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strategy drive

Special Edition 2011


4 Secrets to Success

New-school technology and old-school business make a powerful combination.

6 Better Safe than Sorry

Reduce costs and assure the safety of your drivers with pre- and post-trip inspections.

10 Reliability Rules

For Atech Logistics, success is a matter of quality service, the right people and Peterson support.

12 Driving Fuel Economy

The fastest way to improve fuel efficiency is to help your drivers become better at what they do.

14 Just What You Need

Ordering trucks built to specific needs can maximize productivity and improve your bottom line.



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Management Message

WELCOME TO PETERSON TRUCKS! Peterson Trucks is the new authorized International dealer in the Bay Area. As the Vice President and General Manager of Peterson Trucks, I want to welcome you to our business and provide you with an overview of our company. ®

Peterson was founded in Northern California in 1936 by Howard Peterson, a young entrepreneur who eventually grew his company into a West-Coast powerhouse, providing equipment and services to contractors throughout much of California. Today, Howard’s grandson, Duane Doyle, runs the Peterson family of companies, a group of six businesses serving over 100,000 square miles of the American West. Amidst tractor, machinery and power systems, trucking has been a part of Peterson for some time; in fact, we’ve sold and serviced rigs of all sizes since the 1970s. The truck business is a growing part of our family, and with our newly formed partnership with International, we plan to deliver the level of customer service and satisfaction that makes Peterson the company it is today. John Krummen poses with Peterson’s ® first official International trucks outside Peterson Trucks in San Leandro.

Those of you who have worked with us over the years know that our goal isn’t to simply sell product; we offer a life-long relationship focused on creating value for our customers and helping them succeed—whatever road they’re on. And as our greatest and most coveted asset, you deserve the best possible product and service available. That is precisely why Peterson and International are a perfect fit. This partnership has brought together two proud, all-American companies that have been industry leaders for decades, providing you not only with superior product, but also the customer service you deserve. Our staff is always researching new solutions for the challenges you face, from the impact of CSA driver inspection regulations to fleet management best practices. Peterson University, our fully equipped, state-of-the-art training facility, can deliver these solutions to members of your staff, enabling you to be more productive, satisfy your customers’ needs and increase overall profitability. Peterson’s longevity can be attributed to its emphasis on parts, shop and field service, sales of new and used equipment, rental, financing, training and customer support. And through our partnership with International, Peterson Trucks will carry on our tradition of strategy, innovation, and teamwork by offering you the very best solutions to both your short- and long-term needs. On behalf of the entire Peterson Trucks team, we’d like to thank you for your support and welcome you to our new International dealership. Sincerely,

John Krummen Vice President & General Manager Peterson Trucks 2 STRATEGY DRIVE

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strategy drive


Special Edition 2011

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4 Family Ties

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The old-school way of doing business—with a handshake and a smile—will never go out of style at family-owned Lange Trucking.


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6 Starting, Ending Smart

Pre- and post-trip inspections can reduce operating costs and help improve the safety of your drivers.

10 At Your Service

For Atech Logistics, success is a matter of hiring the right people and providing quality service.


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12 Getting More Mileage

The fastest way to improve fuel efficiency is to help your drivers become better at what they do.

14 Just What You Needed

Customizing your truck to meet your specific needs will improve your bottom line, often with little expense up front.

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rt This Special Edition of strategy drive™ is published by Peterson Trucks in cooperation with High Velocity Communications Inc. Every effort has been made to ensure specifi cations and information presented herein are accurate. Because specifications are subject to change without notice, check with Peterson Trucks for the latest information. ©2011 Peterson Trucks. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.


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Customer Profile

Old-School Spirit Lange Trucking builds company one relationship at a time


ometimes, when you want things done right, you have to do them the old-school way, says Bobby Lange, vice president of Lange Trucking. But there’s definitely a place for new-school technology. Take planning the most efficient haul routes, for instance. When Bill Lange Sr. started Lange Trucking in 1979, Bobby would hop into a truck and drive the route to figure out how long it would take and how much fuel the driver would use. Now, the Oakland, Calif.-based company relies on sophisticated software programs to calculate the best routes.

F “Now everything is done in a blink of an eye. You know that if your truck isn’t moving, it’s not making money and the driver’s doing something wrong,” he says. “Now with all the information we can get from software, I can see what one of our trucks in Boise, Idaho, is doing, from how fast it’s going to its fuel pressure, engine temperature and whether the driver’s making hard stops. All of that information is at your fingertips.”

Technology has helped Lange Trucking save money on fuel—still the biggest cost for the company—and work hours. Lange says the company trimmed 600 hours of labor a week based on the information gleaned from the data. That’s made the company, which specializes in hauling mail for the U.S. Postal Service in 13 Western states much more efficient and profitable. With a fleet of more than 170 trucks, 230 trailers and 450 employees, efficiency is key, Lange says. Still, the old-school way of doing business—with a handshake and a promise—will never go out of style at the family-owned company, Lange says. “Information technology, software programs, hardware programs, all the latestgreatest technology doesn’t take the human factor out,” Lange says. “In our business, we need people—employees and suppliers alike—we can count on. Because our customers are counting on us.”

