CONSTRUCTION FLEET: Building blocks

Finding and keeping good employees is one of the secrets behind the success of A. Teichert & Son Inc., a construction and aggregate materials company based in Sacramento, CA. Teichert, which operates under Contractor's License No. 8, the oldest active license number in California, has enjoyed long-term stability in large part due to its ongoing policy of fostering an environment that attracts and

Finding and keeping good employees is one of the secrets behind the success of A. Teichert & Son Inc., a construction and aggregate materials company based in Sacramento, CA. Teichert, which operates under Contractor's License No. 8, the oldest active license number in California, has enjoyed long-term stability in large part due to its ongoing policy of fostering an environment that attracts and retains excellent people, including providing drivers with the best equipment available.

“Every class of vehicle we operate,” says Carl Musser, equipment superintendent, “is spec'd independently based on its intended use. The abuse that our dumps, flatbeds and cranes take means we sometimes spec heavier trucks than we'd like. In other cases, such as our ready-mixed concrete operations, our goal is to keep vehicle weight down so we can maximize payload.”

Founded in 1887 as a materials company, Teichert has expanded to include construction and concrete products divisions that utilize the materials the company produces.

Teichart currently owns 230 Class 8 vehicles, comprised of ready-mix, water, dump, hydraulic cranes, low-bed transport and bulk commodities trucks. The equipment includes Kenworth, Peterbilt, Mack and International models, and more recently, a number of Sterling units spec'd to be used as water and grease trucks have been added to the fleet for the first time. Last year, Teichert also purchased 20 new Kenworth W900S mixer trucks that were custom spec'd with lightweight components to enable the company to increase its payload capacity by a half yard.

“Previously, our mixer trucks were only capable of carrying 9.5 yd. of concrete legally,” Musser explains. “But with the help of Kenworth, Cummins and McNeilus we were able to shave 1,900 lb. off the weight of the truck and MTM mixer body combination to achieve a 10-yd. legal load. We're the first in our region to have a 10-yd. Mixer, which gives us a great competitive advantage.”

Teichert chose a Cummins ISC 315-hp. engine and Eaton Fuller 11-speed Transmission. This combination saved more than 700 lb. over an ISM engine and heavier transmission. Replacing eight aluminum wheels with four super singles, going from a 46,000-lb.-cap. rear suspension to a Chalmers 40K rear suspension, and choosing a Dana Spicer DSH44 44,000-lb.-cap. rear axle also contributed to weight savings. “We looked at everything on the truck where we could save weight, from major components to smaller ones like batteries and air tanks. It all added up.”

While spec'ing a lightweight truck was the main objective, Musser says they didn't want to sacrifice vehicle reliability or driver comfort. “Driver acceptance of the new Kenworths has been very high, and from a management standpoint, the trucks have a great resale value,” he says. “We also look at maintenance cost for the life of the truck and the way the vehicle's constructed. Little things like cab access are important from a safety standpoint because our drivers are in and out of the truck many times a day.”

Musser emphasizes the importance Teichert places on safety both for drivers and maintenance personnel. “Safety is our number one issue,” he states. “We're working very hard to achieve a non-incidence record.”

Each shop has a safety committee that meets monthly and now includes technicians in addition to management. All mechanics participate in bi-monthly safety meetings, in addition to daily pre-shift meetings that serve as reminders to work safely. For special jobs that fall outside the realm of normal daily operations, Musser says Task Analysis meetings are held to discuss safety concerns or hazards involved in performing the work.

“Our company has grown 100% in the last ten years.” Musser reports. “The reason is quality across the board-from our people to the trucks we operate.”

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