When three subsidiaries (Century Concrete, Fordyce Concrete and Material Transport) of the largest American-owned cement manufacturer in the country were looking to purchase dependable and reliable trucks several years ago, the choice was Kenworth W900S mixers and Kenworth T800 dump trucks. They haven’t looked back and now operate more than 60 Kenworth trucks.
The decision to go with the Kenworth W900S for its mixer fleet and the Kenworth T800 for its tractor and dump fleet has been a good one, according to Rob Tucker, general manager of Century Concrete, Fordyce Concrete and Material Transport, all subsidiaries of Ash Grove Cement.
“Actually, it’s been better than anticipated. The Kenworth trucks and tractors have far exceeded our expectations,” said Tucker. “What they’ve brought to our company in the form of better productivity, fuel economy, driver acceptance and image has been huge. Our operational savings has allowed us to be more competitive in the marketplace.”
With 10 batch plants in the Kansas City area, delivering to commercial as well as residential job sites, the concrete group is strategically placed around the greater Kansas City area to better serve its customers. Material Transport, the trucking division, was originally developed to handle the cement company’s in-house transportation needs for aggregate and other raw materials, but has expanded and now offers its services to outside companies.
“It’s really fueled our growth,” said Tucker.
According to Tucker, the transformation of its fleet has been like night and day.
“We knew we were getting a quality truck, but what we’ve seen in the trucks’ ability to cut our costs has really been something,” said Tucker. “We’re saving thousands of dollars every month in fuel alone. Our mechanics also say they’re much easier to work on — the wiring package and engine accessibility have made them big fans of the Kenworth product. It’s shortened maintenance and repair times.”
Tucker also stressed that Kenworth resale value factored into the purchase decision.
“We originally went with Kenworth because of the resale value,” said Tucker, who recalls going to an equipment auction several years ago and seeing used Kenworth mixers go for significantly more than the non-Kenworth mixers his fleet was using then.
“It was eye-opening. We had our mixers on a 7-year cycle and we couldn’t get the offers that others were getting for their equipment. We noticed same-year Kenworth mixers receiving all the action. And, getting about $25,000 more than what we were getting.
“The second factor was dealer support — we had to have confidence in the dealer for parts availability and maintenance and warranty work, 7/24. MHC Kenworth has done that and more, going above and beyond to keep our trucks working,” Tucker said.
“Lastly, we needed a truck that had great visibility and trucks that drivers wanted to drive. With their sloped hoods and DayLite doors, Kenworths provide a big difference when it comes to seeing obstacles. Plus, the grabhandles and steps make it easy to get in and out of the trucks. Drivers just love these trucks.”
Tucker also credited Kenworth with helping to drive a little more business their way.
“We felt the trucks would really make our company stand out and improve our image. And they have. Combined with the support we receive from Ash Grove, and the dedication of our hard-working people, it’s a recipe for success.”