Peterbilt Trucks and PacLease Service Supports Roofing Supplier Growth

If you’re a Seattle-area homeowner or business owner with a steep-pitch rooftop to re-roof and narrow congested neighborhood streets to navigate, chances are you may have run into a roofing supply delivery conundrum.

Steep-pitch roofs don’t offer much room to store roofing supplies for a roofing project. And with few places to park a truck, delivery of roofing supplies in Seattle is tricky business. That’s why many Seattle-area contractors have learned to rely on Stoneway Roofing Supply to get the supplies they need to their job sites.

By using trucks equipped with hay bale-type conveyors and knuckle-jointed cranes, Stoneway developed delivery techniques that precisely deliver roofing materials to the job sites quickly, efficiently and safely.

“Customer service is our number one priority and rooftop delivery excellence our passion,” said Lonnie Peterson, senior vice president for the western division ofSRS Distribution Inc., the parent company of Stoneway Roofing Supply. “Over the years, we have strived to develop the best-in-class rooftop delivery service and often make deliveries when others could not.”

In addition to its flagship Seattle branch location, Stoneway operates four branches within a 100-mile radius of Seattle. Headquartered in Seattle, the roofing supply distributor was started in 1924. It was acquired in 2008 by SRS, one of the fastest growing building products distribution companies in the United States. Peterson is responsible for overseeing fleet operations for 23 locations in the West, which includes the five Stoneway branch locations in Western Washington.

Peterson said choosing the right people and the right equipment makes a big difference and is a competitive advantage in the company’s expert ability to deliver roofing supplies such as asphalt shingles, cedar shakes, ventilation products, skylights and metal roofing systems. For years Stoneway leased its trucks.

“By leasing our trucks, we can focus on what we do best and that is concentrating on providing timely and safe deliveries to our customers, while relying on our leasing provider to maintain the trucks,” he said.

But Peterson said he learned the hard way that not all leasing companies are alike.

“We have a specialized need and many leasing companies offer trucks that are generic in spec’s and not designed specifically for our application,” Peterson said. “Our operation needs trucks that are easy to maneuver, provide adequate power, and hold up well in the punishing urban environment of the Seattle area.”

Since Stoneway sometimes purchases its leased trucks after the lease term is complete, the company also wanted trucks that perform well after the lease term is completed without high maintenance costs.

Peterson said before the company started leasing from PacLease, managers often juggled delivery schedules in order to accommodate maintenance issues that cropped up, with some success. But they knew that it would only be a matter of time before the maintenance and performance issues would eventually start costing the company business.

“The one thing we can not afford is making late deliveries,” Peterson said. “Contractors rely on us to deliver materials on a timely basis. If we’re late, then that means our customers can’t get their work completed on time. If it’s a big job site that receives many deliveries each day, a delay on our part can affect many other deliveries.”

Besides the indirect cost to its reputation, there’s the direct cost of having a truck down due to maintenance issues. Peterson states that the revenue loss is significant if a truck is unexpectedly out of service.

So Peterson said Stoneway started exploring options. Stoneway first started leasing used Kenworth trucks from PacLease’s local franchise, Western Pacific Leasing, in 2004. Western also provided maintenance contracts for some of the company’s other truck models. As Western Pacific Leasing quickly developed a reputation for fast, responsive service, Peterson said Stoneway looked at entering into more full-service leasing contracts with Western.

Peterson said PacLease worked with Western to come up with full-service leasing solutions that allowed Stoneway to order trucks with equipment and features that would work well for the conditions in which the company delivers.

“Rather than offer us cookie cutter trucks, they leased quality trucks built based on what we said we needed. They got to know our business and really took care to provide us with the units that would serve us well into the future,” Peterson said. “Having premium trucks specified for our operation certainly makes our drivers happy as well.”

Stoneway’s holding company, SRS Distribution Inc., now leases four Class 8 models, including a Peterbilt Model 365, a Peterbilt Model 367 and two Kenworth T800s with 450-hp Cummins ISX and 455-hp PACCAR MX engines and manual transmissions for larger loads. The company also leases 14 smaller Class 7 straight trucks from Western, including the Peterbilt Model 320 and the Peterbilt Model 348for the Stoneway Roofing operation and its roofing supply distribution company in Oregon, Roofline Supply and Delivery. The smaller Class 7 straight trucks are equipped with 350-hp PACCAR PX-8 engines and automatic transmissions.

The automatic transmissions make the smaller straight trucks easier to drive, Peterson said. Some of Stoneway Roofing’s straight trucks are equipped with side-mounted engine power take-offs to power 26-foot Hiab knuckle boom cranes and customized Cleasby conveyors. Plus, the knuckle boom crane and conveyor trucks are equipped with PTO sensors, which monitors PTO use and keeps the engine from being overworked. These spec’s allow the trucks to deliver supplies into job sites that can be challenging in which to maneuver because of narrow, crowded streets and overhead wires that power King County Metro trolley buses. The trucks are also specified with enough power to get up and down Seattle’s hills and to navigate stop and go traffic in the Seattle-Puget Sound area with full loads, he added.

“Payload capacity is everything for us,” Peterson said. “The more our trucks can carry, the fewer trips they have to make.”

By leasing trucks through full-service leasing, Stoneway’s parent company, SRS Distribution Inc. doesn’t have to commit financial resources that may be needed for other business requirements. That is attractive for a building products distribution holding company that has more than doubled in size through the economic downturn and recovery by acquiring companies like Stoneway.

“Full-service leasing offers companies like SRS Distribution financial benefits over ownership including a lower net-present value cost and diversified sources of capital,” said Olen Hunter, director of sales for PacLease.

“Additionally, a proposed rule change by the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board may require that lessees report leased assets on their balance sheets,” Hunter said. “With leasing, since the leasing company is responsible for the residual value of the vehicle, the amount the customer has to report will be less than if they purchase the equipment.”