Changes happen fast at Kansas City Freightliner. The company says that’s on purpose.
In the everchanging trucking industry, remaining acutely focused on customer needs and one step ahead of competitors in the dealer market requires the capacity to quickly evolve. It requires not only a willingness to change, but also the desire to do whatever it takes to get better at serving customers.
With its 40th anniversary right around the corner, it’s safe to say Kansas City Freightliner has those qualities in spades.
Purchased by the Westfall-O’Dell dealer group in 1982, Kansas City Freightliner has spent the last three decades growing into one of the most comprehensive dealerships in the Midwest. Today the business employs more than 350 people and provides medium- and heavy-duty truck sales, parts sales and delivery, vehicle service, body shop service, leasing and financing out of six locations in the greater Kansas City area and central and western Missouri.
A Successful Dealer Award finalist for the first time in 2019 (the larger Westfall-O’Dell dealer group earned a prior nomination in 2016), General Manager Mike Westfall says Kansas City Freightliner’s success can be traced to a strong corporate focus on evolution.
Kansas City Freightliner knows how to grow.
“Our dealer group has identified, adapted and been at the forefront of changing market conditions for decades,” he says. “Our decades of industry knowledge base help us to provide invaluable direction for our customers with the goal of making them as successful as possible. We strive to make it as easy as possible to do business with us.”
That commitment can be seen throughout the company.
Kansas City Freightliner is planning to break ground this fall on a new facility as part of the organization’s investment in the business.
In its parts department, KC Freightliner’s stock is 98 percent compliant with Daimler Trucks North America’s (DTNA) RIMpro parts inventory management system. The company also boasts each of its locations are Elite Support certified, with more than 90 percent of its technicians maintaining Professional Level chassis certification on the Freightliner product and more than 60 percent surpassing Expert Level.
Westfall attributes the company’s high standards to a parent dealer group that not only remains involved in its daily operations but also works hard to seek feedback from its associates. And with a large contingent of employees who have been with the company 20 years or more, Westfall says KC Freightliner doesn’t lack for expertise.
“Our owners are involved in the day-to-day business and are accessible to all employees with an open door policy. This leads to quick decision making,” he says, where customers reap the benefits.
“Through our culture of continuous improvement, we believe we provide added value to our customers and their business to put them in the best position with their fleet,” he says.
And KC Freightliner’s commitment to its customers isn’t just found behind the counters in its facilities. The company also invests heavily in all types of customer training, both independently and in conjunction with DTNA, to support its clients. Says Westfall, “Our commitment to our customers focuses on the big picture. We are only as successful as they are.”
Among the dealer’s other investments are training courses led with Freightliner and DTNA at customer request on DTNA Connect, Parts Pro, EZ Wiring, ARC, Vehicle Info and Diagnostic Link.
Additionally, representatives from Kansas City Freightliner frequently travel to customer locations and spend the day doing hands-on training with software. The company boasts it has customers “who save thousands in maintenance costs” by using these programs.
Another newly implemented training program, introduced via Elite Support, is a comprehensive walkaround provided by sales associates for new truck customers to help familiarize them with their new equipment. Westfall says these quick tutorials “can be done one-on-one for an owner-operator, or at a customer’s location with a group of drivers.”
KC Freightliner is expectedly active in its community as well. The dealer is a key sponsor of the diesel technical program at Kansas City Kansas Community College, where Westfall says more than 40 technicians have been trained in three years “at no cost to the student” thanks to the dealer’s generosity.
“Whether these students go on to work for a fleet or dealership, they receive education to be hirable as a technician upon completing the program,” he says.
Other charitable efforts include donations to local food banks, the Kansas City Public School’s annual special education night and an annual donation drive in which associates provide care packages for U.S. military troops overseas.