Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By David A Kolman
When it Comes to spec'ing equipment, Maola Milk and Ice Cream Company focuses on making the driver's job easier. “We can't make milk any lighter,” says Dennis Lawrance, fleet manager of the New Bern, North Carolina-based dairy. “A gallon of milk isn't getting any lighter, nor is a case of ice cream. What we try to do is come up with better ways of delivering our products.”
Founded by the Mayo family in 1935, the company produces 48 flavors of ice cream, 33 varieties of milk, and five kinds of ice cream novelties. It also processes and packages various specialty products such as eggnog, as well as juices and water.
Starting with just a few horse-drawn carriages doing home delivery, Maola Milk and Ice Cream has 16 branches throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia to service customers. These include convenience and grocery stores, schools, and institutional customers. It does this using a fleet of 165 straight trucks and six hotshot trucks, supplemented by a dedicated carrier with tractor trailers. The dairy has expanded numerous times to accommodate growth.
The transportation operation is divided into three distinct segments. Straight trucks with cold plate bodies for route delivery are stationed at branch locations. Six hotshot trucks are maintained for urgent deliveries. The dedicated carrier uses refrigerated tractor trailers to haul product from the dairy to the branches for route delivery.
In January 2003, the dairy was acquired by the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, the cooperative markets milk for more than 1,600 dairy farmer owners throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the US.
Typically, with a change in ownership comes a change in how the acquired business is operated, and that has been the case at Maola Milk and Ice Cream. One area of change has been fleet standardization.
Remaining steadfast, however, is the dairy's commitment and dedication to making premium milk and ice cream, says Lawrance, who was raised on a farm. Product quality control, processing, and distribution efficiency continue to be of utmost importance.
Product quality control starts with the cows at the farm and is controlled all the way through the quick process from the farm to the customer, he explains. “Because we're part of a farmer-owned cooperative, it's our farmers' cows. Our milk is trucked in by contract haulers from our coop dairy farms. We process it, package it, and ship it out of New Bern to customers quickly, ensuring freshness.
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