To fully understand the Kenan Advantage Group (KAG), it’s necessary to look at both the big and small pictures. Consider, for starters, that Kenan is both one company as well as a number of distinct operations. North America’s largest bulk transportation and logistics provider to the petroleum and specialty products industries, Canton, Ohio-based KAG consists of three unique operations that serve customers across the U.S. and Canada.
Included is the Fuels Delivery Group, the largest component of its business, which delivers over 20 billion gallons of refined petroleum products and renewable fuels annually. In addition, there are the Specialty Products Group, which services chemical manufacturers and producers of liquid food products, and the KAG Logistics Group, which offers automated end-to-end logistics services.
The combined smaller operations at KAG are based at approximately 100 terminals and 98 satellite locations in 38 states. The company as a whole fields 3,800 tractors including Peterbilt, Mack and Volvo models, and 5,400 trailers.
“For all parts of our operation, we purchase equipment manufactured specifically for our needs,” says R.J. Molder, vice president of fleet services. “Our specs ensure maximum durability and efficiency in each of the applications where we use our equipment. In addition, along with cost of ownership, a manufacturer’s support capability plays a large role in our equipment decisions.
“At KAG,” Molder continues, “we believe that an outstanding transportation organization is only possible when you focus on maintenance. We’re very proud of our clean, modern fleet, which is serviced in a very rigorous preventive maintenance program.”
The KAG maintenance program is standard throughout the company’s operations. Each business unit has a regional maintenance supervisor and there is a lead technician or shop supervisor at each garage location. Centrally located is a fleet services administrator who issues work authorizations for every repair.
National accounts play a large role in the KAG maintenance operation. Included are the MV Preferred Fleet-Purchasing program through Volvo Trucks dealers for parts, maintenance and repairs and roadside assistance; parts programs from Paccar and Pinnacle Truck and Trailer Sales; and offerings from Bridgestone/Firestone, Michelin and Goodyear, among others.
Central to success
A management program that is proving central to the success of the KAG maintenance operation is MVASIST. The Internet-based system from Volvo Trucks keeps all fleet- and truck-specific information and communication about a service event in one online folder, regardless of which dealer in the OEM’s network performs the service. MVASIST also makes dealer service personnel aware of fleet and vehicle-specific information, such as warranty coverage, previous service performed and negotiated parts pricing.
“We’ve been working with MVASIST since it was in the early development stages by Decisiv,” Molder states. “The platform streamlines communications and the service write-up process for us, which leads to accuracy, consistent pricing and fewer misunderstandings.
“Perhaps most importantly,” Molder continues, “MVASIST reduces delays and leads to faster turnaround time when one of our trucks is in a dealer’s shop. Handling a request for service through this program gives us full visibility before any work is done, so any potential issues about service, warranty or policy can be addressed ahead of time.”
KAG is also utilizing TMT Fleet Maintenance software from TMW Systems to pinpoint maintenance expenditures by vehicle make, model and year. The TMT program is now fully integrated with MVASIST so it includes data on assets, contacts, pending work, preventive maintenance, warranty coverage and other information from external service events.
“We need to fully understand our costs to effectively manage fleet assets and expenses,” Molder says. “Our tractors see a minimum of 700,000 miles of service before replacement, and the service life of a vehicle that underwent a major overhaul is often extended for two additional years.”
Opportunities for cost savings are readily explored at KAG. “We are currently testing a bio-based fuel at our North Canton, Ohio, terminal that could cut our fuel consumption by up to 6%,” Molder relates, “and currently we’re monitoring MPG to validate any positive effects from the use of this fuel.
“We’re also utilizing an onboard oil purification system that lets us extend drain intervals to 125,000 miles,” he adds. “We’ve been using this system for close to eight years and with the assurance provided by oil sampling at 20,000-mile intervals, we have effectively saved over $1,200 per unit each year.”
Another area of focus at KAG is on safety. “We’re intent on setting the bar for highway safety,” Molder says. “On tractors and trailers we’re now spec’ing roll stability control systems, and we’re adding adaptive cruise control on new power units. We are also using on-board recorders to report any events related to roll stability. We use that information to improve and change driver behavior. Considering the cargo we carry, accidents can be very costly, so the extra cost for these systems is really not an issue.”
Safety is also a prime consideration for the 5,400 trailers in the KAG fleet. “We have always insisted on the lowest possible center of gravity on our trailers,” Molder says. “By ordering double conical or tapered barrels to keep the load as close to the ground as possible, and utilizing a 77.5-in. track axle instead of the standard 71.5-in. track to widen the footprint of the trailer, we are creating greater stability.”
With 3,800 power units and 5,400 trailers, there is nothing small about KAG. At the same time, the Kenan Advantage Group readily exhibits all of the attributes most often associated with smaller companies. “Our growth has been extraordinary,” Molder says, “but we still operate by keeping our principles and values intact.”
KAG Trailer Specifications
Model: LBT; gasoline/fuel oil tanker
Capacity: 9,200 gal.; four compartments
Landing Gear: SAF Holland Model 51000; two-speed, cushion foot sandshoes
Axles & Suspension: Hendrickson INTRAAX, air ride
Hubs: Walther EMC Dura-Light ADI
Seals & Hubcaps: Stemco Advantage System; Discover seals, Sentinel hubcaps
Brakes: Hendrickson; Abex linings; Sealco spring brake valve
Brake Chambers: Haldex Life Seal
ABS: Haldex, with Trailer Roll Stability
Automatic Slack Adjusters: Haldex
Wheels: aluminum disc
Lighting & Electrical: Truck-Lite LED
KAG Tractor Specifications
Model: 2012 Peterbilt Model 384 Day Cab
Wheelbase: 185 in.
Engine: Paccar MX, 430 HP
Clutch: Eaton Fuller Solo Easy Pedal
Transmission: Eaton Fuller 10-speed
Driveshafts: Dana Spicer
Front Axle: Dana Spicer
Front Suspension: Peterbilt Front Air Leaf
Power Steering: TRW
Rear Axle: Dana Spicer DSP41, 3.90 ratio
Rear Suspension: Peterbilt FLEX Air
Hubs: PHP10 Aluminum LMS
Wheel Seals: Dana Spicer Outrunner
ABS/ATC/ACB: Bendix ESP with ATC; Bendix Wingman ACB
Tires: 11R22.5 Bridgestone R250F steer, M726EL drive
5th Wheel: Jost
Air Compressor: Meritor WABCO 28 CFM
Air Dryer: Bendix AD-IS, heated
Batteries: (3) PACCAR, 2,100 CCA
Alternator: PACCAR, 130 amp
Engine Pre-Heater: Phillips
Lighting: Truck-Lite LED
Seats: Peterbilt UltraRide
Tanks: Fuel, 100 gal. LH; DEF RH