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“Peterson does business the oldschool way. They’re honest, they do a fantastic job and they are there when you need them. They always have been.” -Bobby Lange, vice president, Lange Trucking

From the Ground Up Bobby Lange says his dad, Bill, is as old school as you can get. He started in the business as a wrench and worked his way up to foreman and eventually director of operations for a trucking firm. Then he decided to strike out on his own. “I remember sitting at the kitchen table and dad telling us that we were going to mortgage everything to the hilt and we’re going to start a business,” recalls Bobby, who was in high school at the time. “We had a lot of fun, but it was a lot of hard work, too. My dad was here seven days a week, morning, noon and night. He would be here when the first truck went out and he would be here when the last truck came back in.” Twan Lange, Bill’s wife, took care of the books and Bobby and his older brother, Bill Jr., worked whenever they could around school schedules. Later, their sister Lisa joined the company. As the company grew, Bill Sr. was able to step back from day-to-day operations. Now, Lisa runs the finance department, Bill Jr. runs operations and Bobby oversees the equipment and service shops. But Bill Sr. still keeps an eye on the business. “My dad’s always been a workaholic, he still is,” he says. “But he’s been letting us—I say letting us— run day-to-day operations for about 15 years, but I can tell you that he’s always offering his opinion.” Bobby Lange acknowledges family-run businesses can hit road bumps, especially as they grow beyond their original scope. But Lange Trucking has avoided that pitfall. “I’ve been around long enough to know that family businesses can be a struggle. In our business, we all work for a common goal,” he says. “We get along so well it’s kind of sickening—we even vacation together. We are closer now than we have ever been.” Through Thick or Thin That close relationship has helped Lange Trucking weather the ups and downs of the industry and gives them a better appreciation for products they can trust, like International trucks. They make up a big chunk of the Lange fleet for a couple of simple reasons: They last and his

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drivers love them. When Bobby needed to update the fleet to meet more stringent air-quality regulations, he investigated lots of truck manufacturers. He even went to see the International production line in action. He was impressed. “We bought that product not because of a sales job, but because we took a long hard look at it,” he says. “We tested it by letting some of the old drivers and some of the new guys drive them and everything was a positive response. When we looked at the trucks in the marketplace, we found that dollar for dollar, International trucks are a far superior product. “I used to think International was a truck for back East, just a work dog, nothing fancy,” he says. “You know what? It’s still a work dog, but it’s got all the bells and whistles now. And drivers just love them.” Another key relationship for Lange Trucking is with Peterson Power Systems. They’ve been doing business together since Lange started his business. While Bobby Lange has tried other trucks and other engines over the years, he’s come back to Peterson for one simple reason: Trust. “If we have a truck break down out on a run, we’ll get that truck back here to have Peterson work on it,” he says. “The reason is, I’m leery about what others are going to do with that motor, I’m leery about what they’re going to charge me, I’m leery about what kind of job they’re going to do, but I can count on the people at Peterson.” That’s because Peterson hasn’t forgotten how to treat its customers, Lange says. “They know that we’re a mail hauler and part of my business is service and reliability. If I have units breaking down I have to remedy that somehow, some way. And Peterson gets that. They go the extra mile,” he says. “Peterson does business the old-school way. They’re honest, they do a fantastic job and they are there when you need them. They always have been.”

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5/26/11 3:51 PM

Regulations Update

Conforming to FMCSA Regulations While reducing operating costs with pre- and post-trip inspections By Paul Backers


ith the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) recent implementation of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) system, many commercial truck fleet managers and owners are concerned over the implications of a measurement system with guidelines that are easier to enforce. With more detailed regulations regarding owner and driver accountability, out-of-service criteria, and more FMCSA intervention, some motor carriers are having difficulty meeting these guidelines. While CSA is not really tougher than its predecessor, the SafeStat program, its regulations are more clearly defined and therefore more enforceable. Its guidelines concerning driver violations are particularly detailed. In an effort to foster a more proactive approach to public safety, CSA introduced an intensive system that classifies driver-related problems into multiple categories. This places an emphasis on driver responsibility, which was often overlooked under SafeStat. Because driver violations are now a significant factor in the calculation of a company’s safety score, a motor carrier’s drivers are integral in achieving success under CSA.

