Model Carrier

Model Carrier

Kennesaw Transportation continues to serve as an example of how success in trucking can be established and maintained.

Kennesaw Transportation continues to serve as an example of how success in trucking can be established and maintained.

Headquarteredin White, Ga., 30 miles north of Atlanta, Kennesaw Transportation Inc.,is a model of the success that can be realized in the truckingbusiness. Founded with five trucks in 1981 by C.W. “Pat” Patrick,president, today the long haul carrier fields 195 tractors and 310trailers.

Kennesawteams carry loads from Georgia to several western states, includingWashington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona. Single driverscover lanes from Georgia to points in Florida, North and SouthCarolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois and Kansas.

With a focuson handling refrigerated freight since 1990, Kennesaw mainly haulscandy, food products and produce for customers like Nestle, Sara Lee,Domino’s Pizza, Fresh Express and Mrs. Smith’s, among others. Thecarrier also hauls carpet, mainly from east to west to facilitatebackhauls of produce.

The Kennesaw fleet consists of PeterbiltModel 387 tractors and a mix of Utility and Great Dane trailers. Mostlylate model vehicles, the fleet’s trade cycle calls for five years ofservice from trailers and three years on tractors.

“We replacetractors on this cycle because of mileage and we want to trade beforethe warranty runs out,” Patrick says. “We trade trailers on this cyclebecause they still have high resale value at that point, plus thenumber of hours on the refrigeration unit is close to putting the unitsout of warranty.”

Patrick notes that standardizationof the fleet is important to Kennesaw for several reasons, includingreduced parts inventory needs, maintaining technician knowledge andobtaining the most favorable warranty and policy adjustments. And whilesome makes and models have changed over the years, Thermo Kingrefrigeration units have been specified on every trailer since 1990.

Inparticular, Kennesaw’s 310 trailers are equipped with Thermo King SBmodels, including the SB-200-30 and SB-210-30 models it began usingabout four years ago. Previously, for many years the company used SuperII units. For 2007, an order of 100 trailers with SB-210-30 models hasbeen placed.

Amongthe more beneficial features of the Thermo King products are therefrigeration units’ solid-state electronic microprocessor controllerand electronic throttling valve system, according to Patrick.

“Thathelps hold cold chain temperatures within tolerance and ensureintegrity of the load,” he says. “We also spec our units withlow-maintenance items, such as silicone coolant hoses, maintenance-freebatteries and self-diagnostics systems. We spec the Whisper LDB packagefor quietness of the unit for drivers and the public. Our drivers havestated that the control system is very easy to use and that the Whisperpackage is a great benefit.”

Top honors
For Patrick, part ofthe proof of the Thermo King units’ effectiveness came when Kennesawwas named Cold Chain Carrier of the Year for 2006 by Fresh Express. Thecompany was chosen from among all of the food company’s carriers basedon temperature management of Fresh Express products delivered. By usingindependent monitoring devices in trailers, it was determined thatKennesaw maintained product temperatures closest to required standards.

“Wespec side posts on 12-inch centers for our carpet customers, and we’reusing the Meritor Tire Inflation System by PSI,” Patrick says. “Theautomatic tire pressure inflation devices help maximize tread wear andfuel economy, and virtually eliminate run flats.”

Kennesaw also is adding Air-Weigh on-board scales to its trailers.
“Theypay for themselves by not having the expense of having to weigh attruck stops,” Patrick says. “That’s especially true if the closestscale is 50 or 60 miles from the shipper’s location, costing fuelexpense and driver time to get the load weighed. In addition, we findthat shippers like them because it cuts down on paperwork and savestime.”

New addition
Another relatively new addition tovehicles at Kennesaw is Thermo King TriPac auxiliary idle reduction andtemperature management systems. The first TriPac APU was installed inNovember 2005 and since then 136 more have been added to the fleet. For2007, the company has ordered an additional 40 units.

“TheTri-Pac units have reduced our idle time dramatically, which in turnhas increased our fuel miles per gallon,” Patrick says. “Idle timeprior to the addition of TriPac units was on the average of 40 to 50percent in the fleet. With the 137 units we’ve installed, the fleetaverage is down to 3 to 4 percent. This represents a large fuel andmaintenance savings.

“The TriPac APUs have also eliminated theneed for service calls for dead batteries as well as having to purchasealternators or make air conditioning repairs on the road,” Patricksays. “All things considered, by cutting fuel consumption, loweringmaintenance costs, minimizing downtime and reducing customer productclaims, the payback on this purchase is within 12 months.”

Forall of its purchases, Patrick points out that Kennesaw is mostinterested in product quality and specifications with a history ofreliability and dependability.

“Price and resale value areimportant, but dependable products and suppliers are absolutelyessential,” he says. “We need close relationships with suppliers tokeep us informed on the latest technology available, for trainingprograms, and to be available and react if we’re having a problem.”

Amongthe suppliers that Patrick points to in particular include Thermo KingCorp. and its dealership, Thermo King Atlanta, which has been workingwith the fleet since 1990.
“We also buy parts only from selectvendors,” he says. “We use only Pilot truck stops for fuel purchasesand fit our equipment strictly with Bridgestone tires. We have anational account with them for any tire needs on the road, and we donot use any retreads.”

Kennesaw keeps close tabs on tire and other costs using TMT Transman maintenance management software.

“Ithas many benefits, including being able to know costs per mile,controlling parts and tire inventories, PM scheduling, trackingwarranty claims, and monitoring technician performance and timeefficiency,” he says.

Under the direction of Bill Jordan,director of maintenance, and with the able assistance of Ellie Hanleyin the shop office, the Kennesaw fleet is maintained by a team ofhighly trained technicians.

“Our shop operates two shifts,seven days a week and handles all PM work on tractors and trailers,”Patrick says. “We also have a safety lane that all vehicles must passthrough before going outbound. All heavy maintenance or repair work onequipment such as engines, transmissions and refrigeration units issent to dealers.”

Developing experience
Kennesaw’s technicians receive regular training from suppliers.

“Thereis a shortage of good technicians in our area,” he says. “We try todevelop our own pool of technicians by training people that we hire assafety lane and PM personnel and give them experience.”

Makingtechnicians a part of the Kennesaw operation is actually just oneexample of the company’s dedication to its employees. Under the termsof employee stock ownership plan, the carrier’s staff owns 30 percentof the company’s stock at the present time. The dividends on that stockare issued in the form of bonuses.
From five vehicles to almost 200tractors and more than 300 trailers, Kennesaw Transportation has grownduring the past 25 years. And behind that success, has been the bestemployees and suppliers a carrier could ask for, Pat Patrick says.

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