Price of failure "Only the most competitive products from the most competitive companies will succeed in the future. Businesses that rely on pricing to cover cost increases are destined to failure." - Roy S. Roberts, General Motors vp and group executive in charge of General Motors North America vehicle sales, service and marketing, in his remarks at the opening general session of the American Truck Dealers annual convention

"Transportation service providers will be required to provide more services, more information and more integration with their shippers." - Gary Cross, vp-travel and transportation for IBM Consulting Group, in a white paper with Anthony J. Palella and Kevin Stang

What do you do? Yvette Goedhart of The Netherlands recently e-mailed Fleet Owner in an attempt to find a clear definition of "fleet management" for a dissertation. It is a fairly broad term, covering a multitude of titles and responsibilities at both private and for-hire operations, and we weren't able to give her a hard and fast definition. But maybe you can help her understand just what it is a fleet manager does here in North America. Send her your thoughts on the responsibilities of a fleet manager at ygoedhart@tln.nl. And while you're at the keyboard, copy us (jmele@intertec.com) as well. Like Goedhart, we'd like to hear what you have to say.

Third party in high gear "U.S.-based 3PLs (third-party logistics) should expect overall growth in the 15-20% range for the next three to five years. Our analysis of customers indicates that major opportunities are available in companies of all sizes. Only about one-half of the Fortune 500 firms are using 3PLs. The potential market in midsized and smaller companies is even greater." - Dick Armstrong, Armstrong & Associates

Key driver "We need to focus on all aspects of the (truck) driver, including training, enhanced licensing, and fatigue management. The driver remains the key to safe operations." - Jim Hebe, Freightliner president & CEO, testifying before the National Transportation Safety Board

No surprises "... The ultimate test of an information system is that there are no surprises. Before events become significant, executives have already adjusted to them, analyzed them, understood them, and taken appropriate action." - From the pen of management guru Peter F. Drucker, 1999

How about an SUV tax? "It makes no sense to have a tax code that penalizes delivery trucks, for example, but provides a built-in tax incentive for large trucks to get larger and heavier without regard to their impact on the highways." - James L. Kolstad, AAA vp-public and government relations, voicing support for Senate bill S.1056, which would replace truck excise taxes with an axle-weight-distance tax

As long as we can tax it "This country's continued prosperity demands new technologies to take advantage of our vast transportation infrastructure." - Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) speaking to the Intelligent Transportation Society of America

Get the last word in by sending us your comments, observations, and opinions. Mail: P.O. Box 4211, Stamford, Conn. 06907-0211; E-mail: jim_mele@intertec.com; Fax: 203-358-5819; Telephone: 800-776-1246, ext. 107