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INDUSTRY NEWS: NOVEMBER 2015

MORGAN OLSON LLC ANNOUNCES THE OPENING OF A WALK-IN VAN MANUFACTURING FACILITY

Morgan Olson LLC, owned by J.B. Poindexter & Co., Inc., is opening a new walk-in van manufacturing plant in Loudon, Tennessee. Morgan Olson is headquartered is Sturgis, Michigan and currently builds delivery trucks for UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service, among others. The company initially plans to employ 400 workers, but could grow to 500 or more.
“You see our products every day,” says Mike Ownbey, Morgan Olson’s president and COO. “Our walk-in vans are used by package delivery industry giants UPS and USPS, as well as independent FedEx ground contractors. Baking and snack food, Uniform and Laundry, Utility service trucks, and even newspaper delivery and beverage delivery use Morgan Olson walk-in vans; the driver-to-cargo area and cargo-to-curbside design improves delivery efficiencies and drivers safety over cab forward delivery trucks, which require drivers to step into busy traffic lanes, slowing their deliveries. We’ve reached the full production limit of our Michigan facility and with Morgan Olson walk-in vans in demand, we needed to grow.”
Ownbey adds, “Our entire leadership agreed this location is perfect! Tennessee provides geographical advantages by positioning Morgan Olson very close to one of our largest chassis suppliers, Freightliner Custom Chassis. The Tennessee location also lowers our delivery costs to our east coast customer base.”
“This new facility will feature the most efficient manufacturing technologies available. We’re improving our overall production capabilities, while maintaining Morgan Olson on-time quality. We have over 300,000 sq-ft of production area at this new Tennessee plant and we plan to make every square foot functional, efficient, and safe,” concludes Ownbey.
According to Ownbey, the new Tennessee plant will also help the team members in Michigan who have worked a great deal of hours to keep up with customer demand while Morgan Olson Michigan grew to its plant limits. The entire staff at Morgan Olson maintains a companywide belief that it’s only as good as the next truck it builds.
Morgan Olson LLC will be holding a job fair November 5, 2015 at the new facility in Loudon (9600 Corporate Park Drive) from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm for the filling of over 400 open job positions. The company posted key salaried positions on the Morgan Olson website www.morganolson.com.
Featured Image: Mr. John Poindexter, owner of Morgan Olson and president, chairman and CEO of J.B. Poindexter & Co., Inc. lifts the scissors used to cut the ribbon of the new Morgan Olson plant opening in Loudon, Tennessee. Joining Mr. Poindexter was the governor of Tennessee, Mr. Bill Haslam, and the president/COO of Morgan Olson LLC, Mr. Mike Ownbey.

GOLIGHT REVEALS NEW GXL 4211 OFF-ROAD LAMP

Golight, Inc., a world leader in pan & tilt remote-controlled lighting technology, displayed its new GXL 4211 Off-Road Lamp for the first time at the 2015 SEMA Show. The lamp’s rugged form was inspired by, and emulates, the look of today’s off-road tires. The bezel of the GXL 4211 Off-Road Lamp features six air induction ports that enhance its thermal management capabilities, promoting product longevity. The lamp’s optics are specially engineered for environments unique to off-road driving. The plano-convex (P-Vex) lens controls the light generated by the lamp’s seven high-output LEDs, creating a 130,000-candela beam with a 12-degree angle. The polycarbonate lens is protected by an integrated brush guard grill with four cross members. The bezel, grill, air intake ports, and housing of the lamp are all made of a highly durable, impact-resistant nylon material.

COOPER TIRE ANNOUNCES NEW ROADMASTER FLEET SERVICE NETWORK

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company announces its new Roadmaster Fleet Service Network, offering 24/7 emergency roadside tire replacement and repair for eligible commercial trucking fleets. “With fleets, it’s all about being operational around the clock,” said Gary Schroeder, Cooper’s director of commercial vehicle and OEM sales for Roadmaster. “Our new emergency roadside service keeps our customers rolling day and night. Not only are we introducing the new Roadmaster Fleet Service Network, but we have also invested in a sales and field engineering team focused exclusively on the commercial trucking business.”
www.coopertire.com

RUAN TRANSPORTATION, SEARCY TRUCKING NAMED 2015 VOLVO TRUCKS SAFETY AWARDS WINNERS

The 2015 Volvo Trucks Safety Awards winners were announced at the American Trucking Associations Management Conference & Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The winners, Ruan Transportation Management Systems and Searcy Trucking Limited, were honored for exemplary safety records and training programs. Each company received $25,000 for future safety initiatives. The Volvo Trucks Safety Award program recognizes the outstanding safety performance of North American fleets and is open to all U.S. and Canadian motor carriers operating at least five Class 8 units—at least one of which must be a Volvo model. Winners are selected based on their accident frequency rates—using the U.S. Department of Transportation definition of a recordable accident—as well as their safety and accident prevention programs.

TRANSPORTATION GROUPS LOBBY FOR CONGRESS’ HELP FOR INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING

The American Trucking Associations, International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association, the American Association of Port Authorities, AAA, and over 60 other groups are again urging Congress to advance a six-year highway bill before funding for infrastructure programs expires at the end of this month. The groups represent the construction industry, freight distributors, and safety and infrastructure proponents. While the chairman of a House transportation panel claimed to take up a multilayer bill by early Oct, the Senate already advanced a six-year transportation bill that is proposed to fund highway programs for three years. On Sept 11, the groups wrote in a letter to Congress stating that “The US economy and all Americans require a surface transportation infrastructure network that can keep pace with growing demands. A six-year federal commitment to prioritize and invest in our aging infrastructure and safety needs is essential to achieve this goal.” So far, only short-term bills for funding have been passed.

