“Quality of product and reliability”
When Pitt Ohio Express says the freight will be there, the company delivers. That’s because the owner of the fleet, Chuck Hammel, expects reliability from his employees and the employees expect it from their supplier, Mack Trucks, Inc.
“Quality of product and reliability” is the way director of maintenance Denny Martin describes how the Pittsburgh-based hauler has expanded a successful LTL business into a supply chain solutions company serving the mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions.
“The driver is one part of the equation and the truck is the other,” he says. “The truck has to safely and reliably deliver freight and Mack does that time and time again.” That’s why the company, which changed its name from Pitt Ohio Express in early 2011, is buying Mack Pinnacle models by the truckload. Pitt Ohio purchased 20 Pinnacle DayCab tractors in 2010 and is in the process of taking delivery of an additional 110 units through its Mack dealer, TransEdge in Pittsburgh.
New equipment orders feed a constant need to maintain and build the company’s reputation, as well as its fleet. Pitt Ohio employs 2,800 people in 21 terminals. It fields a fleet of 1,755 trailers, 665 tractors, roughly half of which are Mack, and 353 straight trucks. Those rigs deliver 10,200 shipments to more than 14,000 destinations each day, with a 98 percent on-time delivery record.
Jack Frischkorn, director of purchasing, says Pitt Ohio’s reputation is recognized throughout the industry. “Customers tell us, ‘You guys do what you say you’re going to do. When you say you’re going to have it there at 10 a.m. you have it there at 10 a.m.'”
Martin attributes that success to company owner Chuck Hammel III, whose grandfather got the family started in the trucking business with a horse and wagon in 1919. “Chuck truly cares about the employees and he sets high expectations for all of us. You definitely don’t want to let the owner down, and our customers benefit from that.”
Mack doesn’t want to disappoint the owner, either, but changes in environmental regulations could have jeopardized its customer relations. Pitt Ohio was understandably wary of any new vehicle from any manufacturer, given the issues many fleets had with previous equipment.
“The EPA’07 trucks from the manufacturers that we tested were just terrible in terms of fuel economy and reliability,” Martin says. “Knowing that the technology would be different, we waited to make any purchases until the EPA’10 trucks were released. We tested the Mack line with SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) and it performed so well in comparison to the EPA’07 trucks we knew that Mack had come up with a reliable truck. Our experience with the Mack ClearTech SCR system is good. The drivers love the way the trucks pull and are impressed by their responsiveness. Most importantly, the trucks have the best fuel economy we’ve seen since 2004 emission standards were implemented.”
What really sold Pitt Ohio was the commitment of Mack and TransEdge to their customers. “There was a period of time when we went away from the Mack line,” Martin says. “However, we still owned a great deal of Mack equipment and through that period Mack showed up to support their product. They never looked at a one-time buy; they looked at the long term. They continued to stand behind the Mack trucks we had in our fleet. We are super impressed with the way Mack handled themselves. Mack’s commitment and confidence in their product, from the factory to the dealership, was key in our decision-making.”