Heavy Duty Trucking Supplements

Eaton Vocational Transmission News 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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12 VOCATIONAL TRANSMISSION NEWS Roadranger Powerful Partnerships: How Roadrangers Spec the Right Transmission Vocational Roadranger ® expert Brad Cole breaks down how he and the Roadranger team work with feets of all shapes and sizes to tailor the right transmission specs for the job. Q: How do you size up a feet's situation, i.e., the demands on the feet or its drivers? Brad Cole, Roadranger Vocational Expert: It's hard to get onto future business without discussing the old business. So before we go in, we do our homework to understand the customer's business, growth objectives, markets served, etc. Most of our Roadrangers have been in their position for a while, so they have a pretty good feel for the feets. From there, we'll go in, whether it's a cold call or an established relationship, and we meet with the feet or shop manager. We frst review how the current product is performing. We can then explain what's coming down the pipeline and the next drivetrain offerings. But frst, we have to make sure that we have a real good idea of what they currently run and what their expectations are, or if they're trying to go a direction different than what they have in the past. Another thing we have to look at is typical operating conditions and terrain. I'm in the western part of the country, so we deal with mountains. A 13- or an 18-speed is best because it allows the trucks to climb by giving them smaller steps between gear ratios, whereas on the East Coast, typically a 10-speed is a good spec. Q: How are certain needs addressed through specifcations, such as manual or automated, or selecting options like Hill Start Aid? Cole: Driver retention is one of the things that feets tend to struggle with the most — the turnover rate in trucking is tremendous and the cost to train new drivers is a huge expense. So if they can retain who they have and make those guys proftable for them, it's a win/win for everybody. So on our automated products, for example, we have features that aren't available from our competitors. We have automated our former broad range of manual products, thus we have automated transmissions that can go into many types of applications. Whereas our competitors, on the other hand, have smaller offerings and try to force that feet's application to ft the transmission, instead of the other way around. The automated products are particularly good with new drivers or with feets that have "hot seat" operations where a driver is constantly getting into a different truck, which means there's less accountability with the drivers. In those types of applications, the built-in driveline protection and driver safety features make an automated product the only way to go. The feets know that too. It's not a real hard sell for us. They know that when they're dealing with new, inexperienced people with no accountability that the driver- induced failure rates skyrocket. Q: How would certain specs be discussed based on costs? Cole: The frst priority is putting the right product in the application at the best value to the customer. Customers must weigh the advantages and performance of an 18 speed over a lower-cost 10 speed in the markets that the trucks operate. Q: Knowing that feets look to gain a competitive edge, how does that lead you to product recommendations? Cole: Fleets tend to downplay what their trucks are doing, or they may not know exactly how much weight they're going to be hauling. So we have to get the real numbers to make sure we're spec'ing the right product, and really act as an auditor. We go in and look at the trucks, we see where they're going and even ride with drivers. We will give them a candid response. We know these trucks from bumper to mud fap, so we use our expertise and our integrity to get them the right product. Learn more about how the Roadranger network can assist your feet at www.Roadranger.com/expert "If you need to ask [Roadrangers] a question, they always get back to us right away. They have also helped us out with programming the transmissions. They get right in the truck with you and fgure out what needs to be done." – Jerry Bailey, Owner, Bailey Trucking

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