Photo: Munden Ventures
Logger Truck

How one log hauler keeps its operations on track

Dec. 28, 2020
Munden Ventures relies on its drivers, equipment, and management technology to overcome some of the most extreme work conditions.

Western Canadian log hauling takes place in some of the most extreme conditions and terrain on the continent, noted Greg Munden, president of Munden Ventures Ltd. “That’s why we need equipment that balances toughness with reliability and provides for driver comfort,” he said. “We’re also in a capital-intensive, low-margin business, so resale value and low lifetime ownership costs are critical for success.”

Based in Kamloops, British Columbia, Munden Ventures is a fourth-generation log hauling and harvesting company, and a truck parts and service supplier and petroleum tank manufacturing business. Its logging fleet includes 14 Kenworth tridem drive-axle trucks, which pull quad-axle trailers in 140,000-lb.-GVW combinations. The tractors are all 2017 or newer T880 models powered by 565-hp. Cummins engines, and most trailers are Peerless units.

“Our customers rely on us every day to move their logs to the mill, and the mills count on getting daily deliveries,” Munden stated. “To keep going smoothly, the harvesting operation is also dependent on reliable trucks. Kenworth models have proven to last in our rugged application and to provide a ride that helps our drivers be less fatigued.

“We almost always custom order equipment and have very defined turn rates, generally keeping units for the warranty period,” Munden continued. “Having solid relationships with our suppliers is key to ensuring that equipment is built as we need it. Our experience has been that sticking with the right suppliers pays dividends in the long run. That’s why our relationships with Kenworth, Peerless, and Cummins date back to 1967 when my grandparents started the business.”

The company’s shop and its dealers also ensure reliability for the fleet, Munden noted. “Inland Kenworth, for example, has a strong dealer network with facilities throughout the region in which we operate,” he said.

“Our shop operation has grown from only providing service to our fleet into a facility where 75% of the work is for outside customers,” Munden related. “Our 16 technicians handle maintenance and repairs and emergency roadside service for all makes and models. Recently, we added a division that specializes in service for reefer units, APUs, and truck heating systems.”

Along with its broad range of services, Munden said the shop’s value is in its hours of operation. For example, the parts and service departments are open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to midnight. Customers, he noted, appreciate the ability to leave units at the shop to be serviced at night and on weekends, or have access to parts to do their own work at almost any hour.

“We rely heavily on management technology,” Munden explained. “Our shop software has all of our technicians working on tablets and computers, minimizing the need for paper, improving efficiency, and helping ensure that customers are only charged for time spent on their work orders.”

Munden also readily adopts technology for the rest of its operations. “We were so supportive of the change to ELDs that we transitioned six years ago,” Munden said. “The early move, well ahead of the current U.S. rules and the Canadian regulations that take effect next June, gave us the comfort of knowing we’re always in compliance as well as provide insight into our operation through the use of telematics.”

In British Columbia, Munden’s log haulers work from June to March, often navigating steep mountain roads in ever-changing conditions, including areas covered with deep snow and in temperatures below minus 20 degrees. “It’s very challenging,” Munden said, “but with the right equipment, the right support, and confident and competent drivers, we can do the job efficiently, reliably and safely.”

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