owners reduce operational costs as well. CSA’s emphasis on preventative vehicle maintenance is particularly beneficial to motor carriers. Driver pre- and post-trip inspections are an indispensible aspect of preventative maintenance. Because drivers are “in a position to detect vehicle deficiencies and refer them to maintenance for repairs,” they are instrumental in ensuring that their vehicles remain in safe operating condition. The implementation of routine pre- and post-trip inspections allows motor carriers to promote a culture of safety, reduce driver and company citations, maintain a satisfactory safety score, and identify maintenance problems before they become needlessly expensive. The Push for Safer Roads While federal and state government regulations helped dramatically decrease commercial vehicle accidents since the 1970s, rates have been flat for the last decade. To improve accident rates (and to more efficiently allocate resources that are becoming increasingly limited in the current economic climate),

Required pre- and post-trip inspections also facilitate driver accountability, which enables managers to pinpoint where and when problems begin. While CSA can mean more citations for driver and equipment violations—and more audits and trucks pulled out of service as a result—it is important to keep in mind that the new regulations are not only designed to promote a safer system, they can help fleet managers and

the FMCSA implemented the CSA program in December 2010. By placing a greater emphasis on driver responsibility, FMCSA remedies a major problem with the SafeStat program. The incorporation of roadside inspection results into the Safety

Measurement System allows the FMCSA to use state law enforcement as a means of data collection. This means that the FMCSA does not have to rely primarily on audit data as they did under SafeStat. Instead of using their limited resources to monitor an entire industry, they can use roadside inspection results to perform targeted audits. The ability of the FMCSA to perform allows regulators to gain a wider perspective on the industry. Carriers who continue to push their hours of service, have poor maintenance practices, and place immediate cost over safety— regardless of the size of their organizations—can be dealt with appropriately. In short, the intention of CSA regulations is


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Routine inspections create a sense of driver responsibility, reduce citations, promote a satisfactory safety score and reduce maintenance costs.

to help the FMCSA more quickly and accurately identify motor carriers with serious safety violations so that time and resources can be allocated appropriately. By targeting carriers that exhibit severe and persistent violations, the FMCSA can reduce operational costs while preventing commercial vehicle accidents caused by negligence on the part of both drivers and motor carriers. BASICs The calculation of the CSA’s Driver Safety Measurement Score is accomplished through the categorization of driver-related safety problems. While SafeStat lumped these problems into a single group, CSA introduces Behavior Analysis

and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). These categories “quantify the on-road safety performance of carriers and drivers to identify candidates for interventions, determine the specific safety problems that a carrier or driver exhibits, and … monitor whether safety problems are improving or worsening.” In short, CSA’s BASICs allow the FMCSA to identify the motor carriers that exhibit the most severe and persistent violations and to intervene via warning letters and audits. CSA BASIC’s include seven categories of safety measurement: ❱ Unsafe driving ❱ Fatigued driving (hours-of-service) ❱ Driver fitness ❱ Controlled substances/alcohol

❱ ❱ ❱ ❱

Vehicle maintenance Cargo-telated Crash indicator The Vehicle maintenance BASICs

The Vehicle Maintenance BASICs places much of the responsibility for operating a safe vehicle in the hands of drivers. Regulations state that a vehicle may not be operated until the driver is satisfied that it is safe. A routine inspection would include an examination of service brakes, parking brake, steering mechanism, lighting devices, tires, horn, windshield wipers, mirrors, coupling devices and any other system that could affect overall vehicle safety. While it seems that frequent


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Regulations Update inspections of so many systems would be time consuming, routine pre- and post-trip inspections will ultimately save a motor carrier both time and money. While adherence to all seven BASICs can prevent accidents and protect carriers from the costly lawsuits, the Vehicle Maintenance BASICs also help carriers reduce operational costs. By implementing mandatory pre- and post-trip inspections, fleet managers can: ❱ Create a culture of safety that promotes driver responsibility and accountability ❱ Attract quality drivers to their business ❱ Minimize citations ❱ Reduce the number of trucks pulled out of service for safety issues ❱ Lower insurance bills ❱ Improve company standing with shippers ❱ Limit downtime for repairs ❱ Reduce repair bills ❱ Lower fuel costs Making Safety a Priority When fleet managers require inspections on vehicles pre- and post-trip, they communicate to drivers that safety is a company priority. If a driver’s day begins and ends with an inspection that assesses vehicle safety, adherence to CSA regulations becomes part of a daily routine. Furthermore, when drivers know that their company actively promotes safety, they are more inclined to follow regulations throughout their entire workday. In this regard, mandatory preand post-trip inspections can not only reduce maintenance citations, but other driver citations as well. Required pre- and post-trip inspections also facilitate driver accountability, which enables managers to pinpoint where and when problems begin. Motor carriers can both identify drivers who are causing damage by driving poorly and determine specific routes that might be problematic (for example, if tire damage is consistently reported after a particular route, this might indicate poor road maintenance, and an alternate route can be considered). When the results of pre- and post-trip inspections are recorded daily, carriers increase their likelihood of identifying problems early.

By combining inspections with mandatory paperwork, managers can create a paper trail that enables them to track wear and tear and any damage to vehicles. The participation of fleet managers and owners in the paperwork process is critical; mandatory driver inspections are not effective if there is no follow through.

