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Before Purchasing New Technology, Use What You Have

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Technology


Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators

Before Purchasing New Technology, Use What You Have 

Technology is such an important word in our culture today, and we often think more and better technology is the solution to whatever challenge we’re facing. During my visits with truckstop and travel plaza operators, many of them tell me they’re thinking of investing in new technology. I always like to dig a little deeper into why. 

It typically turns out that what the operator is really after is a new or better way to collect more information on customers. As you know I am a huge proponent of information, but I don’t always believe that collecting more information is necessary. 

So many operators already have information in their current systems or have the ability to garner that information and just aren’t using it. Before deciding to invest in new technology, I think operators should figure out how to mine the information they have. 

People often think newer technology will be a magic bullet, but there isn’t a magic bullet. There can be a never-ending desire to get more information and consequently not acting on the information you have. 

I recently wrote about how to calculate the return on investment on new technology, and I think it is important to ask yourself what you want to gain from any major investment. If your top answer is more information, take a step back and look at how you are using the data you already have. If you’re either not using it or not using your current system’s capabilities to collect it, start. You may find that you don’t need to purchase new systems to get the information you’re after. 

/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here.

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.