Because of the changing needs of shippers, trucking fleets like Mifflintown, Pa.,-based Zimmerman Truck Lines often find it’s better to schedule truck repairs to be completed during their drivers’ rest periods or 34-hour restarts.
“The name of the game is knowing when your trucks will need to be repaired and fitting that work into your fleet’s schedule, not trying to fit your fleet’s schedule around those repairs,” says Thomas Naylor, shop foreman at Zimmerman Truck Lines repair shop.
But with an ever-increasing number of advances in engine and diagnostic technologies each year, Naylor finds some repairs have grown increasingly more complex in nature, requiring technicians with more advanced training to complete them. Zimmerman Truck Lines is a dry van and flatbed carrier operating a fleet of 120 trucks – nearly all Kenworths. Naylor has worked for Zimmerman’s maintenance shop – Zimmerman Truck Repairs, since he was a junior in high school 13 years ago.
Naylor said fortunately for his company, he’s found that the local Kenworth dealer, Kenworth of Pennsylvania in Carlisle, not only offers extended hours to meet the company’s scheduling needs, but also has more technicians on staff certified to work on the PACCAR MX engines that power his company’s Kenworths.
“I particularly welcome the help of master technician Tony Wiser (at Kenworth of Pennsylvania’s Carlisle dealership),” he says. “He is one of the smartest technicians I know. I can call him up with a question and he has the experience and know-how to properly troubleshoot it.”
Frank Miller, executive vice president of Kenworth of Pennsylvania, said like all Kenworth dealers, Kenworth of Pennsylvania has for years provided fleets and operators good service support with trained technicians. But with technological advances in the PACCAR engines, and engine and vehicle diagnostics with Kenworth TruckTech+, the Carlisle, Pennsylvania-based dealer group recently started providing technicians with more continuous advanced education.
Over the past two years, it has invested more than $500,000 on advanced courses for technicians and other employees at its dealer locations, Miller says. That investment has paid off with the first four of its dealerships – Carlisle, Dunmore, New Stanton and Shartlesville, earning certification in Kenworth Gold Certified status, Kenworth’s highest level of dealer service designation.
“Kenworth of Pennsylvania’s dedication in encouraging and supporting technicians to obtain advanced training means we have more PACCAR MX-engine certified mechanics on duty to respond when our customers need that more advanced level of service, not just during regular business hours,” he says. Miller was the lead executive in the company’s effort to earn Kenworth Gold Certified status.
As a result, most of the technicians at its gold certified locations have earned PACCAR MX Engine certification, with a number of them having completed Kenworth TruckTech+ training. When their customers’ trucks are connected to Kenworth TruckTech+ Remote Diagnostics and Service Management System, Kenworth of Pennsylvania can be better prepared for their arrival.
As part of the requirements for attaining Gold Certified status, dealers like Kenworth of Pennsylvania go above and beyond industry standards by providing rapid diagnosis and estimated repair time within two hours or less, along with a whole range of other premium services. These other premium services include extended evening and weekend operating hours – a total of 93 hours weekly at each location, large parts inventories with guaranteed in-store stock of PACCAR MX engine parts and TRP aftermarket parts, a comfortable and productive driver’s lounge, and Roadside Assistance.
Naylor says his company greatly benefits from the rapid response times, particularly with warranty work, and he likes how Kenworth of Pennsylvania uses Kenworth TruckTech+ to constantly monitor his company’s trucks.
“Even though I also have access to the PACCAR Solutions web portal through my smartphone, in some cases, I’ll first hear about alerts from someone at Kenworth of Pennsylvania in Carlisle,” he says. “They’ll offer to help us troubleshoot them to determine if we need to deal with the situations immediately, or if we can hold off until the truck has completed its delivery before we bring it in for servicing.”
Parts availability and rapid delivery also go a long way in helping his shop provide the company’s fleet and the shop’s other fleet customers with fast and responsive service.
“We get a visit from our parts representative – Kurt Kauffman twice a week, plus Frankie (Frank Miller was the company’s parts representative when Naylor stated working at Zimmerman in 2004) and Frankie’s son, Teague, often brings us parts on his way home whenever we need them. I find that we can almost always get our parts delivered that same day or the next day, particularly after the PACCAR Parts distribution center in Lancaster (Pennsylvania) opened a few years ago.”
Naylor says he’s heard his company drivers express gratefulness for the new driver’s lounges at all four of its Gold Certified dealer locations.
“They tell me that having that comfortable space to relax or complete their paper work while their trucks are being serviced is very much valued. Our drivers also like how focused everyone at Kenworth of Pennsylvania is in getting them back on the road and making money. That goes a long way in helping us maintain driver satisfaction, which is absolutely essential for our company if we’re going to retain our best drivers.”