The unparalleled customer commitment that defines Wheeler Fleet Solutions

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Updated Dec 7, 2023
Wheeler Fleet Solutions warehouse

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Few slogans are more identifiable than the unofficial motto of the U.S. Postal Service, which for nearly 250 years has prided itself on delivering messages across the country no matter the conditions. In its infancy, those conditions were met by horses, wagons and eventually railways. USPS began integrating vehicles into its operation more than a century ago and today has more than 235,000 vehicles, making it one of the largest fleets in the world.

And when those vehicles are slowed by snow, rain, heat, darkness or literally anything else, USPS turns to Wheeler Fleet Solutions to get them back on the road.

[RELATED: A quick chat with 2023 Distributor of the Year finalist Wheeler Fleet Solutions]

Headquartered in Somerset, Pa., Wheeler Fleet Solutions is a distributor with no parallel in the independent aftermarket.

For nearly its first 30 years in business, the company existed almost exclusively as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense. It expanded its government fulfillment capabilities to the USPS in 1989, and slowly exited its defense operation in the years that followed to better serve as the USPS’s primary parts distributor.

USPS remains the company’s largest customer in 2023, but over the last decade, President Chad Wheeler says Wheeler Fleet Solutions also has developed e-commerce and commercial fleet sales operations to diversify its capabilities and strengthen its foothold in the aftermarket. The additions have not only bolstered the company’s bottom line but also its industry visibility, and this year helped Wheeler Fleet Solutions be named a finalist for the Trucks, Parts, Service Distributor of the Year Award program for the first time.

Wheeler Fleet Solutions warehouse workerWheeler Fleet Solutions has built an e-commerce business and commercial fleet business to accentuate its offerings across the trucking industry.Wheeler Fleet Solutions

“We had a five-year cultural transformation where we implemented a lot of change in a short amount of time,” says Wheeler. “We went from touching one customer to adding two new revenue streams and suddenly supporting a much larger customer base … . We’ve become much more diverse in what we do and how we serve the [trucking] industry.”

The company’s new business units are both experiencing tremendous growth. Wheeler says its e-commerce business supports its online store and has quickly developed a nationwide customer base. In addition to supporting shops and end-user customers, Wheeler Fleet also serves as fulfillment provider for other online retailers.

In the commercial fleet business, Wheeler says the company leveraged its experience as USPS’s exclusive supplier to introduce specialized fleet management proposals to carries of all shapes and sizes.

Wheeler Fleet Solutions warehouseWheeler Fleet Solutions views itself as a full-service fleet maintenance operator, not just a parts distributor. The company builds its sales messaging around the ability to reduce a carriers parts expenses while also improving uptime.Wheeler Fleet Solutions

“The first two years we spent a lot of time just telling people who we were,” Wheeler says. “We had experience managing a fleet’s parts needs, but because we had been exclusive with USPS, other fleets didn’t really know us.”

[RELATED: How DOTY finalist Freedom Truck & Trailer outservices competition across five states]

Fortunately for Wheeler Fleet Solutions, the complexities of serving USPS positioned the company well for earning new business. Wheeler Fleet Solutions is more than just a parts supplier, Wheeler says, and when it entered the market to earn new business, it pitched itself as such.

“On customer experience, the word that comes to mind there is partner,” he says. “We don’t just look at lowering a customer’s cost for a part. Our goal is to drive all costs down, bring quality up and drive downtime close to zero.”

Expanding rapidly, Wheeler says the company now has more than 400 employees working to support that goal. While most remain located in Somerset, Wheeler says the company has added warehouses in Mississippi in Texas in recent years to support customers nationwide.

Wheeler is proud of the company’s retention rate across those facilities. Wheeler Fleet Solutions was acquired by VSE Corporation last decade, which enhanced the transparency of its compensation plans and career path development opportunities. The company also offers $500 for referrals that bring in new employees and has a long tradition of recognizing, honoring and rewarding associates for career milestones.

“We want to be an employer of choice in our communities,” Wheeler says. 

The 2023 Distributor of the Year program is sponsored by Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network (CVSN), Cummins-MeritorHigh Bar BrandsInterstate Billing Service and Karmak. The Distributor of the Year Award will presented in January at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW). For more on our 2023 award finalists, check back in the coming days or go to our program website.

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