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A smile and positive attitude delights truck operators

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A welcoming handshake and a genuine, “How can I help you?” attitude are key requirements to delight and maintain fleet owners’ business at a growing full-service truck dealership, and that’s exactly what this writer received at Nextran’s Mack-Volvo facility in Lake City, Fla.

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Jon Pritchett, president and chief executive officer, Nextran Truck Centers, and Don Cox, vice president-general manager of Nextran’s Lake City and Jacksonville, Fla., properties showed off the 38,000-sq.-ft. Lake City facility, which was opened in 1999 on 10 acres just off the intersection of I-10 and I-75. It adheres to and grows with progressive business practices implemented at the 14 Nextran dealerships in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
Behind Lake City’s team and facility are the value propositions by which this dealership helps keep its customers’ trucks running efficiently and on-time with payloads.

“We focus on customer service and forming partnerships with our customers,” Pritchett explained. “Our operation’s experience underscores the importance of respecting all customers and particularly the drivers who are the heartbeat of our industry.” Interestingly, all open houses or even training sessions include not just the workforce but any visiting customers-drivers.

Technicians value

“We know that professional, experienced technicians are very valuable to our customers,” Cox said. The dealership relies on its 21 technicians working out of 22 service bays and two mobile service vehicles. Services performed include wreck repairs, PMs, complete engine work, testing, harnesses, alignment and body shop (cyclical) and paint booth.

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“Our focus with all our service work is to turn the job—correctly, efficiently and get that operator/driver back on the road…be it from the shop, service center or out on the road,” he explained. “In two hours, we strive to examine, understand and determine how long it will take to get that unit back on the road.”

One recent growth area at Nextran in Lake City has been complete roll-off installation with controls. “It’s very popular for construction and waste industries and the work fits our market; so our other facilities route that type of work here,” Cox said.

Big focus on training

For experienced or brand new technicians (the dealership mines new talent at WyoTech), the facility adheres to continually training its workforce. “Our goal is to have Mack Certified MasterTechs, where the fellow makes a real career and earns his advancement,” Cox said. Training classes are common occurrences at the dealership. Subjects range from air conditioning to brakes to torqueing wheel bearings and checking slack adjusters. Attending customers often conclude which component works best and specifies his next truck order accordingly.

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Don Cox is the dealership’s operations manager and his son, Kenneth Cox, manages the shop.

“We’ve grown Nextran from two dealerships in 1993 to 14 locations in three states and growing in 2014,” Pritchett said, fully crediting the family of employees for the company’s success. “Our customers rely on us to keep them moving every day—it’s more than up-time, it’s about helping our customers fulfill the promises they’ve made to their customers. We take that seriously.”

The right components

“At the core of our offering is the strong Mack Truck brand and its rich legacy of ideal models like the Pinnacle, Granite and Titan tractors,” Don Cox said, noting the increased acceptance of mDrive transmissions on Pinnacles plus the MVAssist real-time communications tool with larger fleets.

The Lake City parts inventory value totals $1.2 million, encompassing the major tire-brake-drivetrain and accessory genuine brand names, plus the Road Choice price-point parts.

“Having the right parts at the right time is critical. Our on-shelf inventory combines with our ability to source any part from a locations’ network,” Cox explained. “It’s a huge advantage for Nextran and it enables us to best serve our customers.”

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“We’re willing to keep learning, to further improving our service, and to listen first to our customers,” Pritchett summarized, also the president of nearby Pritchett Trucking in Lake Butler, Fla. “We’re able to manage through the business cycles and quite fortunate to have a strong team here, reliable vendor partners, and deep OE support.”

That “learning formula,” a handshake and a helpful attitude must be working—since Nextran will open a new flagship dealership in Atlanta by latter 2015.

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