Company: Central Oregon Truck Co., Redmond, OR
Operation: For-hire flatbed carrier with 300 power units utilizes over 400 employees to operate package-car delivery units and vans, plus 20,789 Class 8 units and yard tractors, across the lower 48 states and Canada.
Unexpected downtime for a maintenance issue is bad news for any motor carrier, but when you’re a nationwide flatbed fleet often hauling heavy goods and large, often unwieldy shipments, such downtime can be a bottom-line killer.
Just ask Josh Laughlin, a maintenance specialist at Central Oregon Truck Co.
“Revenue losses can be upwards of $1,000 per day when we have a [maintenance] incident or when a dash lamp is illuminated on one of our trucks,” he said.
But perhaps more important than the potential savings of time and money, Laughlin said Central Oregon wants to maintain its reputation for on-time delivery performance, a top priority for company managers, drivers and dispatchers.
“Being on time with deliveries in the construction and building industry is crucial because contractors may be relying on shipments to arrive at certain times at their delivery points so that projects stay on schedule,” Laughlin stressed.
That theme of reliability forms a cornerstone of Central Oregon’s operating philosophy, according to CEO Rick Williams.
“We search daily for ways to improve and refine our services, processes, and personnel as well as our industry’s public image. We are an organization with many different people working efficiently to provide the highest level of service and quality possible to our customers.”
And that includes everyone in the fleet—even the technicians.
“While they work behind the scenes, our administration, human resources, recruiting, safety/training and maintenance professionals are equally tireless in their efforts to support our operations, drivers, and our daily success in every way,” Williams explained.
So, when it comes to maintenance, the question is how to get advance warning about a potential problem in order to prevent unplanned equipment downtime.
As 242 of Central Oregon’s 300 power units are now Kenworth T680 tractors, the motor carrier decided to give the OEM’s TruckTech+ Remote Diagnostics package a try.
Laughlin said TruckTech+ transmits vehicle diagnostics 24/7 to Central Oregon’s maintenance facility based in Redmond, OR, and to Papé Kenworth, the fleet’s dealership. That allows both Central Oregon’s technicians and Papé Kenworth’s maintenance team to view real-time diagnostic data gleaned from the truck’s engine control module via the Paccar Solutions web portal. Ultimately, that helps the fleet determine how or when to address specific trouble codes, especially in terms of the on-time needs of the load a particular truck is hauling.
“With the data TruckTech+ collects, our dispatchers work with Papé Kenworth to produce solutions that may allow us to complete shipments and schedule the servicing for when the driver returns to home base, or somewhere along the way when the driver is off-duty,” Laughlin explained.
The fleet and its drivers value the impact such data provides in terms of improving productivity and performance.
“Since TruckTech+ notifies us of potential issues as they unfold, we can plan any necessary maintenance around our drivers’ schedules and maximize uptime,” added Phil Taylor, vice president of maintenance for Central Oregon. “That way, our drivers can continue on their way quickly. That can have a big impact on their paycheck and their satisfaction.”
And it also helps Central Oregon avoid the costs of unplanned downtime.
“Anytime we can plan on when our trucks will be serviced rather than deal with the scheduling emergencies when trucks must be serviced, that’s a critically important benefit to our company’s operation,” Laughlin added.