Your business is changing, so we're changing, too, to help you stay on top of trucking's new challenges

Your next issue of FLEET OWNER is going to look quite different. In my last column, I wrote about our recent readership research projects. You gave us high marks for covering the topics that were of most importance to you. Our peers in publishing have also told us that we're doing a good job. For example, over the last three years the industry's major business magazine, Folio, has twice named FLEET OWNER the best overall magazine in transportation. So why change a winning formula?

If you're a successful fleet manager, you already know the answer. In today's business environment, your customers are constantly re-evaluating their needs and your ability to serve those needs. Anyone who makes the mistake of assuming that current success means continued success is in for an unpleasant surprise.

So next month when you get your copy of FLEET OWNER, you won't see change for the sake of change, or a simple facelift to freshen up our appearance. We've redesigned and reorganized the magazine to reflect the changes that are taking place in the business of trucking, to recognize your changing responsibilities as a fleet manager, and to better meet your requirements for timely, easily accessible information that will help you keep up with those changes.

As diverse as the trucking industry may be, our research and our experience have shown us that today's fleet executives have some important traits in common. Maximizing the productivity and efficiency of commercial vehicles continues to be a primary concern. The development of sound businesses and the effective management of people occupy much of your time. Information technology is transforming the way you operate and interact with customers. And you have less time to do far more.

The common requirement in addressing those issues is information - solid, relevant information that can be quickly identified and absorbed. And that's the goal of our redesign. Starting with the May issue, FLEET OWNER will be divided into three sections - management, equipment, and information technology.

The management section will cover the business of running a truck fleet. You'll find information about hiring, training, and retaining quality employees, and about government regulations affecting truck-fleet operations. In this section of the magazine we'll report on business strategies that have worked for other fleets, as well as provide tools to help you forecast your near - and long-term business needs.

Everything relating to commercial vehicles and the businesses that supply and support those vehicles will be gathered together in the equipment section. New product coverage for trucks, tractors, trailers, and all the components that go into those vehicles will be found here. It will also provide a management view on maintenance issues, as well as news about the industry's equipment builders and suppliers.

More than six years ago, FLEET OWNER pioneered coverage of the industry's growing reliance on information technology with the introduction of our truck.com supplement. The redesign gives us the opportunity to expand truck.com with a monthly section entirely devoted to the use of information technology in today's fleet operation. Simply put, information technology is an integral and essential part of managing a fleet, and this section will give you a concise but thorough source to help anticipate and exploit advances in this fast changing area.

As the final element in our efforts to make FLEET OWNER more valuable to you, we wrapped up this major reorganization in an entirely new look, one that's intended to make the magazine easier to navigate and easier to read. For example, each of the three sections will be color-coded so you can quickly find the areas of most interest to you. Every graphic element from logo to type to empty space has been carefully examined and massaged to present you with an attractive, modern package that reflects the seriousness of your businesses without being stuffy or overly formal.

It should be clear at this point that the entire staff of FLEET OWNER is proud of our new look and feel. You told us what was important to you, and we've worked hard to respond with a product that we hope will continue to deserve its reputation as the information source for trucking.