When told that the Kenworth T880 was recently named the 2015 ATD Commercial Truck of the Year, Brandon Deering, Golden State Lumber’s fleet manager, had a quick response. “That’s not surprising at all,” he said. “It’s just a great truck and all our drivers love being behind the wheel.”
Brandon Deering, fleet manager for Golden State Lumber, is shown with one of the company’s Kenworth T880s.
Operating a fleet of 60 trucks, Golden State Lumber has four store locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, with headquarters located in Petaluma, Calif. It also has a window and door distribution center located in Richmond, just outside of Oakland. The company sells a variety of lumber and building products for the do-it-yourselfer, professional contractors and developers.
Golden State Lumber began laying the groundwork for standardizing with Kenworth trucks several years ago. “We were running a hodgepodge of trucks – I think around six different brands – and some were old, some were new,” recalled Deering. “Trucks would break down, maintenance costs were big, and we had a stable of trucks sitting around as backups. We had 75 trucks – inefficient to say the least.”
With an improving economy, Deering said the company focused on building a modern fleet. “We looked at our trucks and it was clear that the Kenworths we had in operation were holding up better than other brands. Plus our drivers liked driving Kenworths – they always have,” he said.
According to Deering, Golden State Lumber is almost fully standardized now with Kenworth T880s and Kenworth T370s, along with a K270 cabover with 20-foot box, which is used around Oakland where urban streets demand a very tight turning radius.
“With the new fleet, we’re running 60 trucks and we’re running more mileage,” said Deering. “Most of the Kenworth T880s feature roll-off flatbeds as do many of the Kenworth T370s. At each of the four locations, two T880s have forklifts piggybacked to the back of the trucks. That makes deliveries so much easier.”
According to Deering, each location serves roughly a 100-mile radius and deliveries go to job sites for general contractors, plus homeowners. “We do our best to make even the smallest of deliveries – not all of our customers have pickup trucks,” said Deering. “We feel our customer service and great staff really make the difference in separating us from our competition. It’s why we continue to grow. We’re also looking to expand in other markets.”
The Kenworth T880s are spec’d with the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 485-hp and driven through Eaton 10-speed transmissions. The T370’s feature the PACCAR PX-9 engine rated at 300-hp and driven through Allison 6-speed automatics. The trucks were purchased through NorCal Kenworth.
“The reaction to the T880 has just been fantastic with our drivers,” said Deering. “They absolutely love the trucks and the amount of space inside – more room between the seats, for example. And the visibility with the larger windshield is something they’ve made comments on – along with just how quiet the truck is with the PACCAR MX-13 engine. Our dealer really talked highly of the MX-13 and suggested we try it. We’re glad we did. The combination of the T880 and new engine is giving us better fuel economy than other models we were running, and the engine provides plenty of power to handle all the hills we have around the Bay Area.”
Deering said that not only have drivers noticed a big difference, but so have Golden State customers. “Our trucks represent our brand and the quality of our products. They leave nothing but a positive impression with our contractors when we pull up to a job site. They know we believe in quality, just like they do. And from a driver’s perspective, they like it when a customer comments on their Kenworth. It makes them proud of what they’re driving.”
The flagship Kenworth T880 Vocational Truck with the PACCAR MX-13 engine was selected as the 2015 ATD Truck of the Year by a panel of commercial trucking journalists and a professional driver. The T880 was ranked high for exceptional handling, power, torque and outstanding visibility from the driver’s seat.
Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth’s Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth is a PACCAR company.