Hello readers, I recently purchased a large computer monitor for our home office. Most of the time, I do a lot of work off of my smartphone. The pictures you come across on your cell phone are small and you can enlarge them, but you have to move the picture around with your finger to see a more detailed view. For quite some time now, I’ve had the desire to purchase a mid-1970’s Corvette. I’ve been looking for the Corvette of my dreams on the internet, via my smartphone. Usually, when I’m surfing the web, it’s to pass time while waiting for my trailer to be loaded, or waiting for paperwork. I finally narrowed the search down for the Corvette of my dreams, and decided that I may have found “the one”. Keep in mind that I have found the “right Corvette” several times and failed to act on it because, well, having a two-seat car as an extra car, does not add up well in the big picture. When I say “the big picture,” I’m referring to how the corvette would fit into the household budget. I have found the right one many times, but I always manage to talk myself out of it, because the purchase of a Corvette always seemed to take a backseat to other priorities.
With all that being said, I thought I had found the Corvette that would fit into my budget, without negatively affecting my financial responsibilities. Now, here’s where the large computer monitor comes into play... I brought up the website on the big monitor to get a better view of the Corvette that caught my eye. And on the larger screen, i.e., the bigger picture, it became apparent that there were more flaws on this car than I care to deal with. This made me think about “the big picture,” in regards to how to run a trucking business. A great example would be a cheap no-name/off-brand tire vs. a premium tier-one tire. The off-brand tire looks good, until you start to look at “the big picture”. I myself have crossed this bridge in the past. The thing was, I had a piece of debris take out two of the tires on the tandem of my truck, many years ago. The nearby dealer talked me into trying these low-cost off-brand tires, and what I found was, they lasted almost exactly half the life of the premium tier-one tires I normally use. With the cheap tires not being half the price of the premium tires, and lasting less than half the life, in “the big picture”, it was not a bargain purchase.
Looking at the “big picture” goes beyond picking the right tire. It doesn’t matter that you choose the right tire, if you don’t run the correct air pressure, properly mount, align and maintain the tire, once it’s on your truck or trailer. Premium tires are expensive, but when properly selected and maintained, they can be less expensive than the bargain-basement-priced tire, per mile traveled. A prime example of how this works out, is how my last Michelin steer axle tires lasted an amazing 282,000 miles before they needed replacing.
The best way to look at the “big picture” is to do your research on the features of any given product, which is vital to the operation of your business. Here is a great read on tires as an example... The Michelin Truck Tire Service Manual.
The next link has to do with protecting your engine while lowering your servicing costs and increasing your fuel mileage, all at the same time, with this nugget of information that was released back in 2017. These two pieces of information are for your reading pleasure, in regards to the lubricant needs of a Detroit engine.
The point of this whole blog entry, is to emphasize the importance of looking at the “Big Picture” when making decisions regarding the operation of your business. I will close by sharing a little bit of advice when it comes to making business choices … make sure to listen to the business side of your brain, and leave the driver side of your brain at home, when it comes to making choices that will affect the future success of your operation.
P.S. It's OK to get a few of the luxury options to keep up the morale of the driver side of your brain, as we all know there is a lot of competition for good drivers, and you wouldn’t want to lose a good driver to a competitor. Remember, as an independent owner-operator you are the president, maintenance director, accountant, sales director, and many other titles, as well as being the driver.