Manager: Scott Handy
Title: Maintenance coordinator
Fleet: Bekins Logistics, Sioux City, IA
Operation: Third-party logistics provider with multiple warehouses and own tractor-trailer fleet
Bekins Logistics is a growing third-party logistics provider (3PL) that offers “traditional” warehousing and storage; inventory distribution; rework and testing services; customized production replenishment, and “dock merge and supply chain facilitation.”
It operates over three-million sq ft of warehouse space across its facilities in Detroit, Indianapolis, Columbus, OH, Sioux City and LeMars IA, and Greenwood, SC.
Also an integral part of Bekins Logistics' service commitment is a company fleet numbering 30 tractors and 154 trailers.
The fleet's tractors shuttle the trailers between customer locations and warehouses. That means avoiding downtime is absolutely critical, according to maintenance coordinator Scott Handy.
Handy proudly reports that “right now our tractor maintenance costs are at 2.1 cents per mile. That's better than average for around here.”
A key contributor to that impressive performance has been Handy's tire program.
He recently switched the 3PL's tractors over to Goodyear G395 LHS steer tires and says that move has scored a significant improvement in tread mileage.
“We tested a set and ran them out to around 97,000 miles,” Handy reports. “That's very good in an application like ours, where the trucks are doing a lot of hooking and turning.
“We now have 11 trucks running with the 395s,” he continues. “We have tractor with 103,000 miles on the tires and they're still showing 7/32nds of tread. We'll get 120,000 to 125,000 miles out of those tires easily. In our application, we consider anything past 100,000 miles to be a bonus.”
Handy stays on top of irregular wear by inspecting tires frequently. “The trucks are in my shop every 5,000 miles and we always check pressure, tread depth, and look for irregular wear,” he advises.
“We're always on the lookout for cupping and shoulder wear,” Handy adds. “Once the wear starts, you can't stop it. But since we've gone to the G395, we've seen less of that. Our steer tire life has gone up about 20%.”
Handy has steer tires pulled when the tread has worn down to 4/32nds. He then retreads them for drive positions. For the past three years, he has been running retreads using Goodyear's UniCircle pre-cure process.
“We typically will get 180,000 to 230,000 miles from each retread,” he continues. “The mileage will vary according to the routes the trucks run, some of which are harder on tires than others. We have one city truck that will be hooking up to a trailer 50 to 60 times a day. We know the mileages are going to be lower on that one.”
Once the drives have worn down, Handy retreads them again, this time with a Goodyear G314 tread for trailer positions.
Since many of the trailers will sit for extended periods, he doesn't look at tread wear to determine replacement. “We won't retread any of the trailer tires more than twice,” Handy points out. “And if we see any casing that's five years or older, we won't cap it either.”
Maintenance Bay presents case studies detailing how fleets resolve maintenance-related issues.