Contractor David Ceccanti isn't one to mess around.
So when it came time for Ceccanti Inc. to add a new articulated hauler to its fleet, he decided he needed to comparison shop. Side-by-side comparisons are easy if you're talking about coffee pots or computers; not so easy when you're buying a 30-ton truck.
Ceccanti worked with equipment dealers serving the Puget Sound area to put together an aggressive rental program, through which he and his firm's operators could run trucks from top equipment manufacturers sequentially on the same residential development project.
"We spent thousands of dollars on truck rental that we otherwise could have applied to payment on trucks we purchased," said Ceccanti, who is vice president of the firm founded by his brother, Rick, in 1976.
"There's only one way to make a qualified decision," Ceccanti said. "You've got to put each truck to work, side by side, and let the chips fall."
When the dust settled on Ceccanti's job site in suburban Tacoma, it was Volvo's A30D that he said was the last truck standing.
"Once you settle on a truck, you want to stay with that manufacturer because of the service and parts," Ceccanti said. "That's why we did such a stringent test of these trucks and put them through their paces the way that we did."
Those paces included tests of performance, ride and fuel economy.
Ceccanti admits that this wasn't the most convenient –– or most cost-effective –– way to run a job, but said he wanted to make sure that his firm purchased the truck that best suited its needs.
"We spent a lot of money on rentals –– a lot more than if we would have purchased –– because we wanted to make sure that we made the right decision," he said, noting that his firm is also running a second A30D on a rent-to-own program. "We absolutely made the right decision with the A30D."
The backdrop for this test of articulated haulers was a 500- acre residential development in Pierce County, WA, called "Falling Water." Soil conditions were very rocky, comprised mainly of large, round outwashed rock and stone.
According to Ceccanti, the biggest test the trucks faced was climbing while loaded up a steep, 150-ft. incline, with rocky material under foot.
"The Volvo came out of the steep holes faster and with more power than the rest of the trucks," he said.
During that portion of the test, he said, the Volvo A30D demonstrated more power out of the site's steep holes with more power and speed.
"The Volvo was tops in everything from dumping to speed to uptime to ride," he said.
Ceccanti Inc. is a general site contractor, specializing in earthwork, utility work and municipal road reconstruction. Its operations serve the Tacoma area, north to South Seattle. The company employs about 150, which David Ceccanti said is up from about 80 employees in 1999.
Moving More With Less
The contactor's decision to go with the Volvo A30D came down to two main points: more productivity and driver comfort.
"The Volvo simply hauls more," he said, noting that the A30D also averaged better fuel economy.
"We were able to add more yardage to the A30D's payload –– about a half bucket more per load," he said.
Ceccanti also noted that he was impressed by the dump speed of the A30D, which is boosted by Volvo's Load & Dump brake and its faster dump hydraulics. These systems combine to increase productivity and work capacity on loading and dumping sites.
"If we're saving trips, we're saving money and moving material more efficiently," Ceccanti said. "When one truck can do more, like the A30D does, that really boosts our production."
As important as productivity measurements were, Ceccanti said the firm also relied greatly on the input received from its five hauler operators.
"They all wanted the Volvo," he said.
What impressed the operators, among other features, was the comfortable ride the A30D provided.
"The Volvo doesn't beat you up," Ceccanti said. "Our drivers say that they can travel faster on the A30D than they can tolerate on other machines."
Volvo's new suspension system and intuitively configured operator's compartment together create a driver-friendly environment designed to reduce physical stress and maximize productivity.
"The guys told us that suspension and balance of the A30D is far and away better than any of the other trucks they tested," Ceccanti said. "Our operators were more comfortable and they said that design of the cab and hood gave them better visibility."
Dealer Relationship Key
Ceccanti said that it was his relationship with his Volvo dealer, Clyde/West Inc., which ultimately helped make the decision.
'We have confidence in Clyde/West," he said. "They're really with our program."
According to Ceccanti, it was the level of service and support offered by Clyde/West "that really helped them close the deal."
He gives credit to dealer salesman Steve Lessard.
"It's clear that he's in there for the long haul with us," Ceccanti said. "He wasn't just trying to make a quick sale and then move on."
(This story courtesy of Volvo Construction Equipment.)