Larger companies with their own truck maintenance facilities can require drivers to spend a few days in their shops as part of training. This allows drivers to become more familiar with the equipment they operate and improves the communication between drivers and mechanics.

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Checking that tires are properly inflated and that they have adequate tread depth is an important part of any pre-trip inspection. By carefully inspecting their drivers’ paperwork daily, managers can both ensure that safety problems are fixed quickly and remain consistently aware of the condition of their fleet. Lastly, because adherence to the seven BASICs affects not only a motor carrier’s overall safety score but individual driver scores as well, drivers will be more inclined to sign on with, and continue to work for, companies that actively promote safety. After all, why would a good driver jeopardize his Driver Safety Measurement Score by working for a company that does not actively encourage preventative vehicle maintenance? Attracting and retaining good drivers is critical in maintaining a competitive advantage—it’s estimated that the industry will need to hire 400,000 drivers by the end of 2012 as we move out of the recession. Creating a Culture of Safety Since the implementation of CSA, the motor carriers with the fewest violations are not merely following the minimum requirements, but are meeting more stringent FMCSA guidelines by creating a culture of safety. To do that, companies must not only train drivers to perform pre- and post-trip inspections competently, but also emphasize the seriousness of the inspection process. Guidelines for preand post-trip inspections should be outlined in written safety policies. Training (as well as a clear presentation of expectations) should be included in the hiring process. Motor carriers should also work with their insurance and equipment providers to ensure that their policies are up to date.

Smaller companies can work with their maintenance and equipment providers to offer the same level of training. Drivers can do a PM with a mechanic and a ride along or walk around with an equipment dealer. In addition to extensive training, motor carriers should make sure that they supply their drivers with the basic tools they need to perform adequate pre- and post-trip inspections. Tire pressure and depth gauges, clean rags, and flashlights should be available at all times. An important part of any pre-trip inspection is checking that tires are properly inflated and that they have adequate tread depth. Because “fuel economy falls off sharply when tires are underinflated” and because “gains in fuel efficiency can be obtained from the tread of the tire,” pre-trip inspections that monitor tire wear and inflation can significantly increase fuel economy. Companies can reinforce their emphasis on safety by recognizing drivers who consistently conform to policies. Whether it’s creating reward systems for the drivers with the fewest violations, posting the names and pictures of drivers with zero violations, or including safety statistics in the company newsletter, activities that emphasize the importance of safety can help a carrier succeed under CSA. Because both drivers and companies can be held legally liable for failing to adhere to CSA standards, it is in motor carriers’ best interest to foster a culture of safety. Citations and Their Effect on Operating Costs Failing to perform pre- and post-trip inspections leads to a lower quality of vehicle


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maintenance, and when maintenance issues are overlooked, citations and out-of-service vehicles are the result. Not only can the cost of citations and downtime quickly exceed the cost of routine maintenance, each citation is counted on a carrier’s safety score. Deteriorating safety scores can prompt the FMCSA to red flag the responsible fleet, which leads to increased roadside and facility inspections. This can dramatically increase a carrier’s operating costs, as lengthy inspections mean less road time and more mandated repairs. One of the biggest problems with inadequate pre- and post-trip inspections is vehicles being pulled out of service for easy fixes, such as a broken lighting device. In these situations, a carrier must send a mechanic on a road call— which average three to four hours each. Allowing law enforcement to catch a simple maintenance problem costs a company time and money. Take the example of Company A, which received an out-of-service violation for a burnedout headlamp. The company’s fleet manager was forced to spend an hour of his time finding a mechanic who could perform an immediate road call. At a rate of $75 an hour, the mechanic spent three hours locating and picking up a new headlamp, driving to the truck’s location and installing the part. The fleet manger paid an

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additional $50 as a mobile service fee. In total, Company A paid $275 dollars (not including the cost of downtime) for a $6 headlamp. If Company A had encouraged its driver to perform a pre-trip inspection, it would have saved $269 and four hours of time. This is a perfect example of how pre- and post-trip inspections can minimize downtime and save money. Lowering Repair Costs While routine pre- and post-trip inspections may lead to more frequent vehicle maintenance, repairs will ultimately be cheaper for multiple reasons. First, it is beneficial to identify safety problems early on when they are cheaper to fix. Perhaps more importantly, the paper trail created by routine driver inspections bridges the communication gap between driver and mechanic. Without a mandatory daily log, a driver might verbally communicate a problem to dispatch, who communicates the problem to a repair shop, who communicates the problem to a mechanic. Not only can misunderstandings occur as information is verbally passed from party to party, management is often unaware of the specifics of a problem, which makes it difficult to gauge the appropriateness of repair costs. When drivers log potential maintenance issues, the paperwork can be given to the mechanic so that he can gain a first-hand account of the problem. In short, daily pre- and post-trip inspections help ensure that mechanics get the correct information pertaining to repairs. This reduces repair costs by ensuring that appropriate problems are being worked on and minimizes the amount of time a vehicle must spend in the shop. This means more on-road time and more profitability. By encouraging their drivers to perform daily pre- and post-trip inspections, fleet managers and owners can maximize the profitability of their businesses. Routine inspections create a sense of driver responsibility, reduce citations, encourage satisfactory safety scores, and reduce maintenance costs. Pre- and post-trip inspections are not only vital in adhering to CSA regulations, they are crucial to maintaining a financially viable fleet as well.

