Vehicle weight has always been an issue for tanker operations like Venezia Bulk Transport Inc.; however, it’s even more of a concern today. “In some instances, we get paid by the gallon,” says J.P. Venezia, maintenance systems and food compliance manager. “With the latest emissions technology, our new vehicles are heavier, so we’ve had to change a number of specifications just to be able to maintain cargo weights.”
Ten years ago, Venezia explains, a typical tractor in the company fleet had a full set of fairings, dual fuel tanks, and dual drive tire and wheel assemblies. Today, some of the latest models have no fairings, single fuel tanks, one less battery, stationary instead of sliding fifth wheels, and wide base single tires on aluminum wheels. “Reducing weight is a very big issue,” he states. “Otherwise, we’d be hauling less product per load, which impacts our bottom line and raises costs for customers.”
Established in 1967, the Royersford, PA-based, family-owned Venezia operates liquid, dry bulk and specialty divisions from 12 terminals in six states. Its liquid tanker fleet includes propane, insulated trailers for hauling liquid asphalt, and stainless steel and aluminum compartmented and single barrel units.
Regardless of the load, effectively holding the line on fleet costs is a primary consideration at Venezia. “We try and domicile equipment so it is positioned to serve our customers, but that can also create challenges when it comes to managing information on equipment and maintenance operations,” Venezia says.
Until 2001, Venezia explains, that challenge was compounded by the use of a paper-based management process that required two full-time data entry clerks. The company had been using a TMW Systems enterprise management solution since 1999, so it began employing TMT Fleet Maintenance, TMW’s equipment and shop management software, in all of its facilities. Not only did this investment quickly pay for itself, it continues to generate direct and indirect savings.
“Initially, we were able to reduce our costs simply by implementing touchscreen data capture technology in our shops, which allows technicians to create repair orders and track labor time and parts usage,” Venezia reports.
“We also saw parts inventory costs drop 10 to 15% by using centralized volume purchasing and automatic replenishment capabilities. In addition, there has been a 15-fold increase in warranty recovery from the ability to track covered items.
“The data in the system generates savings by enabling us to effectively evaluate the cost-effectiveness of extended warranties based on past performance,” Venezia continues. “We also use the data to pinpoint the optimal life cycle of equipment and determine when it would be most beneficial to replace vehicles.”
Venezia is equally committed to safety. The company’s safety program has been developed to ensure compliance with all federal, state and local regulations, and includes quarterly safety meetings and product awareness training for all its employees, not just drivers.
“A safe operation is organized, clean and efficient,” Venezia says. “If everyone strives to avoid accidents, we will be in a better position not only to operate safely, but also to improve the total performance of our company.
“Every day, so that we offer the best possible service for our customers, we have to meet challenges that include fielding safe, reliable and productive equipment,” Venezia adds. “We do so by using our more than 45 years of knowledge and industry experience, and by employing dedicated people who are always ready to provide value through creative problem solving and continuous improvement.”