. It has attracted several technology companies, all of whom have existing business relationships with PACCAR and DTNA, each of whom has significant growth potential with these OEM’s as well as numerous Tier 1 suppliers. Through these partnerships we are actively evaluating new applications and in specific cases, winning new business. The flywheel is picking up speed, as more time is spent with customers, leading to greater exposure for the business and greater potential for new clients.

As of today, NW HDC is able to promote custom technology for pressure sensing, temperature sensing, operator interface, and electronic system monitoring and control. Applications include engine, transmission, suspension, steering, air management, and HVAC systems. I would be very interested in any needs your organization (vehicle OEM or Tier 1 supplier) might have in these areas.

This is also a great time to take on new clients. The business is operating smoothly and efficiently, making the timing excellent for bringing on new principals. In support of this I will be attending several industry events from late August through early October (GATS, CVOC, TMC, and SAE), and I look forward to some excellent networking with industry colleagues.

I believe the next several years are going to be some of the most exciting in the history of our industry. Our work on emissions over the past two decades, while critically important, burdened OEM’s and fleets with huge capital and operating costs. True, the EPA is still at work creating new hurdles for us (and job security for themselves - fodder for a future blog / rant perhaps?). The difference is that 2014/2017 greenhouse gas (or GHG) regulations also drive fuel economy improvements, so fleets have a much better outlook for recovering some of their up-front investments. And there’s the surge of interest in natural gas as an alternative to diesel, with projections that these systems will be incorporated into 20% of vehicle build by 2020. That’s a great scenario for technology companies.

 At least for now shipping capacity is constrained, freight rates are holding up, and shippers are relatively healthy, another positive indicator not just for truck build rates, but for the investment fleets may be willing to make in new technology. Another positive factor:  the chronic shortage of drivers. Historically, this is a great driver (pun fully intended) to reduce the age of the fleet and upgrade the overall quality of the driver experience. Good news for suppliers of AMT’s, inverters, APU’s, and other technologies that directly impact the quality of life of the prospective driver.

I am by nature a positive person. Yes, I worry about the outcome of the election in November, and how that might affect the freight market, not to mention future opportunities for my children! Overall though, I am pleased about the past year and looking forward, eagerly, to the coming twelve months. Let me know how you’re doing, and what we might be able to accomplish together!!

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