Read full white paper by Paul Backers at

Paul Backers (CTP)

is the Lease Account Manager with Peterson Trucks in San Leandro, Calif. Paul has more than nine years of experience providing dynamic customer service and innovative solutions for complete vehicle repair. He is a Certified Transportation Professional accredited through the National Private Truck Council, a certified Lean Six-Sigma Black Belt and a graduate of Villanova University.


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Customer Profile

Reliability Rules Atech Logistics keeps clients happy with Peterson support


Jesse Amaral, Atech Logistics & Distribution, Inc

eliability. That’s the keystone for any successful truck fleet owner. If you can’t move your customers’ goods from Point A to Point B on time and intact, you won’t be around for long. Reliability is what helped Jesse Amaral build his business from a one-man, one-truck operation 18 years ago into one that includes 92 employees and 75 trucks today.

Amaral’s Atech Logistics & Distribution, Inc. is a third-party dedicated fleet operation based in Santa Rosa, Calif. Atech Logistics offers full-spectrum transportation networks, customized delivery systems and business solutions. Atech’s network now includes eight terminals along the West Coast. Arriving at this point wasn’t easy. Amaral was working for a mail order company when that company decided to relocate to Kentucky. During that transition, Amaral worked his day job while building his new trucking business at night. “It’s a way of life. I’ve always loved being around trucks, the people in the industry, the vendors, the shippers, the distributors; it’s just a great industry,” he says. “When I started Atech, we ran it out of my garage with one truck that I still keep in the back; 18 years later here we are.”

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With two young sons, the first years were a challenge for Amaral and his wife, Geri. But they persevered and, eventually, thrived. Geri serves as controller/vice president for the company and Jesse gives her much of the credit for their success. “Any successful businessman knows that, behind the scenes, all the credit goes to his wife,” he says. “We’re a team,” she agrees.

Amaral says. And good service comes from good employees. “Why are we successful? Because we have good people who have been with us for years,” he says. “We have a family approach to doing business. These guys are out there everyday, giving their best effort and they’re appreciated. If it wasn’t for these guys who’ve been with us for years, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Growth Through Service Amaral says his company’s success stems from two things: Hiring good people and providing quality service. Sounds simple in theory, but not all trucking businesses are able to achieve these basics, he says.

Stellar Equipment Attracts Stellar Workers Hiring—and retaining—good workers is a challenge for any trucking company, even in these tougher economic times, Amaral says. Pay and benefits are only part of the equation. Good equipment is important, too.

“International trucks are very driver-friendly, they’re set up for ease of maintenance. They are very reliable products that have withstood the test of time. Everything about these trucks confirms they are built to last.” -Jesse Amaral, Atech Logistics & Distribution, Inc.

For example, Amaral takes pride in his company’s ability to track and adapt to changes in air quality regulations. California has long been at the forefront of emissions legislation and owners of diesel trucks often find compliance efforts can be both perplexing and costly. Those air quality compliance rules are changing the way businesses see shipping, he says. Many companies that chose to move their own products have decided to get out of trucking altogether. Instead, they rely on specialists like Atech to handle transportation. “The industry is changing rapidly and a lot of businesses don’t want to stay up-to-date with all the emissions requirements,” he says. “That’s where they see the benefit of a thirdparty carrier. Our expertise is maintaining that compliance for them, staying within regulations and DOT requirements and taking care of their transportation needs.” But keeping track of rules is only part of the equation for Atech’s success. Providing consistent, on-time service is key to maintaining customer loyalty and promoting growth,

“If you can give a driver a good product that runs efficiently and is quiet, it makes it easier for him to go out and do his job every day," he says. “A big factor for our business is recruiting and retaining good drivers. A comfortable cab environment can go a long way towards keeping drivers happy.” That’s one important reason Amaral is a fan of International trucks. “My very first truck was an International I bought in 1993. I still have that truck and it still runs and it has close to a million miles on it,” he says. A cab that’s ergonomically designed reduces fatigue, which contributes greatly to driver health. And a healthy driver means fewer sick days, which means happier drivers and less downtime. There are also positives in terms of safety. A more comfortable cab with better visibility helps drivers keep their eyes on the road. “International trucks are very driver-friendly, they’re set up for ease of maintenance,” he says. “They are very reliable products that have withstood the test of time. Everything about these trucks confirms they are built to last.”

