Manager: Michael Yonka
Title: Director of Safety & Maintenance
Fleet: Deeco Transportation, Lansing, MI
Operation: Nationwide general freight hauler
Once upon a time, Deeco Transportation had a pretty simple tire program. Top management dictated no retreads were allowed and only new tires on sale were to be purchased
Simple, yes, but expensive, too, reports Michael Yonka. It also meant the fleet wound up running no fewer than 16 different tire brands.
The fleet's 90 Freightliners average about 132,000 miles a year pulling 53-ft. vans throughout the U.S. but mainly in the Midwest and Southeast. Most cargo consists of paper products and non-perishable goods.
Assuming responsibility for the tire program in the summer of ‘04, Yonka got a handle on things by first reviewing old bills to figure out tire life before replacement.
He found new steer-axle tires axle were averaging only 102,000 miles and drive tires little more than 116,000 miles. That meant tires were being constantly replaced.
“With tires representing the third-highest expense item for our operation behind labor and fuel, it's essential that we get the most mileage out of tires,” says Yonka.
Working with Dan Manning of local dealer Scott Tire Sales, Deeco began testing both new and retread Goodyear tires.
Yonka says it was simple math that led him to standardize on Goodyear. “I calculated our cost per mile (CPM) at 0.12 cents for new Goodyear tires, compared with almost twice that for the other brands,” Yonka states.
“We also began testing retreads — something we'd never done before,” he continues. “The CPM for retreads ended up even better — just 0.04 cents per mile.
“With numbers in hand, I approached Deeco's owners to show that Goodyear tires and retreads were a better value. Once they saw the numbers, they were convinced.”
As a result, Deeco signed on with Goodyear as a national account customer and has opted to use UniCircle-process retreads.
Yonka currently purchases the Unisteel G395 LHS for steers, the G362 for drives and the G314 for trailers.
He now figures that steer tires will run more than 217,000 miles before retreading and that drive tires will go almost 224,000 miles and trailers over 223,000 miles.
As for UniCircle retreading, Yonka projects G362 retreads will go another 186,000 miles per retread and G314s will run another 203,000 miles.
Yonka says that under the old program, tires “ were run down to almost nothing.” Now drive tires and trailer tires are removed with 5/32nds remaining and steer tires are pulled at 6/32nds.
“Using retreads,” he relates, “we're increasing tire life and driving down overall tire cost,” he points out. “I'm saving 66% off the price of new tires with UniCircle and overall tire life is extended.
“We also have far less downtime and happier drivers,” he continues. “When one of our drivers has a tire problem out on the road, he can now call the 800 number and have it handled quickly by a local Goodyear dealer.
Maintenance Bay presents case studies detailing how fleets resolve maintenance-related issues.