Southern Refrigerated Transport, Inc.
Refrigerated Carrier Hot on Roadranger Service
“We only want to deal with suppliers who are going to give us the support we need after the sale. Anyone can take an order. So we look for suppliers who are willing to provide the necessary support once the vehicles are in service.”
President, Southern Refrigerated Transport, Inc.
Southern Refrigerated Transport, Inc., based in Texarkana, Ark., is an over-the-road, truckload motor carrier with services to all 48 continental states and Canada. The fleet includes some 1,000 tractors and 1,600 trailers, and specializes in providing a wide base of customers with temperature-controlled dry and hazardous materials transportation services.
Founded more than 25 years ago, the company is currently headed by Tony Smith, president. One of his top operating principles is to purchase and operate only premium, late model equipment. To best meet that standard, Smith typically replaces his trucks every three years.
This year Smith will be purchasing about 400 new tractors. As in the past, a careful review of the features and benefits of all North American truck makers will guide his final decision.
“When considering our tractor purchases, price of course plays a major role in our decision, but just as important is what will make our drivers the most comfortable and best equipped to best do their jobs,” adds Smith. “In the past we have purchased Freight-liner, International and Kenworth models. Now we will be adding Peterbilt models, due to our drivers’ input and desires.”
Adequate power is another concern. “We do not want our drivers having to worry about being able to pull the next hill,” says Smith.
Fuel economy also factors into his specification process. “A while back we began to focus on fuel economy,” he adds. “We are now getting about 6.5 miles per gallon, which is much better than the 6.1 we were getting prior to 2010. With our trucks averaging about 10,000 miles every month, that small percentage can quickly add up to significant savings.”
Component suppliers also play a key role in helping Southern Refrigerated Transport meet its new vehicle objectives.
“We only want to deal with suppliers who are going to give us the support we need after the sale,” says Smith. “Anyone can take an order. So we look for suppliers who are willing to provide the necessary support once the vehicles are in service.”
Delivering that in a very big way, Smith says, is the Roadranger organization, which includes more than 200 drivetrain consultants and trainers who support the majority of commercial vehicle components supplied by Dana and Eaton Corporation – not only before, but very much so after the sale.
“Over the years, the support we have gotten from Eaton and Dana has been fantastic,” he adds.
Agreeing with Smith’s assessment is Jerry Denson, director of maintenance for Southern Refrigerated Transport. Being the son of an owner operator, Denson has been around trucks for most of his life. He joined the fleet nine years ago, starting out as he describes, “on the floor turning wrenches.” He has also held the positions of parts manager and service manager.
For as long as Denson can remember, the vast majority of the company’s vehicles have always been spec’d with Eaton and Dana drivelines, including Eaton Fuller transmissions, Eaton Fuller clutches, Dana Spicer drive and steer axles, and Dana Spicer drivelines.
He explains why. “With trucks you are always going to have some issues. It doesn’t matter what brand you use. So the key to us is how are those issues being addressed. With the few issues that we have had with Dana and Eaton, and they have all been minor, they have definitely taken care of us every time.”
Denson cited his personal Roadranger representative, Dan Pesce, as being especially attentive. “We have an excellent rep and it is so easy to work with him,” notes Denson. “He is definitely the best rep that we have calling on us.”
The speed with which Roadranger provides its support to Southern Refrigerated Transport has also impressed the director of maintenance. While Denson has not yet been involved with spec’ing decisions with new vehicle purchases, thanks to his recent promotion he will be soon.
“In terms of reliability and performance their components are always top-of-the-line,” he adds. “The way that they work with the local dealers here is also exceptional.
“Couple all of that with the service we get, and I can’t imagine ever going with another driveline supplier.”
Southern Refrigerated Transport president, Smith, tributes his own success to premium service to the customer.
“We have more than 25 years of experience serving customers throughout North America,” says Smith. “A big part of our success is the result of our dedication to meeting their needs with the type of service they demand. It is also a business philosophy that I’m glad to say we share with Eaton and Dana.”