Amaral says reliability is important not just for customers. Drivers need rigs they can depend on, and trucking firms need rigs on the road because a rig that’s not running is a rig that’s not making money, Amaral said. That’s one reason he likes International trucks. “Businesses can count on their performance.” Buying a truck and engine is a significant investment, one that needs to last years and hundreds of thousands of miles to pay off, Geri Amaral says. With International, “our return on investment has been phenomenal,” she says. A Partnership with Peterson Since buying a truck and engine is a longterm investment, Amaral wants to work with a dealer who will be there for the long haul. That’s why he trusts Peterson Power Systems. “It’s easy to sell a truck. Where Peterson Power Systems separates itself from the rest is how it handles the aftermarket service,” he says. “Their focus is getting the truck in the shop, fixing it and returning it to the road as soon as possible. As a business owner, we appreciate that. They understand our needs.” Just like Atech, the staff at Peterson has a passion to do the job right—you can see it when you work with them, Geri Amaral says. “It doesn’t stop with a truck sale for them,” she says. “They want us to succeed for the longterm. I deal with them on different levels—all of our departments do—and all of us speak highly of the folks at Peterson.” Peterson understands the needs of the transportation industry—something that not everyone else does, Jesse Amaral says. “When you take that product and add the dealership side with Peterson—their parts, their service, their equipment and their aftermarket customer support—the combination is exceptional,” he says. “We couldn’t have better partners.”


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Driving F Technology helps, but the human factor is key By Tom Bagwell



Fleet Management Seminar Peterson University’s Fleet Management Seminar, hosted by George Sharpe, Paul Backers and Tom Bagwell, will emphasize the importance of pre- and post-trip inspections, vehicle customization and driver training to better your fleet and improve your bottom line. Upon completion of this course, participants will receive a U.C. Berkeley Certificate of Completion.

See the full training schedule and class information page at To find out more contact Annie Chau, at 800.260.6193. Register online at:

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he rising cost of fuel is one of the greatest challenges facing fleet managers today. But controlling fuel economy can be an elusive goal because fleets often are already in place. Likewise, aerodynamic design, tires, and engines are already installed to help save fuel. And many variables, such as weather and driving surface, are outside the fleet manager’s control. Let me begin by sharing what we’ve learned at Peterson Trucks. We drove a medium-duty truck on highway at 55 mph using cruise control. We measured instantaneous fuel economy with a Cat Electronic Technician. We videotaped the computer reading fuel consumption at 8 mpg. Within an hour of the first test, we installed a body air deflection device and drove on the same highway under as close to the same conditions as possible: same driver, same speed and highway conditions, etc. The resulting fuel economy was 8.8 mpg, a 10 percent improvement. We then went to a customer who runs dry-freight vans. We downloaded the ECM (electronic control module) data, which showed his fuel economy at 7 mpg. We cleared the ECM, added a body air deflection device, and sent the truck back out. The fuel economy only improved to 7.04 mpg. But the data also showed his average speed had increased. We learned adding aerodynamic and fuel-efficient devices—without addressing driver behavior— produces marginal fuel savings at best. If you really want to squeeze those extra miles out of every $4.50 per gallon (and rising) cost of diesel, you need the driver on your side. According to Bridgestone’s Real Answers magazine, up to 35 percent of a vehicle’s mpg is directly attributable to driver behavior. After all, it’s the driver who controls vehicle speed, trailer gap setting, acceleration rate, brake usage, idle time, tire inflation pressure, shifting technique and more. It is not uncommon for fleets with identically spec’d trucks to see a fuel consumption difference of 25 percent between the least- and most-effective drivers. So it’s possible for a driver to improve fuel economy by improving his driving. But how do you track fuel economy? Whether using modern tools such as electronic extraction and GPS, or re-establishing disciplined, drivercontrolled methods such as spreadsheet tracking,

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developing a practice of accurate data collection is essential to improving fuel economy. More importantly, however, is providing accurate data to the manager and driver in a timely manner. Realistically, you can’t ask your people to improve performance if they don’t have useful data from which to baseline performance and ultimately demonstrate improvement. Implementing this type of change requires an adjustment of mindset for the manager that makes drivers a part of the solution, and not the problem. It is important to understand that if you tell a driver to be more fuel efficient, but don’t incorporate their actions and insights, involve them in the process or give them the tools they need—any improvement will be limited. The manager who brings his drivers into the discussion and says, “Here is the goal, what can we do to improve and how can we celebrate when we achieve our goals?”, is giving his drivers a voice in the company. Drivers who buy into fuel-efficiency goals will be much more willing to develop the necessary behaviors, and share their successes with others for the greater good. There are simple things a manager can do to drive the right behavior. The Environmental Defense Fund, in its “Fleet Drivers and Fuel Smart Driving” publication, offers some logical advice: Set specific, measurable and realistic goals. These goals should be developed with your drivers, not for them. Link fuel-efficient driving behaviors to concepts such as accident prevention, safety or concern for the environment. Different drivers will respond to different motivators when deciding to slow down. Some will do it to save fuel, others for their own safety. Recognize drivers who set a good example. Allow drivers to share their successes and tips on how to improve performance. Partner with your top performers in driver education programs. Broadcast your successes widely and frequently. Acknowledging progress towards goals motivates your top drivers to sustain desired behaviors. Once you have a program in place that values driver input, never forget that credit needs to go to the driver, not the manager. The driver is the one who will effect change, and needs to get the credit when performance improves. Lastly, find a way to

