Navistar divulges marketing secrets
Published on 7 April 2010
No matter what industry you're in, the image your trucks project have a big impact on your success. "Image is a complex thing," explains Jim Heckmann, the head of the Iowa Small Business Development Center. "It's not just how your trucks look, but how your company is perceived." The best way to maintain a positive image for your business is simple. You need to make sure you're providing solutions for your customers. Nothing speaks louder than simply getting the job done. Whether you're a small delivery company shipping a family's furniture across town or a beverage distributor providing beer to a grocery chain across the state, being regarded as a reliable, dependable business partner should always be the goal.
Having drivers that are well-rested and feel respected by ownership can go a long way towards enhancing your company's image. But in order to attract top talent you need to invest in good quality trucks. In the beverage industry, for example, with drivers required to offload product, the need for top-notch equipment is essential."There are lots of jobs with no-touch loads out there for CDL drivers. So whatever we can do to attract and retain a driver plays a role," says Mark Stone, fleet director, National Brand Beverages, Ltd. a New Jersey-based distributor and bottler of Pepsi and Canada Dry products. "When you drive by our property and see all of our trucks lined up, with that shiny International grill, it's a pretty cool sight. The equipment is new and we try to keep it clean. I think any prospective employee would look at that and think, 'That's a pretty good place to work."
How you spec your trucks also helps with driver retention, not to mention productivity. In the case of National Brand Beverages, having a standardized spec means drivers are familiar with the truck no matter which vehicle they're assigned any given day. And according to Stone, the design of the International® DuraStar® trucks in their fleet, has translated into multitude of benefits for the business."The International trucks, the way they're set up, they're good for the guys getting in and out of the equipment," he says. "Our drivers are predominantly commission-based, so if they can get out quickly and get back to the plant, they can make more money. It saves time and the customer gets serviced quicker."Plus, with the newer vehicles, we've seen an improvement in the turning radius, and that makes the trucks easier to drive."
And while dollars are tight for everyone these days, the image benefits of running today's cleaner and greener trucks can't be overstated. "We are environmentally conscious and we want to have cleaner vehicles out there. The more new equipment we can put in service, the better," says Stone. In fact, National Brand Beverages organizes its routes so its newer trucks run the farthest routes, which reduces the mileage on its older counterparts. "It makes sense for us from a reliability standpoint; if a truck breaks down far away from the plant it creates a service issue for the customer, and the driver has to sit there that much longer," he says.
Proper maintenance also relates directly to your company's image because, of course, it never looks good when one of your trucks is broken down on the side of the road. But smaller things, like a truck leaking oil or transmission fluid on a customer's property, can also jeopardize a business relationship. It goes without saying that routine maintenance is important. And in the case of his International DuraStar trucks, Stone notes that, because their MaxxForce® brand engines are easy to work with, it's easier for his technicians to do their jobs, which is to prevent any breakdowns or service issues.
But the bottom line is, image is everything whether, like National Brand Beverages, you deliver on behalf of one of the largest brands in the world, or you represent your own small business. "We're driving billboards up and down the east coast. When we roll up to an account, we want a truck that performs and looks aesthetically pleasing," says Stone. "It does make a statement."
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