The right stuff

Exceptional customer service and tight control over costs are the twin pillars upon which Tony Savaiano built Maintenance Supply Co. (Massco)

Manager: Tony Savaiano

Title: President & CEO

Fleet: Maintenance Supply Co., Wichita, KS

Operation: Three-state fleet delivering maintenance and janitorial supplies


Exceptional customer service and tight control over costs are the twin pillars upon which Tony Savaiano built Maintenance Supply Co. (Massco), which distributes maintenance and janitorial supplies throughout Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Last year, however, it became obvious that those principles were in jeopardy as equipment age, lightweight specs, and spotty maintenance began to take their toll.

“Two problems really hurt us: We'd been buying too light a truck to handle our nominal shipment loads and we hadn't taken as good care of them as we should have,” says Savaiano, who founded Massco in 1982 with partner Richard Warren and became the company's sole owner in 2000.

Although the lighter trucks were less expensive, they generated a bigger share of maintenance repair bills since Massco does not have any in-house technicians for its seven-vehicle fleet and must consequently outsource maintenance.

“That was an expensive proposition for us,” Savaiano notes. “We didn't get the depth of PMs that our trucks required, so they were breaking down a lot more often. And when a truck is left parked on our lot, it's not making deliveries to customers. That's a problem.”

Not someone to make the same mistake twice, Savaiano didn't want to buy new trucks without solving these spec'ing and maintenance issues So he studied a range of options that would help improve the reliability and productivity of his fleet.


“We had done quite a study, looking at a number of truck brands, [as well as] leasing vehicles versus owning them, etc.,” explains Savaiano. Then Wichita Kenworth came in with a presentation detailing how Massco could buy medium-duty trucks with beefed-up specs and contract out the maintenance to the dealership, all while saving money.

“That made sense to us,” says Savaiano. “They became a consultant to us in the sense that we didn't just buy a truck, we purchased a solution for our delivery and uptime needs.”

According to Savaiano, the Kenworth T-300 trucks Massco now uses — the fleet bought six in 2006 and one more is on order for delivery this year — are more economical to operate, even though Massco paid a bit more for them than the lighter vehicles it used previously. The specs on the new trucks are more robust, enabling them to handle both the urban stop-and-go delivery and long drives on rural roads required to service Massco's customer base.

Currently, Massco operates three distribution centers totaling over 100,000 square feet of space in the Midwest: Wichita, KS, Oklahoma City, OK, and North Kansas City, MO.

“We have lowered our costs, yet the vehicles are more productive and better,” he says. “And better productivity helps drive profitability. I swear it's just another textbook example where we say, ‘Look at the money we saved while we upgraded our image and [with] better equipment.’”

Maintenance Bay presents case studies detailing how fleets resolve maintenance-related issues.

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