Eager Beaver Sends Salesmen, Dealers Back to School

Wed April 19, 2000 - Southeast Edition
Bonnie Quick



Since its beginning in 1946, Eager Beaver has been one of the premiere manufacturers of quality construction equipment trailers. Eager Beaver has been a the forefront of development of 4.5- to 63-metric-ton (5 to 70 ton) trailers for 53 years. The main 12-acre manufacturing facility operates in Lake Wales, FL, and is headed by CEO Frank Flowers. Parts distribution is located in Mickleton, NJ. Currently, Eager Beaver has more than 200 dealerships in the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America.

Eager Beaver believes strongly in education and dealer support. Dealer education is done in the field, as well as the factory in Lake Wales so that every person involved with the sale and use of the trailers will know basic equipment skills; operations and trouble shooting on technical problems. Recently, the Lake Wales facility hosted a factory school for 40 salesmen and dealers from the United States and South America. They came to the Eager Beaver heavy equipment trailer factory for a tour of the manufacturing plant, hands-on product demos and classroom training. Dealers and salesmen periodically attend classes and on-site demonstrations to insure product knowledge, customer satisfaction and optimal use of safety features.

The morning started with a detailed tour of the facility and presentations of equipment operation. Tom Evans, national sales manager, conducted a tour of the sales office, pointing out a new software system which automated production and allows for approximately 20 standard models to be ordered by computer. This program increases the efficiency of productivity and reduces the lead-time of orders.

Evans continued by reviewing features that come as standard equipment on every trailer, including high-tensile main rails, which are one piece and coldformed without cutting, re-welding or plating. The patented Roto Rings rotates 360 degrees for safer tying down of loads. Heavy-duty axles provide larger springs, spindles and bearings with a heavier suspension and wider brake shoes. Heavy-duty rear ramps are foldable, adjustable and spring assisted for easier lifting. All wheel ABS comes standard on all Eager Beaver air brake trailers. This prevents the wheels from locking up and losing traction, minimizing trailer swing and eliminating tire flat spotting.

Craig Smith, customer service manager for Eager Beaver, has been with the company for eight years. He was a supervisor in the factory for five years working with Lowboys. He took the group out into the yard to instruct on the proper way to detach and re-attach a 50GSL Lowboy, including how to connect and disconnect at adjustable heights or on uneven pavement and terrain. “After an operator becomes proficient in detaching and re-attaching the mechanism, it can be done in approximately one minute,” said Smith. Some of the standard features on the 50GSL Lowboy are air ride suspension, power pact, 24 -foot deck and boomwell cut-out.

The factory tour began with observation of a large crane that maneuvered a solid steel beam into position onto a machine that bent one end to a “V” to form the front of the trailer. One solid piece is bent with a cold process that does not weaken the steel. Cranes rotate the trailers so that all welds can be done flat. All welders are certified, and are required to attend ongoing welding classes to maintain their skills. “Welds vs. bolts give inside and outside reinforcement. The wrap around nose is welded through. You could pull the trailer in two before you would pull off the nose plate because of its strength,” said Smith.

The pride Smith feels is reflected by his comments. “This company has been in business for 53 years and does not make changes just for the sake of making changes. We develop what we have to do for customer safety and needs,” he said.

Currently, the factory manufactures eight Tag-alongs and two lowboy trailers per day. The plant is approximately 40 percent computerized. Smith explained how the firm’s latest acquisition, a new machine called an automatic beam welder, is able to weld both sides of a main beam at the same time. It will weld an entire beam in about 11 minutes.

Christina Flowers, Eager Beaver district sales manager, demonstrated the safety features that are standard on a 20 XPT Easy Loader. Flowers said, “Feature selling is an important part of marketing our equipment. A client needs to be shown the extra value that is built into each trailer.” As with other Eager Beaver trailers, construction starts with a cold from beam solid from front to back. Continuous main rails without a weld to break are stronger at stress points. The nose plate is a wraparound one piece design. The trailer has patented Roto Rings that can rotate 360 degrees and are welded in six places. They are highly rated because most of the stress of a load is taken by the rotating clips, allowing for less strain on chains, binders and equipment. The oak deck is held on the bridge clips and self-locking nuts. Flowers pointed out, “The beauty of this feature is that the decking can be replaced without damaging the trailer and the same clips can be used over again.” Wheel covers are two piece and are designed that way for extra strength. The ramps are assisted by heavy-duty double springs. As on all Eager Beaver trailers, all wheel ABS are standard.

The third demo featured the all wheel ABS system which stops the vehicle in a straight line. This feature allows individual wheels to operate without locking, so they do not lose traction. Trailer swing is minimized during braking in adverse weather conditions and the automatic braking control of individual wheels optimizes stopping distances.

The afternoon provided classroom instruction and printed materials for the dealers and salesmen to round out their training session. Other festivities during the week included a golf tournament at Grenelefe Golf Resort, an awards ceremony, and dinner hosted by Frank and Barbara Flowers.

Eager Beaver has dealerships throughout the United States, Mexico, Central and South America. They also do business in the Middle East and Europe.

For more information call 800/257-8163 or visit www. eagerbeavertrailers.com.