In today’s competitive environment, two things separate successful fleets from the unsuccessful ones: creativity and collaboration. Fleets and fleet management companies have always expected a high level of fit, finish, and quality from their equipment providers. But more and more, they look for creative suppliers who can work in a partnership to reduce fleet costs and increase operator productivity.
When three companies work together toward a common goal to design and prove unique solutions, everyone wins.
Element Fleet Management in Sparks, Maryland, works with some of the largest fleets in the nation and has partnered with Roy Jorgensen and Associates for many years. Jorgensen’s operators handle incident response on busy highways, and Jorgensen is required by contract to have people and equipment on the scene just minutes after an event. It’s an absolutely essential function to keep turnpikes and interstates running smoothly and one that commuters and road warriors often take for granted.
Jorgensen commits to responding to an accident scene with a detailed list of safety equipment and supplies needed by stranded motorists. The service bodies Jorgensen was using did not help store or identify that equipment on the truck—a major problem.
Joining forces during a business review, Element and EBY teams discussed ideas on how to provide Jorgensen with a better truck body solution. For example, could the operator be made more nimble and productive while reducing cost? How can Jorgensen’s lightning-quick responses be accelerated to ever-changing road conditions so that the business can grow?
Featured Image: The final version of the body built by EBY and installed by Jorgensen’s fleet team improved ergonomics for operators and cut acquisition costs.
Above: EBY innovations included tool boxes with gull-wing lids to allow the operator to work close to the vehicle in traffic. CAD renderings included chassis drawings imported from OEM STP files to insure great fit.
Enter the design engineers at EBY Truck Bodies. As part of a due diligence process, Element asked EBY engineers to ride along with Jorgensen drivers to understand their challenges. Reporting back to Element and Jorgensen, EBY engineer, Andy Derr, noted that the service body Jorgensen used resulted in a lot of unused space and that Jorgensen operators had difficulty in storing and accessing equipment. In addition, opening the doors pushed drivers away from the truck and closer to traffic, a serious safety issue.
EBY worked on solutions. The team designed tool boxes with gull-wing lids that allow operators to access tools while staying close to the vehicle. Also designed, a spring-fed cone stowage device that offers a convenient place to stow and access cones. And, they laid out a footprint for required tools and equipment, including bracket holders for specific fluid tanks. Drivers can quickly see if they have the supplies they need to respond to an incident and can reach those supplies easily.
The process from a clean sheet of paper to a prototype was collaborative and quick. After the ride-alongs, EBY provided drawings to Element and Jorgensen and got additional feedback from operators. That information was incorporated to new designs, and John McPherson, vice president for Jorgensen, green-lighted building a prototype. After review of the prototype, MacPherson directed EBY to make some minor adjustments and approved production as the new body for the Jorgensen fleet. The entire process took about four months.
“We loved the process of working with Jorgensen and Element, and we’re gratified that they’re happy with the results,” says Charlie Horton, vice president of Truck Body Sales at M.H. EBY. “Creativity and collaboration are essential to a successful fleet partnership.”
The project succeeded on many levels: 1) Jorgensen drivers benefitted by getting a vehicle better suited to their job demands, 2) Element demonstrated its commitment to fleet efficiency by providing the Jorgensen fleet with new options, and 3) EBY displayed a combination of creativity and technology that provided significant change and real results.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charlie Horton is the vice president of Truck Body Sales for M.H. EBY, Inc., a custom aluminum truck body manufacturer based in southeastern Pennsylvania with facilities in Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and South Dakota. An industry veteran, he has more than 25 years of experience in selling capital equipment to regional and national truck fleets.