“It has been a great arrangement,” says Fred Masenheimer, executive vice president of Pencor Services Inc., the parent company of several telecommunications and media companies. “We look good to our customers and present a very professional fleet to the general public. It has also improved the morale of our employees because they are driving quality equipment.”
What Masenheimer is referring to is the arrangement between Blue Ridge Communications, a division of Pencor Services, and Penske Truck Leasing’s Specialized Equipment Services group. Based in Palmerton, Pa., Blue Ridge is a cable, telephone and Internet services provider serving nearly 200,000 subscribers in a 15-county area in eastern Pennsylvania.
“Penske Truck Leasing’s specialized equipment services group is dedicated to managing and maintaining unique fleets, which include those like Blue Ridge with cable and telecommunications operations,” says Russ Scaramastra, vice president – specialized equipment services at Penske. “We initially approached Pencor about a contract maintenance arrangement, and from those discussions grew the opportunity to lease vehicles as well. The arrangement started small but has expanded from there.”
The Blue Ridge Communications fleet of approximately 100 Penske leased vehicles includes Ford F350 utility bucket trucks, Chevrolet 3500 cargo bucket vans, GMC K2500 4×4 pickup trucks, and Ford F450 heavy-duty utility trucks. “When I first became involved with the maintenance of our fleet vehicles,” Masenheimer relates, “we were buying vehicles and running them until they dropped, and by then they didn’t look good.
“Currently,” Masenheimer continues, “we utilize newer vehicles that turn over on a five-year cycle, providing for a more professional image. Our lease was established with mileage criteria. We studied our fleet over a period of time, and worked with Penske to determine an ideal solution. By leasing we were also able to avoid the capital outlay necessary to buy new vehicles.”
Reliable cost predictions
Maintenance costs were also dramatically lowered, Masenheimer notes. “Our customer service area includes rural locations, so we need newer trucks that require a minimum of upkeep,” he says.
While Penske performs the majority of full-service maintenance work on the Blue Ridge fleet, the company has also retained an in-house service department of technicians and support staff. Those associates service Blue Ridge vehicles in select areas and the fleet of other Pencor companies. “In either case,” Masenheimer states, “our trucks get attention when they need it.”
The Blue Ridge fleet’s fuel needs are met through commercial accounts with several national companies, Masenheimer reports, while parts and tires are supplied through Penske’s national account inventory program.
“Penske maintenance technicians have done an excellent job of making themselves a part of the Blue Ridge team,” Masenheimer concludes. “Their consistent service and performance has boosted productivity. Penske also has a wide array of training resources, which has been invaluable for understanding the complexities of regulatory issues. Overall, we could not be happier with the arrangement.”