Distributor adds value with mobile service

Distributor adds value with mobile service

With 13 locations in three states, parts distributor Power Train Service has identified mobile service as a way to expand its horizons and increase value-add to its customers.

A leading warehouse distributor with a passion for supplying parts for decades to truck fleets of all sizes has discovered still another way to “delight its customers.” With 13 locations in three states (12 with service bays) across the Midwest, Power Train Service, headquartered in Indianapolis, has identified mobile service as a way to expand its horizons and increase value-add to its customers.

“We want to be the person who throws the box away,” said Lyle Bass, president of Power Train Service and industry pioneer with the drive of a 20-year-old. “We simply must deliver more than providing parts over the counter or through our delivery fleet. So with our technicians in road service trucks, we’re able to take our parts, customer service and technical abilities to the street.”

It’s what Bass and his business partner, Joe Leffel, call “horizontal integration.” Many WDs offer service bays to install the parts they sell. But Power Train wanted a more aggressive approach. Through the growth of acquiring two independent service garages (ISGs), Power Train now offers 73 service bays with roughly $16 million in parts inventory throughout Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

Power Train’s Bass points out, “Our technicians and shop managers hear the positive customer feedback, and we’re able to measure satisfaction, manage inventories and know our operating income per bay. With CSA and possible on-road citations, we know fleet customers can’t risk OOS citations and can’t wait in long lines at dealerships for repairs.”

In Oct. 2010, Power Train acquired Truckers 24 Hr. Road Service, an Indianapolis-based independent service garage with six mobile service trucks covering Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne and Terre Haute, Ind., plus a 24-hour service shop in Indianapolis.

And recently, Power Train made another acquisition: C. Colyer & Son’s Truck Service in Cincinnati, Ohio, which operates 23 service bays in three locations and will continue to market itself under the same name.

“This acquisition makes us one of the largest privately-owned networks (service and parts) in the aftermarket truck parts and service industry,” said Bass, who cites services as the fastest growing element in the truck aftermarket.

Each service truck costs Power Train about $60,000 plus $15,000 in parts inventory. “We don’t tow; we know how to fix it, and we get them home safely,” summarized Bass.

30% of a service technician’s time is spent working on safety and training. “We focus on the safety of these vehicles and train repeatedly on how to approach a down truck, how to navigate around the truck safely, how to use signs and lights, and to park in front of the customer vehicle,” said Bass, whose company regularly updates technicians on new technologies.

Aside from addressing a service shortage, Bass also recognizes there’s a distinct shortage of counter personnel and technicians.

“There aren’t many schools developing and training these individuals,” he said, “and it takes five years to develop counter personnel internally—to truly understand the dynamics and breadth of product lines. Younger counter personnel have no problems with computers and technology, while experienced counter personnel use catalogs and have familiarity with the new methods.”

Sharp technicians are somewhat like young lions, and are more apt to learn computers and electronics. “We must move them up quickly on salary or they’ll jump for $5 to $6 more per hour,” he said. “Power Train uses Ivy Tech and Lincoln Technical Institute to identify new technicians.

“We watch closely what’s happening, and there’ll be a new wrinkle…a way we can add value and service for our customers,” noted Bass. Soon, Power Train will operate its mobile service trucks with integrated mobile workstations “to eliminate any issues of parts inventory on each of the trucks,” he added.

Investing in keeping an entire workforce trained and up to speed on equipment, best practices and new regulations is an essential part of doing business.

You May Also Like

Phillips introduces Rear-Vu universal backup camera for commercial trucks

Phillips says the Rear-Vu Backup Camera offers low latency, a 170-degree wide angle and over 50 feet visibility.

Phillips-REAR-VU

Phillips Industries launched its Rear-Vu Backup Camera for the commercial trucking industry. Phillips says Rear-Vu is designed to be equipped to any trailer, and features a proprietary WiFi connection that extends more than 70 ft.

Phillips tells us Rear-Vu integrates with any ELD navigation system, with automatic over-the-air firmware updates. Additionally, the company says the camera has a 170-degree wide viewing angle, more than 50 ft. of visibility behind the trailer and ultra-low latency of less than 0.25 seconds for real-time viewing. It can also be used continuously while driving, allowing drivers to monitor traffic behind them.

Volvo Trucks 2014 engines improve fuel economy

Integral to the enhanced fuel efficiency benefits are multiple optimized or new engine components.

Carrier Transicold introduces XtendFRESH atmosphere control technology

Carrier Transicold said its new XtendFRESH container atmosphere control system uses innovative technologies to help maintain the quality of shipped produce, while extending shipping distances to enable growers reach new customers. The XtendFRESH system actively controls oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and removes ethylene, a hormone given off by ripening produce that will accelerate ripening if left unchecked.

Ford installs 500,000th 6.7-liter power stroke V8 turbocharged diesel engine

Ford announced the installation of its 500,000th 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 turbocharged diesel engine, which went into a new 2014 Ford Super Duty F-350 Lariat pickup truck. The engine was installed at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville.

Michelin Retread Technologies launches XDS 2 pre-mold retread

An all weather traction retread, optimized for severe winter conditions, has been introduced by Michelin Retread Technologies. The Michelin XDS 2 Pre-Mold drive tire retread, according to the company, can provide a 10% improvement in tread life over the XDS Pre-Mold.

Other Posts

Hexagon Agility, Brudeli announce CNG/RNG system integration with PowerHybrid technology

The setup enables the powertrain to switch between hybrid modes, providing flexibility for fleets to operate with different energy options.

Ford to provide charging infrastructure for city of Dallas

As part of the agreement, Dallas will install Ford Pro chargers at city worksites and use Ford Pro smart charging software.

Accelera showcases new technology at ACT Expo

“We now have over 1.5 billion miles in the field on our e-mobility products,” Amy Davis, president of Accelera, said.

ACT Expo 2024 kicks off

Day one keynote speeches came from executives at Volvo, Tesla, and more.