When talking about growth, Adam Jensen smiles and says, “We’ve had double digit growth for three straight years, and the last two have been the best we’ve ever had. We’re on pace to break $78 million in revenue in 2016.”
As the CFO of Midwest Floor Coverings, Jensen says controlling transportation costs and the revamping of their fleet will contribute even further to the company’s success. Midwest Floor Coverings is a wholesale distributor of carpet, cabinets, countertops, and installation supplies with five branch locations and three distribution hubs – in Denver and Boise – in addition to its 300,000 square-foot warehouse and office facility in Salt Lake City.
“We’re well-known for the quality of our products and we feel we’ve taken another step forward in mirroring that reputation with our new Peterbilt 579s,” says Jensen. “But, it’s more than that. We’ve been moving from an aged fleet with high maintenance costs to a fleet that is the best in the business. Moving from ownership to a fleet of Peterbilts, leased from PacLease, is allowing us to do that – and it makes sense for our bottom line.”
According to Jensen, a white paper from an independent source turned his head about how cost-effective leasing could be. “Being a finance person and CPA, numbers are important, and when Jackson Group Peterbilt (the local PacLease franchise) provided a quote, along with spec’s for a custom Peterbilt with full maintenance, it really made sense for our operation. We entertained quotes from other leasing companies, but PacLease was dialed in on our specs while the others were not as flexible. The trucks were exactly what we wanted for our operation – they’re powered with the PACCAR MX-13 engine with 500 hp – which is what we need for the mountainous terrain of the Utah and Denver areas. We even had our drivers provide some ideas on spec’ing, including the choice of running 13-speed manual transmissions instead of automatics. I drive a desk, so I was outvoted. But we did want their involvement in how the trucks were spec’d.”
The first round with PacLease was for seven Peterbilt 579 day cabs, with four serving Salt Lake City, two in Denver, and one in Boise. “We plan to move our remaining six tractors to PacLease once those have aged-out,” says Jensen. “From an operational standpoint, the trucks are getting better fuel economy. We’ve seen more than a 20 percent improvement in miles per gallon over the trucks the 579s replaced. Our top driver is getting close to 8 mpg with his Peterbilt.”
And, driver acceptance has been nothing short of stellar. “They love the ride, the power, and the look,” says Jensen. “They take a lot of pride in what they drive. Peterbilt is top of the line. We know these trucks are making a difference in keeping our drivers happy and it helps in our retention rates. The drivers in our other trucks can’t wait till more 579s join our fleet.”
Prior to the trucks being placed into service, the president of Midwest Floor Coverings took the extra step of sending his drivers to Dallas. “We told them the company was sending them to Dallas for driver training, but what we did was take them over to the Peterbilt manufacturing facility in nearby Denton,” Jensen says. “They got to see our trucks being built. That was so impressive and it really showed how much care and quality went into building each truck. We felt it gave our drivers a sense of ownership. They got to see how ‘their trucks’ were being built.”
Hauling 53-foot curtain-side trailers to more than 3,000 accounts, drivers normally run a 400-mile radius around Midwest Floor Coverings’ distribution centers. The trucks make numerous stops – delivering loads to large home builders, universities and hospitals. The company also delivers to retail flooring companies.
While on-time deliveries are the norm with the new trucks, accurate budgeting and cost control are as well. “Before we were having major episodes with our trucks, seemingly every other month,” recalls Jensen. “That cost us in downtime, plus having to find a rental when a truck was in the shop for an extended period of time. We could not accurately budget for maintenance expenses. Now, we’re paying for the use of the new Peterbilts. So instead of spending money on maintenance we’re spending the same money on delivering our products with new, reliable equipment. And, we’re doing it with smiles on the faces of our drivers.”