When it comes to operating a fleet of trucks, it all boils down to cost of operation. And, for Superior Plus Energy Services, it really means cost of maintenance.
“That’s our telltale indicator,” said Stacy Sullivan, who serves as corporate fleet manager for the propane, heating oil, gas and diesel provider. “We track the cost of each truck and know to the penny how much each is costing us in maintenance. When a truck hits a certain threshold, we take it out of service.”
Superior Plus Energy Services serves eight northeastern states with a medium-sized fleet of predominantly Class 6 and 7 trucks, along with 50 Class 8 trucks. Sullivan said the company has helped reduce costs by adding more than 70 medium duty Kenworth T370s in the past three years along with 10 Kenworth T680s.
“They are out-performing the other brands of trucks in our fleet, which is why we’re continuing to purchase Kenworths,” he said. “The reliability and how drivers have responded to the trucks have been outstanding as well. And, just as important has been the dealer support we receive from the Kenworth Northeast Group and (executive vice president) Dan Penksa. Dan has been a fantastic partner.”
Stacy Sullivan, corporate fleet manager for Superior Plus Energy Services, is shown with one of the company’s Kenworth T370s.
According to Sullivan, the company exits its busy season in the spring. “From November through April we’re running full out, delivering home heating oil and propane. We can’t afford to have issues with trucks. On some occasions, our trucks are out on the roads making deliveries when others aren’t. The locking differentials we spec on our tandem axle Kenworth T370 tank wagons allow us the extra traction we need for deliveries in snow and slush.”
With 150 bobtails hauling 3,500 gallon propane bottles for residential tank refilling, and 250 tank wagons (with 3,000 to 5,000 gallon tanks) with three and four compartments to haul heating oil, diesel and other mixes, Superior Plus Energy Services is able to effectively serve its residential customers throughout its footprint.
“We don’t put on a lot of miles on each unit – about 15,000 to 20,000 miles per year – but each truck is delivering to about 40 homes a day with propane, and each tank wagon delivers to about 25 customers daily. The trucks are almost always running – powering the PTOs.”
The company also serves commercial accounts and has its fleet of Class 8 day cab tractors haul up to 10,000-gallon gas tankers, and 16,000-gallon propane tankers.
Since Superior Plus Energy Services works with seven different body builders, Sullivan said it’s imperative that the truck and body work hand in glove. “The way Kenworth designs its trucks, and works with our body builders saves us a lot of time and money,” he said. “We have an annual body builder conference and Dan is there to ensure the Kenworths work well with the bodies. Kenworth has enough options to move things around to accommodate the bodies we install. Plus, Dan can spec out our trucks on his laptop, and then work with our body builders in advance to develop the right combination. The end result is it takes less time to install the body – which saves us money – and we get the truck into service much faster.”
The Kenworth T370s are spec’d with the PACCAR PX-9 engine rated at 350 hp and matched to Allison 3000RDS 6-speed automatic transmissions. “The turning radius of the T370 is excellent and the drivers like the comfort the truck offers,” said Sullivan. “Our drivers take a lot of pride in what they drive and they like being behind the wheel of a Kenworth. It’s important to us as a company as well. Image is a big thing in our business. Our name is on the side of the trucks and we want people to know we’re an outstanding company with quality equipment that will make deliveries rain or shine. Our Kenworths tell people a lot about our company.”
The Kenworth T370 is now available with up to 20,000-lb front and 46,000-lb rear axles.
Kenworth is the driver’s truck. See what drivers are saying at www.kenworth.com/drivers.
Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth’s Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth is a PACCAR company.