Paul Menig

Tech-I-M LLC
22 98 8

Paul Menig is the leader of Tech-I-M LLC, a consulting company focused on helping companies succeed by leveraging technology in their products and processes. After successfully introducing many high tech products in the corporate worlds of General Electric, Eaton and Daimler, he is now focused on savvy technology creating powerful results in companies of all sizes.

Paul also provides free counseling to a wide range of businesses as part of the non-profit organization SCORE that is associated with the Small Business Administration (SBA). Paul is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in electrical engineering and has participated in many training programs in quality, strategic planning, finance and technical areas.

Get smart

I’m sure a few of you remember the original TV series from the 60s with Don Adams and Barbara Feldon. In 2008 there was a remake movie that did okay at the box office. But, that’s not what I am talking about in transportation and trucking. In the late 90s, when Freightliner introduced the SmartShift, I can recall the process of finding a name for the steering column mechanism for shifting an automated mechanical transmission. I was not keen on the often used “smart” being added to anything and everything at the time.

We need more P's

I have a fondness for the letters ‘P' and ‘Q,' having used them in writing since the 80s. For trucking, the most important ‘P' is Profit, of course. While the economy has grown slowly, it has allowed transportation companies to remain profitable and for the value of stock to increase.

Technology Takes-out TruckLoad

I hope that title caught your attention. For over ten years now, people have scoffed at the idea of eCommerce changing the way things are done. Not too long ago, at one of our trade shows, a speaker joked about some people thinking they don't need trucks at all, because all they have to do is order on-line and it appears at the door. Of course it needed a truck, but what kind?

DisC—Disconnected Cycles

Over my 3-4 decades of working in transportation and industrial applications, there was always a lament over how fast new things get done in the consumer electronics world. In 3 weeks, CES will be going on in Las Vegas with everyone demonstrating new ideas and products, many of which will not have existed at this time last year. Each year, car companies have increased their participation.


The vehicle OEMs have been working hard to make the tractor-trailer rigs as aerodynamic as possible. But, the drivers, especially owner-operators, continue to want a couple of other things in their rigs.

Otto we be autonomous?

Well, I should have known it. When I was in college in Cambridge, MA, at MIT in the 70s, it was a big thing for some of the fraternity brothers to bring back Coors beer on a plane or run in a car across state lines. I spent a good deal of my early career in Milwaukee, WI. Part of the time was spent on the manufacturing floor of Miller Brewing using vision systems to make sure the labels on the beer bottles were properly applied.

Dead cats bouncing—statistically speaking

I know that I learned in college that even if you've just flipped a coin 10 times and it came out heads each time, the next time you flip, it still has a 50-50 or 50% chance of being heads again. My gut refuses that logic and wants to believe it's something like a 90% chance it will be tails. It's as if I started out saying, what are the chances of getting heads 11 times in a row. That likelihood is only 0.05%. So my gut wants to believe it's even 99.5% chance it will be tails next.

Don’t raise the bar — reduce the variation

The chart below was just released by ATRI, the American Transportation Research Institute, in A Survey of Fuel Economy and Fuel Usage by Heavy-Duty Truck Fleets.

Move It, Buddy!

The American Trucking Associations has taglines such as “Trucking Moves America Forward” and “If You Bought It, a Trucker Brought It.” For over 125 years now, the trucking industry has been moving freight including the necessities of life and the luxury items of our desire.

One Stop Shop Super Suppliers

Not only do we have consolidation in the commercial vehicle market globally, and the continued push for proprietary components that are vertically integrated, we now have suppliers pushing into the realm more than I anticipated. Back in the 90’s, the vehicle OEMs were little more than assemblers of the parts provided by all the different tier 1 suppliers. When electronic engines started, the engine control became a vehicle control. This worked will for a number of years. Mack was one of the few vehicle OEMs that had its own engine, as did Navistar for some vehicles.

Potholes and cracks on the way to autonomy
The rush to get autonomous vehicles on the road is amazing. How can this be, when everyone agrees that our transportation infrastructure is crumbling? How will autonomous vehicles perform on roads full of potholes and bridges that have cracks?
APV Autonomous Portage Vehicle

Normally AP goes with News as in the Associated Press News. But, this is news for trucking, so it belongs to Fleet Owner and its IdeaXchange. I was reading this week’s edition of ATA's Transport Topics and my continuing theme of putting autonomous vehicles to work in somewhat safe places came to the fore front again. I saw the articles on inland ports and the concept overhead roadway by Texas A&M University. The two together reminded me of some fishing trips with my dad and his best friend when I was in middle school.

And then there were four 5

Now, it’s the big 4 with three of the four based in Europe. It’s Daimler, Volvo, VW, and PACCAR. By the time the USA reaches 2027 and the GreenHouse Gas Phase II regulations are fully in force, we will have a global, vertically-integrated truck.

PACCAR needs to find a transmission and axles yet to be able to compete, long-term with the others. Cummins and Eaton are left with challenging prospects for their operations. Both of their shares of the market have declined as the vehicle OEM’s have vertically integrated and introduced their own, proprietary parts.

GO More—STOP Less

In my last post, I mentioned the fuel savings that could be realized by driver assistance features, such as cruise control with braking and stop/start capability. This is where a vehicle uses its radar system, brakes, and driver assistance cruise controls to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, even when the vehicle slows down to a crawl. Only if it stops (in my 2010 Mercedes vehicle) do I have to touch the accelerator pedal to restart the vehicle. I’d like to take this thought a couple of steps further.

Let’s Play Poker

Are all of you betting people? Will next year be better or worse for the North American trucking industry? People have started asking me as if I really have that crystal ball I used for my future truck presentation at ATA MC&E last year. My personal guess—a little worse than this year. Okay, now that that is over, let’s get on to the meat of this post.

Instead of betting on the market, I want to talk about betting on the future of technology. And, I’ll warn you, I have an ACE up my sleeve. That ACE stands for Autonomous—Connected—Electric.

The impending telematics takedown
June 30, 2017

Thanks for the note about Omnitracs. I was not aware that they had publicly indicated a sale was possible, but found it in the business journal for Dallas. It is a good time...

And then there were four
September 7, 2016

I come from Detroit, where reference to the Big 3 was always to the 3 largest US manufacturers. Saying Big 4 harkens back to this. I am forecasting that Carl Icahn and his...

Waste Heat Management
February 1, 2016

Eliminating the excise tax to encourage new technology on trucks has been around for some time. Usually, it has been proposed for safety technology. Encouraging for safety of...

Drivers at Fault Could Foster Autonomous Vehicles
October 30, 2015

I've seen that percentage often quoted by people. I can believe it from some data I've seen from fleets that show the variation of fuel economy for a large number of drivers...

TAST - Technology Assisting Service Technicians
September 2, 2015

Great to hear. I'm not a Snapchat user, but I can definitely see where that would be a great way to instantly send photos. I hope you are capturing those for a future website...

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