Kenworth News

Knowing its Costs: Transport Nalaco Runs Lean in Bulk Hauling with Kenworth T680s

For Transport Nalaco’s Jonathan Aubut, knowing your costs means knowing your business.

“And believe me, we know both,” said the corporate development manager for the Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec-based bulk hauling company. “We track everything from labor, to maintenance, to fuel, to routes and detention time. That data enables us to set a competitive rate per metric ton of material that we haul, and to assign internal hourly rates for our drivers.”

It’s a formula that has been successful as Transport Nalaco, a division of Jefo Logistique, continues to grow as a leader in transporting bulk products – primarily protein and grain, as well as dry box and container. Operating a fleet of 75 Kenworths, primarily T680s with low total cost of ownership – combined with excellent support from Kenworth Maska (current Kenworth Dealer of the Year) – has kept Transport Nalaco from looking elsewhere for power units.

“We know our numbers and our general manager, Steve Dillaire, talks with a lot of other fleets in our area, so he’s happy with where we’re at,” Aubut said with a smile. “We may pay a little more at the outset for our Kenworths, but we get that back in resale value. Our cost for maintenance is low, while our fuel economy is excellent – plus our drivers like being behind the wheel. That shows in the pride they have in driving and in keeping the trucks looking nice. They keep them as clean as possible, and the Kenworth T680s serve as our best marketing card.”

Jonathan Aubut is corporate development manager for Transport Nalaco, a bulk hauling company based in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec.

Transport Nalaco began operation in 1980. Today, 60 of its Kenworth trucks – the latest being T680s with 76-inch mid-roof sleepers – are used for two-to-three day trips to Ontario and the Maritime provinces, with the occasional short trip to Quebec. The fleet has 15 Kenworth day cabs for local deliveries into Montreal. The long-haul Kenworths average around 150,000 kilometers per year.

The Kenworth T680s are spec’d with the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 510 hp at 1,850 lb-ft of torque. They normally pull 4-axle trailers with a gross combination at 57,500 kg (126,000 pounds). Differentials are full lockers and disc brakes were spec’d on the front and rears. Inside the cab and sleeper, they are loaded with options and feature the Kenworth Diamond VIT cab.

“When it comes to specs, we try to find the perfect balance between lightweight, reliability and durability,” said Aubut. “We’re on time in excess of 99 percent of the time and that gives us an edge. We don’t get stalled.”

According to Aubut, Transport Nalaco has been a long-time fan of the PACCAR MX-13 engine. “It’s clearly reliable and we’ve been very pleased with our fuel economy,” he said. We know what we’re getting and the PACCAR MX-13 has enough strength to handle the loads we carry.”

And, Aubut said trucks are being fully utilized. “We don’t have any sitting in our yard waiting for drivers,” he said. “Driver turnover is a big problem for our industry, but we have full employment. We feel that the investment we make in our Kenworth T680s helps us attract quality drivers. Those quality drivers then help us advertise our company with other drivers.”

Helping to further improve productivity has been GPS and vehicle tracking. “We’ve invested in software to help us be more efficient in routing and backhauls,” said Aubut. “We’ve been able to get our empty miles down by about 5 percent a year. While that might not sound like much, it really is if you add that up over the years. We just continue to improve, and that helps our bottom line.”

In its shop, Transport Nalaco runs paperless. All parts and work orders are barcoded and repairs are entered electronically. “This way each truck has a detailed history on repairs,” said Aubut. “We can tell you exactly each truck’s cost of operation for every single year of its operation. With this amount of detail, it shows us exactly where we’re at, confirms decisions on new specs, and it helps us fine tune our trade cycle.”

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