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Daimler Trucks North America

Small Changes have a Big Impact

by Lori Heino-Royer, Director, Business Innovation5/10/2017
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Paradigm change has driven innovation. In our industry, Gottlieb Daimler invented the automobile and the truck over 100 years ago by thinking differently, as did Henry Ford when he made a small change that had a big impact on making the price of a vehicle affordable to the average American household.

With technological innovations happening so rapidly, paradigms are not just changing in individual minds, but also on a much broader spectrum of society as a whole. For example, what has become known as the Sharing Economy is a reflection of a societal trend toward minimalism as much as it is about the technologies behind businesses like Airbnb and Daimler’s car2go.

As the director of business innovation at Daimler Trucks North America, I’m often asked about how the commercial vehicle industry will be impacted by the sharing economy. We have been researching this topic of years, there are opportunities beyond providing new services within our industry, but also in a means for collecting data that will help us serve our customers better. Small changes, like creating transparency through data, are shifting the industry by providing better options to accommodate differing needs and preferences.

In today’s world, a commercial truck is more than a vehicle to get cargo from point A to point B – it is the means for society to keep running smoothly. Every tangible object that we use in our personal and professional lives has been in a truck before it reached us. From the pen we write with to the clothes we wear, everything has come to us by way of a truck. Our job is to help our customers – the business fleet owners – deliver those goods more efficiently.

We are studying how we can reduce the number of empty backhauls. What is the potential to reduce traffic jams or save fuel through a commercial vehicle sharing program? These solutions will lead to enhance our total cost of ownership for Freightliner and Western Star owners.

At Daimler Trucks North America, despite being a large company, we carry on Gottlieb Daimler’s entrepreneurial spirit by valuing creative thinking and paradigm busting. Each small change we make has the potential to result in a big impact on improving our communities. Commercial vehicle ownership will still exist, of course, but the industry is shifting and placing new values on utility as more options become available.

Lori Heino-Royer Director, Business Innovation

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