FABCO Expands Capabilities to Meet Customers’ Needs

Sat July 06, 2013 - Midwest Edition
CEG


Troy Webb, parts counterman, places a parts order for a customer.
Troy Webb, parts counterman, places a parts order for a customer.
Troy Webb, parts counterman, places a parts order for a customer. Keith Novotny is the rental manager of FABCO Equipment Inc. Inside the shop of the FABCO Rents store. Jim Boatner, parts department, fixes a hose in the hose assembly room. Greg Eberhardt (L), branch supervisor, and Bob Bruce, western district product support manager. Blake Young, service manager. All equipment must be steam cleaned before entering the service bay area. John Erjavec, territory manager, FABCO Equipment Inc. The FABCO Rents store is located at 2400 Cunningham St., La Crosse, Wis. Jeff Kerske, rental coordinator of FABCO Rents La Crosse, Wis., store. Mark Anibas is the rental specialist of the FABCO rents store in LaCrosse, Wis.

Due to a growth in FABCO CAT’s earthmoving and engine business throughout western Wisconsin, the company has recently expanded its capability to serve the needs of customers throughout western Wisconsin. FABCO’s increased presence in this market includes a new, larger full-service facility and the addition of a FABCO Rents — The Cat Rental Store location.

The two facilities are only about a mi. apart and conveniently located right off Highway 16 in La Crosse, Wis. A new 52,000 sq. ft. FABCO location also will be opening in Eau Claire, Wis. at the beginning of 2014.

The new full-service FABCO facility, which is nearly twice the size of its former La Crosse location, was previously known as The Three Rivers Bus Company. “They serviced the school bus fleet for the city of La Crosse. Once that contract expired, the building became available and we purchased it and converted it into a new FABCO facility” said Bob Bruce, the company’s western district product support manager.

The shop was set up primarily to do maintenance and small repairs on its bus fleet. Because FABCO?had a need to service much larger vehicles, they had to expand the shop doors, install overhead cranes and complete many other significant upgrades to the property.

“Parts availability is one of the hallmarks of the FABCO Caterpillar brand and there was very limited capacity for parts storage; to remedy that we constructed a whole new parts warehouse addition,” said Greg Eberhardt, branch supervisor. “We also revamped the office area to accommodate a parts counter, shop office, conference area and some additional offices.

This facility works on heavy construction and mining equipment, compact construction equipment, industrial engines and generators as well as on-highway trucks. As a hold-over from the facility’s days as a bus service center it even has a unique service bay pit, where technicians can walk underneath a vehicle to perform service — ideal for working on over the road trucks.

The facility also has many other unique features including a special waste oil heater system which uses waste oil to produce heat during the wintertime.

The FABCO Rents facility, which was the original FABCO Equipment Facility, was gutted and remodeled into a fresh new Cat rental store location. “It made good sense to convert our prior location into a new FABCO Rents location,” said Keith Novotny, manager of company-wide rental operations of FABCO. “Demand for rental equipment such as Cat machines, aerial equipment and portable generators has been increasing in western Wisconsin and we want to make sure our customers are taken care of.”

FABCO currently has around 20 employees between its two La Crosse locations and is looking at expanding. Together, the two buildings have 12 acres, seven at the new facility and five at FABCO?Rents.

FABCO’s La Crosse operations needed the increased size and additional capacity to serve contractors in the area. “Increased business in sand mining in the area has also brought increased housing demand and more roadwork, so all the contractors have benefitted from that,” said John Erjavec, territory manager. “We needed to double the size of our full-service facility to better support area contractors. We turned our original store into the new rental facility to service the rental customers who come here on a daily basis looking to acquire the equipment and work tools they need to get their work done. FABCO’s expansion in the area will be a big benefit for the customers all the way around.”

As the exclusive Caterpillar dealer for Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, FABCO sells, rents and services Caterpillar and related products in virtually every sector of the economy. From Caterpillar excavators, dozers and loaders that work in construction, mining and agriculture, to Cat power generation systems used in emergency standby, load management and renewable energy applications, FABCO provides essential products that help improve the quality of life for its communities.

To make sure customers have the parts they need — where and when they need them — FABCO’s interbranch shuttle system logs more than 2,600 mi. each day transporting parts among FABCO’s many branches, more than 45 additional parts drop locations and Caterpillar parts facilities. This system combines the parts inventories of all FABCO locations and Caterpillar’s worldwide parts and distribution system into one huge supply source.