I had an unusual conversation at the Mid-America Truck Show a few weeks back that keeps rattling around in my brain for some reason (a lot of things rattle around in my brain, but that's another story). At MATS, I was talking to specific component suppliers about a specific Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Recommended Practice (RP). Not only did I assume that all of the component suppliers would be familar with the RP (they were), I also assumed that many of them would have taken part in developing the RP (they weren't.) And therein lies a problem. For those of you who don't follow TMC activities, an RP is a maintenance standard developed by a Task Force that ideally consists of both fleet maintenance professionals and technical experts from OEMs and component suppliers. I said ideally, because it doesn't always work out that way. I found that out the hard way when I asked representatives of one of these component suppliers about this particular RP, and I was told that they had wanted to participate but had backed out of the Task Force in question... I asked why, and they said that the Task Force had been more or less "taken over" by a competing component supplier, and that the RP was essentially a reflection of that one company's needs and concerns. Because of this, the folks I was talking to had pulled their company out of the TMC and never looked back. Now, obviously, something about the way the TMC goes about its work has failed in this instance, although it's hard to say just what. TMC Task Forces are volunteer-driven, and the spoils often go to to those who are willing to volunteer. Still, I imagine the type of falling out and disillusionment that was described to me is quite common, and it seems to me that the TMC should be taking a close look at these issues. Losing membership over turf wars is not an acceptable option.