TRUCK MODIFICATIONS RAISE MAJOR TAX ISSUES

When it comes to performing or receiving modifications to truck chassis, tax questions are frequent. When should companies charge tax, who will pay the IRS, and which modifications fall into the federal excise tax (FET) category? This issue is especially blurred when the modifications affect a truck’s GVWR. Modifications such as adding a lift axle to a truck chassis or changing an existing axle to accommodate heavy equipment can fall into either of the following FET categories—parts and accessories or further manufacture. According to the IRS, adding a part or accessory to a truck chassis within the first six months is an FET-taxable event; however, regardless of the time-frame, the IRS considers something like modifying a lift axle further manufacture for FET purposes. In the end, the truck chassis owner is primarily responsible for paying FET, whether a customer or truck dealer.

LOWER GVWR DOESN’T TRANSLATE TO LESS RESTRICTIONS

The stringent driver requirements for commercial vehicles exceeding 10,000 lbs can lead to consumers seeking a lower gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Trucks with a 10,000 lbs GVWR or less, however, have to put up with more FMVSSs—as many as 42 compared to the 25 for trucks exceeding 10,000 lbs GVWR. Furthermore, vehicles with a 10,000 lbs or less GVWR have limitations that vehicles of a higher GVWR don’t, including the type of equipment that can be installed. In order to get the right vehicle for the job, make sure to conduct a payload analysis, perform horizontal and vertical weight distribution calculations, and review emission certification constraints for specific chassis. Restrictions caused by Phase One—a greenhouse gas requirement in place for 2016 year models—can reduce body and equipment choices based on EPA testing requirements.

NEW YEAR MODEL LAUNCHES CAN MAKE BIG WAVES FOR OEMs

September saw the introduction of new year model vehicles. During launch time, changes associated with the new models can affect body and equipment installation. Most of the time, OEMs will give body and equipment manufacturers computer-aided drafting (CAD) data, distributed through application engineering groups. The SEMA Tech Transfer is an example of how companies are trying to minimize reverse engineering during this process. There are various companies and CAD software that OEMs can work with for expedited and efficient data exchange; however, with all the companies to choose from, it is a rare case for a large OEM company to make the switch. Daimler AG –Mercedes’ decision to make the move in 2010—with the completion slated for 2016—shows just how lengthy the process can take.

VOLVO’S VISTA COMPETITION IS IN FULL SWING

Volvo Trucks North America is holding its 2015-16 Volvo International Service Training Award (VISTA) competition. VISTA involves teams from 93 countries and assesses such skills as teamwork and knowledge in key customer service driven areas. VISTA competitors will consist of two- to four-person teams from aftermarket areas including parts, service, and warranty administration. From Sept-Feb, the North American region teams will undergo three rounds of theoretical tests focusing on knowledge of systems and procedures. The top-scorers in each region are set to face off in a hands-on competition in March 2016, which will take place in Greensboro, NC. The top three teams from that segment of the competition will head to Gothenburg, Sweden, to compete for the VISTA World Championship. “VISTA highlights the best of the best and provides a great opportunity for training and continuing education,” says GÖran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America.

NEW OX BODIES TRAILER IS THE RIGHT FIT FOR THE LARGE DEBRIS REMOVAL PROCESS

Ox Bodies, Inc., a leading designer, manufacturer, and installer of medium- and heavy-duty dump bodies and trailers, announces the addition of the Scrap Trailer to its Trail Ox series. The Scrap Trailer proves efficient in residential and commercial demolition projects with large debris, including concrete, brick, asphalt, and stone. The Hardox steel constructed Scrap Trailer has a capacity of up to 60-cubic yards. Available in lengths up to 40 feet with side and end heights up to 72 inches, the Scrap Trailer features a frameless design, a standard front-mount hoist, and a swing-gate style tailgate. The trailer’s configurations versatility allow it to meet specific hauling need. As with all Trail Ox series trailers, the Scrap Trailer is backed by a two-year warranty.

2015’s Second Quarter shows Heavy Decrease in Fleet Failures

Trucking failures fell by nearly 90 percent in 2015’s second quarter compared with last year. According to Donald Broughton, an Avondale Partners analyst, fleets that failed pulled 995 trucks off the road between April and June. There are several contributing factors, one of which is the six-year low in fuel prices, which allowed fleets to bill customers for fuel surcharges that are higher than the price actually paid later for diesel. Increased driver pay in response to the driver shortage and increased demand had a positive effect, as well. As carriers boost pay, often twice in one year, they can attract enough drivers for trucks that otherwise would have been unseated. Future period failures are uncertain due to the unclear effects of regulatory changes, such as electronic logging devices, which could curtail capacity.

UPS ADDS HYBRID ELECTRIC DELIVERY TRUCKS TO THE FLEET

2016 will see UPS hybrid-electric delivery trucks in Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. UPS, Inc. recently added 125 of the hybrid trucks as part of a program to deploy electric-powered vehicles with longer range and performance. UPS, who began using hybrid-electric vehicles in 1998, says the trucks will deliver fuel economy equivalency gains of up to four times that of a gas-powered vehicle. While UPS works with its suppliers to develop next-gen zero-emissions trucks, it is also collaborating with Workhorse Group Inc.—the company that manufactures UPS’ hybrid trucks—to develop a more intelligent electric truck. “These vehicles are a bridge to the delivery trucks of tomorrow,” says UPS’ senior vice president of global engineering and sustainability, Mark Wallace. The initiative—part of UPS’ Rolling Laboratory program—seeks to optimize the use of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.StoryStopper-Icon
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