Mar 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By David A Kolman
“We had our used trucks serviced by them, and John was an expert at troubleshooting problems,” says Hudson. “I'd call him on the phone and say: ‘I've got this truck down on the road and this is the situation,’ and he'd tell me what the problem was. So I knew the dealership had a great service department and would be able to support its trucks.”
All of Englander Transport's 50 trailers are 53-ft 3000R air-ride models purchased from Utility Trailer Sales of Virginia in nearby Cloverdale, Virginia. “We selected Utility because we've had good luck with them,” says Hudson.
The trailers are equipped with Thermo King refrigeration units from Thermo King of Roanoke, Virginia. The most recent purchases are the SB-310 model, chosen, he says, because “it has greater capacity for better air circulation, allows a broader temperature range for hauling a wider variety of products, and is easy to use.”
Englander Transport's trailers are traded or sold on a five-to-seven year cycle.
“We've chosen to standardize our fleet rather than run many different brands of equipment,” says company vice president Carl Parra. “This makes service and repair easier and requires a smaller parts inventory.”
Englander Transport has a two-bay shop where all maintenance and minor repairs are performed by two fulltime service technicians. They are supported by several part-time mechanics. Other service work is covered by warranty and done at a dealership.
“Every time our trucks return from a trip, they go through the shop for a once-over from front to rear,” Parra says. “We don't want our trucks breaking down because we mostly have set delivery and pick-up appointments. We would much rather catch any problems and have them resolved in our shop.”
For the most part, Englander Transport does not have a driver turnover problem, says Parra, “because our drivers are very satisfied with us. About 80 percent of our drivers have been with us for a long time. A handful have been with us for 20 years.”
One of the keys to this accomplishment is that Englander Transport gears its operation to drivers. “We want them to be successful, so we help them, and take care of them,” he explains. “We do things to make the company attractive to drivers. We put them in nice equipment, compensate them well, provide good benefits, including a retirement plan, and offer good health insurance.
“If you want a good company, you have to pay the drivers well, and when you do that, you can demand certain things, such as calling in on time, taking care of the truck, and treating our customers right. Drivers who want to keep their jobs care about doing a good job.”
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