Published Feb 5, 2015

Three Part Harmony: Trucks, Trailers, and Team

ALL Crane Truck and Trailer
Good construction is a bit like harmony; you don’t notice how well it’s going until someone is out of tune.

For those of you in the business, you are likely nodding your head in agreement. But that’s bittersweet, because if you agree, it means that you, at some point, had the finely-tuned machine that is your construction schedule break down, leaving well-paid tradesmen standing around because some small cog in the larger mechanism didn’t show up.

And that’s usually how it happens. One truckload of something doesn’t show up, and there goes the schedule — and lots of folks are stuck playing catch-up.

ALL knows from experience that every part of the crane has to be there, from bolts to booms, cable to counterweights. Sounds simple, until you consider that for a job set for six months from now, the delivery schedule is already being developed. And here’s why.

The job might call for a couple of large-capacity crawlers, perhaps Manitowoc 18000s, along with a handful of ATs and a second handful of support lifts — like aerial units and forklifts. Suddenly the amassed armada being readied for the job six months down the road is approaching 100 trailer loads.

And timely, accurate delivery is a logistics miracle that needs to look effortless — while not affecting other customers’ schedules.

That’s ALL — and it takes trucks, trailers, and some sweet harmony.

Delivering Sand: Supply and Demand 101
“You don’t name names when someone drops the ball in this business,” said Rick Mikut, crawler crane division manager, “but here’s a scenario that relates.”

Mikut explains that in horizontal drilling, or frack mining, you need sand. Tons and tons of sand. Fracking’s been around a long time, and the sand used is pretty specialized. At one time, there was lots of sand to be had and bidders could get that price down pretty low.

“But then,” explained Mikut, “things got much busier.”

Now lots of folks needed lots of sand. Prices went up, and the industry became more attractive to smaller players who wanted in on the fracking boom. Demand was up, and getting all that sand to all the sites became more lucrative but also more challenging. One day, a smaller dealer — who didn’t control the sand supply directly — missed a delivery, making the entire mining and drilling crew have to wait for sand.

“That’s how not preparing for delivery demands can be bad for business, even when business is booming,” explained Mikut.

“Fast forward to today,” Mikut continued, “and we have the drilling slowing up a little because barrel oil is trading lower. That same guy who couldn’t meet delivery in peak demand may now be too small to weather the slowdown. Now he may not be able to show up, but for worse reasons. His business could be failing.”

Mikut explained that it’s the same scenario for anyone delivering to job sites. He points out that ALL has a team to plan for market conditions, and the trailer fleet is managed according to the team’s analysis.

Comprehensive Service: The ALL Family of Companies
As the ALL Family of Companies grew and expanded into 37 locations, it added divisions and shops at each location that would enhance and add greater value to the ALL experience. The trailer division has been a major investment, created so that ALL and its customers would never have to depend on the third-party companies who handle the transport of equipment to and from job sites.

Offering the ultimate customer service experience has always been how ALL does business. ALL realized early the value of a department with dedicated, full-time employees who manage an unbroken supply chain for their customers — locally, regionally, nationally, and continentally.

Because proactive instead of reactive maintenance is the hallmark of ALL operations, customers have come to count on the fact that every machine, part, or component meets or exceeds the manufacturer’s specifications. When a customer needs equipment, they can count on door-to-door service and the expertly maintained machinery ALL provides.

New Equipment, Expanded Capabilities
In 2014, ALL invested heavily in the trailer fleet, responding to expansion in many core markets and all geographies.

“We now have 450+ trucks/tractors and 2,000 trailers to ensure faster delivery of any of our 3,500 pieces of lift equipment anywhere,” said John Bacci, Logistics Manager for ALL. “From Canada to the Gulf and coast to coast.”

Bacci is a member of an elite group, but he pushes back on compliments. What is understood: the company’s dispatch team is highly trained and prepared for any and every eventuality — they keep the fleet moving.

Increasing the number of available trailers saves clients money and elevates ALL’s ability to deliver on time, offering faster turnaround times and minimized downtime. This is a wise investment, and one ALL is happy to make as it means more and better ways to serve customers.

In 2014 alone, ALL added:

• 24 tilt-bed Landoll traveling axle trailers: nine Landoll 440s (40-ton capacity) and 15 Landoll 455s (55-ton). These trailers extend ALL’s capabilities to deliver heavy, large loads with ease. The tilting trailer offers a low loading angle and a low clearance slope transition, allowing for greater ease when loading forklifts, manlifts, and other low-clearance equipment onto the upper deck. ALL is an authorized Landoll trailer dealer. [For more information, see the sidebar article, “We Are Your Landoll Trailer Dealer”]

• 30 trailers and 23 tag axles, being custom built by Nelson Manufacturing in Ohio. Tag axles, so called because they “tag behind” the main drive axle, can be lifted or lowered by the driver to spread out weight and ensure compliance with various states’ road weight restrictions. When moving oversize loads, tag axles — sometimes multiple axles on a single trailer — can be very helpful, since the axles hold the weight of the vehicle plus any cargo. ALL was pleased to invest in these trailers with an Ohio-based company. Nelson has previously provided ALL with a variety of specialty boom launch trailers, customized by potential usage and to ensure compliance with varying state regulations, depending on where and how the trailers will be used.

• 138 Manac trailers, 104 with galvanized steel decks. [See our sidebar, “Tough As Steel … and Then Some: Galvanized Steel Trailers” for more information about the value of buying galvanized steel.] This purchase included 100 step-deck trailers (also known as drop-deck trailers), which have a top and bottom deck, unlike a flatbed trailer. The group of step decks purchased includes (50) 45-foot units with close tandem wheels, a feature that makes them ideal for accompanying a taxi crane fleet to a job site. Taxi cranes are a daily crane rental fleet with great mobility and maneuverability, meant especially for work in urban areas. Another 50 of the trailers were 48-foot spread-axle units, ideal for longer hauls and heavier loads. Spread axles have a greater distance between the axles at the rear of the trailer than a tandem trailer does, which helps spread out a heavy load. Although total weight restrictions must always be observed, distributing heavy weight can ease transport, making for a smoother ride. 

Seamless Supply Chain, Proactively Managed Logistics
“The trailers we’ve purchased in 2014 alone show ALL’s commitment to investing in customer satisfaction,” said Bacci. “We are continually looking at ways to improve and enhance service. For example, by buying trailers with a variety of capabilities and different ways they can be configured and used, we can be sure we remain compliant with any state or federal transport regulations, and we can offer customized choices depending on what equipment needs to be hauled and to where.”

“We try to handle all the logistics in-house,” said Bacci. “This is more reliable for our customers, and saves on costs as well.”

The ALL Advantage ALL’s specialized transport divisions have ICC authority in the 48 contiguous U.S. states and throughout Canada. As proud members of SC&RA, the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association, ALL has the capability, equipment, knowledge, and expertise to move its equipment — or yours — safely, smartly, and on time.

# # # 
Originally published: Spring 2015 Lift Line magazine