Dot Foods, Inc.
Duane Fischer, shop supervisor, Maryland terminal
Headquartered in Mt. Sterling, IL, Dot Foods is the largest food re-distributor in the United States, according to the company, serving distributors coast-to-coast from seven locations. Founder Robert Tracy began the family-owned company with a single station wagon, but today it takes 507 on-highway trucks to handle their refrigerated, frozen and dry bulk freight.
About ten years ago, the company decided it needed a better way to track information on tires, a major cost item, than the paper-and-pencil system they were using. They selected Goodyear's TVTRACK software, according to Duane Fischer, shop supervisor, and they've never looked back.
“We operate and maintain 67 power units out of this location,” explains Fischer, “and we typically have five technicians here who report to me. About ten years ago, the company implemented the Goodyear TVTRACK software system company-wide to help us gather data on our tires so that we could make better maintenance, spec'ing and purchase decisions and do a better job budgeting, as well.
“It is an invaluable tool for us today, allowing us to track tire wear and operating costs by individual tire and plan replacement and retreading schedules. We also use it to compare tire makes and models in terms of fuel economy, durability and so on, and we've made changes to our tire specs based upon what we've learned,” he says. “We assign numbers to each of our vehicles, so if a truck has a tire failure away from home, we can also use the system to tell the driver and the tire service facility exactly what tire is on the truck in that position.
“We run Kenworths, Volvos and Internationals, so now we can also track tire wear and cost differences between truck models or even types of suspensions,” Fischer adds. “At Dot, most drivers are assigned to a truck, which they drive until we trade it. Because of that, we can also see which drivers get the most out of their tires in terms of fuel economy and wear. Drivers who do the best with tires also tend to be the best in other ways besides, like overall safety.”
According to Fischer, the TVTRACK software is easy to use. “To set up the system, you have to put in the make and model of each truck, information about the axle configuration and axle weight ratings and the tires. It's easy; there is a picture of a truck chassis on the screen and you just click on each tire position. All the information you need is in on-screen menus.”
Dot technicians capture and record information about tire wear when vehicles come in for routine servicing. “We do alignments every 60,000 miles and rotate tires every 100,000,” he says, “so that's when we input the data on tire wear.
“We retread drive tires just once and then move them to a trailer and retread them once more,” Fischer offers. “We won't use a tire more than four years and we won't retread a tire in a drive position if it has a puncture bigger than an ink pen. With the historical data on tires that we have access to now, we are better able to optimize for safety and cost.”