November 5, 2020
Productivity: It’s all in the Specs
By Todd Berger, PacLease’s Director of National Accounts
We have a saying at PacLease, and it’s pretty straightforward: “We’re focused on improving your service to your customer.”
If we do that, we know we’re doing our job.
The simplicity in that statement says a lot. It says we understand that in order for us to be successful as a service partner we have to make our customers successful. And, we do that by understanding your company and understanding your transportation ‘pain points.' We also outline your payloads and routes and see how specs can reduce weight, improve fuel economy, and increase driver satisfaction. Once we have a clear picture of your operation, we go to work to properly spec a truck that can improve your operation.
If you’re looking to lease a truck, there’s more to consider than the lease payment. Look at the quality, efficiency and dependability of the vehicle. Uptime is critical, especially if your customer, or private fleet, runs a Just-In-Time operation.
PacLease’s ultimate goal is to lower your costs, while improving your service. Take fuel economy for example. With a custom spec’d truck, we typically find we can improve MPGs by between 3-5%, often times more, over an off-the-shelf truck our customer might be leasing elsewhere. For a typical long-haul sleeper unit traveling 120,000 miles a year, that can equate to at least $2,000 in fuel savings per year, per truck. We can improve the numbers thanks to understanding our customer’s operation from the products being carried, to payload weight, routes traveled and more. This allows us to optimize the powertrain and axle gear ratio.
We can spec the full complement of fairings that Kenworth and Peterbilt offer, plus spec components from supplier partners. FlowBelow’s tractor aero-kit, for example, features a fairing to smooth airflow between the wheels, plus wheel covers to reduce turbulence even further.
But, aerodynamics is more than fairings. We look closely at minimizing the gap between the tractor and trailer – wanting just 30 to 40 inches in gap -- and often will spec sliding 5th wheels with an optimum wheelbase. This ensures the tractor/trailer gap is at the best spacing for optimal fuel economy.
Outside of the powertrain, we look at idle time and offer solutions if idling for a long haul fleet is greater than 10-15%. Kenworth and Peterbilt each offer a battery-powered APU system that works great for most applications, and it’s what we routinely spec.
Component integration is paying dividends as well. PACCAR is seeing great success with its 12-speed automated transmission, mated with PACCAR axles. When engineers integrate the transmission and axles with a PACCAR engine, optimization can happen to make our customers more fuel-efficient.
Improving fuel economy is not just a goal for long-haul fleets – we work hard to improve MPGs for our regional customers as well. While the miles are less, and therefore so are the fuel savings, every uptick in fuel economy counts. One of the big trends we’re seeing is the use of automated transmission for regional operations – close to 80% have moved over to automated. With so much stop and go, it makes sense. And it takes the driver out of the shifting equation – something that has a real impact on fuel economy savings.
When it comes to spec’ing a truck, things change fast as components and new technology continually come onto the market. A truck today can be spec’d to be much more fuel-efficient than one produced 3 years ago. Three years from now, we can expect even more options to improve efficiency. That’s why we often suggest leasing a truck for a term that takes into consideration the mileage/maintenance curve. This way a fleet can get the most out of the truck, then move into a new lease that gains further improvements thanks to new technology.
Every day is a new day when it comes to spec’ing trucks for our customers. Advancements are coming faster than ever before. It’s an exciting time in the leasing business as we bring new thinking to improving operations for our customers. Custom spec’ing is something that will always be a difference-maker for our customers.
To find out more about Full Service Leasing.
Learn why Tire Management is important to your bottom line, read our blog post: Tires, Tires, Tires!
For more great blogs visit PacLease Blogs.