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Building on Service and Sales

Medium-duty truck business is becoming the foundation for the expanding network of dealerships and service centers in Southern-based Rush Enterprises, the largest Peterbilt dealer in North America.

The heartbeat of the 120,000-square-foot building, which previously housed merchants' stalls in semblance of a grand flea market, is the wireless shop.

The night before the center's Oct. 7 grand opening, technicians eagerly demonstrated visual-display headbands they would wear while working on a truck.

Essentially a wearable computer with a wrist keypad, the Microvision Nomad projects see-through images of computer readouts and diagnostics diagrams before the technician's eyes as he or she works. The system was derived from the personal electronic display systems developed for the military.

"We're not into high-tech for the 'Wow!' factor. It's got to have a return; that's what it's all about," Rusty Rush said. If the Nomad setup, being tested at four centers - or any the other high-tech accoutrements populating the Smyrna facility - do not prove effective, they will not become fixtures anywhere in the Rush system.

"The back end [parts, shop, services] is what really supports you in the car or truck business," he said. "You can cover your fixed costs even if you don't sell a vehicle."
Thanks to view from afar.


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