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reward all drivers. Everyone needs to feel a sense of participation and recognition for their efforts. The suggestions above are a good start. But they are just that; a start. Everyone is struggling with the same critical issues surrounding fuel efficiency. Each manager, whether a Peterson customer or not, has a unique vision and valuable ideas to share. We need a way to connect and share these ideas. To advance this conversation, I invite you to join our discussion group on Linkedin. Registration is free. Simply go to Linkedin, input “Peterson Trucks” in the Groups field, and join us in this conversation on how to entice drivers to drive more fuel efficiently. If we can work together to teach drivers how to succeed in driving fuel economy, everyone wins.

UPCOMING DATES: TECHNICAL TRAINING Steering and Suspension June 20-24 / October 10-14, 2011 Instructor: Rich Descoteaux

The training received in this course will develop your ability to understand the basic principles of steering geometry and its effect on vehicle stability. It will also focus on vehicle suspension, leveling systems, ride height, steering gear theory, and hydraulics, as well as differential theory and rebuild.

Truck Air Brakes September 12-16, 2011 Instructor: Rich Descoteaux

Details the air brakes and air system for modern vehicles. This course will teach you the ability to maintain, service and troubleshoot heavy duty air systems.

MANAGEMENT SKILLS/TRAINING FranklinCovey FOCUS Time Management August 24 / November 16, 2011 Instructor: Mace Gjerman

In this one-day course, you’ll learn new ways to think about your time, as well as practical processes and effective applications that help you live these lessons. This course provides the secret to becoming more focused on your priorities, better organized, and more productive overall.

FranklinCovey FOCUS Meeting Advantage August 25 / November 17, 2011 Instructor: Chris Murphy

The Meeting Advantage workshop from FranklinCovey allows you to make your meetings more effective and productive. This dynamic, skills-based workshop will help stimulate team interaction and improve results.

Custom classes available upon request. Read full white paper by Tom Bagwell at

Tom Bagwell (CTP) is the Director of Training and Power Marketing at Peterson Power Systems with over 20 years of transportation experience. Among his distinctions are sales awards for outstanding achievement from Caterpillar, Peterbilt, Mitsubishi, Idealease, and International. Tom is also a Certified Transportation Professional by the National Private Truck Council and maintains a Class-A license.


800.260.6193 Register online at:


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Customizing Vehicles

Lowering Costs by customizing new commercial vehicle purchases By George Sharpe


n the past, trucks were viewed merely as a means to an end: as little more than a container used to transport goods from Point A to Point B. A fleet owner would simply go to a truck dealership, select the vehicle that conformed most closely to his needs, and purchase that vehicle off the lot. Today truck manufacturers realize that, in an increasingly competitive industry, a one-size-fits-all approach to the commercial vehicle market won’t work. Now fleet owners have hundreds of options when selecting a new truck. The most successful motor carriers take

a reason the vehicle has not moved. (Many times, a buyer will have a truck customized and then decide against its purchase. When these trucks don’t sell, it is usually because the specifications are not ideal for common applications.) On the other hand, customizing a vehicle to meet specific needs ensures a fleet manager only buys the options he wants. He can select features that will lower his operating expenses at little or no cost up front—avoiding the expensive and time-consuming process of adding them later.

Customization helps maximize fuel efficiency and dramatically decreases the cost of operating a commercial vehicle fleet, but selecting the appropriately sized engines is key. full advantage of those options by customizing vehicles to meet the specific needs of their businesses. A custom fleet can significantly increase value, efficiency, productivity, safety, longevity, and driver retention at little or no added cost. When buying a new truck, the best value is generally not on a dealer’s lot. Some fleet owners might be tempted to purchase a vehicle marked down because it has been on the lot for a long time. But remember—there’s usually

Improving Fuel Efficiency Customization helps maximize fuel efficiency and dramatically decreases the cost of operating a commercial vehicle fleet, but selecting the appropriately sized engines is key. The larger an engine, the more fuel it will burn, so selecting an engine larger than necessary will result in needless fuel use. On the other hand, engines that are too small will run at full load too frequently, also burning more fuel than necessary. (Running an engine at full load for extended periods can also decrease an engine’s life expectancy.) Selecting a perfectly sized engine may seem difficult, but with a skilled dealer’s help, the process can be easily accomplished and can save significant fuel costs. Truck gearing can also be customized to optimize performance. A truck geared to operate efficiently at 0 to 30 mph will burn far less fuel in a city environment, but will consume large amounts of fuel on the highway. Likewise, a

slow-geared truck will burn less fuel in a hilly environment, but more on flat roads. When fleet owners do not size and gear their engines correctly, they can incur excess fuel costs. There have been numerous cases in which owners decide to slow their fleet speed to save fuel. But when a truck is spec’d, it is set to run at a specific cruise speed. By slowing a truck from its intended cruise speed, fuel economy can worsen because the engine is running below maximum efficiency. To maximize fuel economy, a fleet owner should consider the following when purchasing a new truck: What is the expected maximum load of the vehicle? Will the vehicle be operated on the Interstate or in the city? Will the vehicle be operated in a flat or hilly environment? Productivity, Longevity Through Customization Over the last decade, technologies in truck manufacturing have increased fleet productivity and decreased downtime. While many of these options require a capital investment, they can quickly pay for themselves by minimizing downtime and drivers’ workload. Monitoring the vehicle’s battery when the engine is not running is a common challenge. Some drivers can kill their battery by not restarting their engines frequently enough. The result is downtime while a mobile service truck is sent to recharge the battery. Other drivers idle trucks for extended periods while electrical devices are in use. That wastes fuel. Those situations can be avoided by using load-shedding circuits, which automatically cut power to electrical devices when the battery runs low. With a load-shedding circuit, drivers can


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save fuel by shutting down their truck engines when operating lift gates or other devices without worrying about killing their batteries and being stranded. For fleets that operate even occasionally in adverse weather conditions or on unpaved roads, the importance of traction control cannot be overstated. The option offers drivers greater control on slick roadways and can prevent vehicles from becoming stuck. Because a single tow bill can exceed the cost of installing traction control, the option promotes not only safety but savings as well. Adding interlocks to prevent some systems from operating while others are in use can prevent dangerous and costly accidents, such as the one a few years ago on I-580 near Pleasanton. In that case, a dump truck driver attempted to activate his Jake Brake and accidentally hit the gate open switch, spilling his load of gravel. No one was seriously injured, but the highway was closed for several hours for cleanup and the trucking company was liable for damages to several vehicles. Afterward, the company installed interlocks to prevent tailgates from opening when the vehicles traveled faster than 5 mph. In this manner, interlocks can prevent many accidents caused by driver error. Vehicle interlocks can also promote longevity, particularly with trucks fitted with PTOs and differential locks. Interlocks can prevent these systems from engaging over a set speed, protecting them from damage. Dealers can also help select axles (and corresponding frame rails, tires and brakes) to fully accommodate the intended load. The correct axles help prevent premature component failure caused by overloaded axles and ensure that the vehicle can safely carry its intended load.

Driver retention, too, is improved with properly selected options. When fleet owners select vehicles that cannot adequately perform the duties necessary for the operation, drivers become frustrated. Customizing a truck to meet specific functions and environments—as well as selecting options that promote ease of operation and comfort—encourages driver retention. Good drivers will want to sign on with carriers that provide the best truck for the job at hand. In today’s competitive marketplace, successful trucking companies know how to maximize productivity and efficiency. Selecting a custom truck fleet is instrumental in achieving this goal. By ordering trucks built to meet an operation’s specific needs, fleet owners can avoid paying for options they don’t need while assuring that they have every option they do need.

Read full white paper by George Sharpe at

George Sharpe is an International Truck sales representative at Peterson Trucks, and specializes in large fleets and custom-vocational applications. He has 16 years of dealership experience, and was an International Diamond Club winner for the last three years.


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READY TO SERVE YOU Peterson Trucks is ready to serve your International® truck parts and service needs to make sure you not only achieve high performance on the road, but down the road with: 1. Off-the-shelf parts and availability to meet your routine and emergency needs, 98% fill rate within 24 hours 2. Choose your own Customer Overhaul Protection Program (COPP) miles and months protection plan 3. Receive superior parts at consistent prices with OnCommand Preventative Maintenance 4. Complete diesel particulate filter cleaning service 5. PAR Chassis Dyno Analysis provides precise measurement of engine performance 6. A full selection of top-quality oil, fuel and air filters for peak performance 7. Complete Cooling System Refresh service 8. Fully staffed by factory-trained service technicians 9. Financing packages 10. Driver training programs to maximize fuel efficiency 11. Technical and advanced skills training at Peterson University For more information on any of these products, services and capabilities, stop by or call either of two Peterson Trucks locations:


San Leandro 2718 Teagarden Street San Leandro, CA 94577 510.618.5550 Santa Rosa 3710 Regional Pkwy Santa Rosa, CA 95403 707.576.1616

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Strategy Drive 2011  

A special custom publication for Peterson Trucks.

Strategy Drive 2011  

A special custom publication for Peterson Trucks.