Transervice In The News – Food Logistics Magazine
Unique Operating Model Leads To Success
Wolfgang Marschhauser, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Unique Operating Model Leads To Success
Taking over shop operations and offering customized solutions make Transervice one-of-a-kind.
Transervice Logistics Inc., headquartered in Lake Success, NY, has found a formula that has led to long-term relationships with many of its customers. It begins with decentralization: having people in the field working close to the customer. And while many businesses have field sales and service personnel, the great majority of Transervice employees — 1,150 of the 1,200 people employed by the company — work at the customers’ locations, according to Wolfgang Marschhauser, senior vice president of sales and marketing.
Founded 49 years ago, that was the company’s original business model when it first took over the leasing and maintenance of beverage vehicles for 7-Up and Royal Crown Cola. “Those were our first customers and it was challenging given the nature of their operation. Their vehicles stopped 50 to 60 times a day making deliveries in New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Texas” Marschhauser says. “Our goal was to maintain those trucks and handle their preventive maintenance so they would not have breakdowns.”
The customer always first in line
In 1977, Transervice took over the maintenance of Canada Dry Bottling’s 200 beverage trucks, servicing them out of five locations in the metropolitan New York and New Jersey market. “While Canada Dry (Transervices oldest standing customer) was performing maintenance in-house, it was vending out a substantial portion of its repairs,” Marschhauser says. “We were able to present a financial and operational solution to them under which we would come in and maintain their owned fleet. They continued to own their trucks but we put in the technicians, shop tooling and inventories needed to manage the maintenance of their fleet.”
However, Transervice did not just sweep in and displace the existing maintenance staff; that is not how the company operates. Marschhauser explains, “Our model has always been to look at the people who are already in place because they have experience with the equipment, the industry and are quite familiar with the customer’s operation.”
Having its people on-site “is very important to operate our business successfully,” he says. Transervice goes a step further by empowering the people who are on-site to make decisions so they can satisfy the customer’s needs.
Transervice employees including the management with oversite responsibility act like a department in its customers’ business. “Our managers are in the office next to their managers and our employees participate in strategic planning meetings with our customers,” according to Marschhauser.
Transervice’s goal when taking over an existing shop is to bring process, efficiencies and buying power to the operation. According to Marschhauser, “One big benefit of having Transervice manage a shop is that the customer’s vehicles are “the only priority. They never have to wait in line for service behind someone else’s vehicles. The shops are dedicated to serving that customer’s vehicles only.”
Customized programs for the food service industry
Following its successes in the beverage industry, Transervice branched out into the food market with transportation and fleet operations for Waldbaums and A&P. In 1989 it added Wakefern Food Corp, which is owned by and services ShopRite — the largest retailers’ cooperative group of supermarkets in the U. S. — as a customer. “We operate four locations for them and have close to 200 tractors operating under full-service lease with them,” Marschhauser says.
Transervice offers a full range of options to its customers. In addition to contract maintenance and leasing, it handles warranty administration, safety training, equipment disposal and fuel tax reporting. Dedicated contract carriage is another of the company’s capabilities and that is the same business model it uses with Kroger.
In 1998, the company began servicing its first Kroger location in Indianapolis where it provided maintenance not only for the company’s tractors and trailers but also, for its MHE. Shortly thereafter, it began providing logistical services by employing drivers who distribute Kroger’s goods from the DC to the Kroger stores throughout the region seven days a week.
In 2004, Transervice was awarded Kroger’s King Soopers’ Denver, CO location, which employs 120 drivers and 18 technicians. “The unique thing about this operation is that many of the company’s trailers are parked off site at the old Stapleton Airport, so we service them via specially designed mobile maintenance units,” Marschhauser explains.
In 2007, Transervice added Kroger’s Louisville, KY facility to its customer roster. The company also provides vehicle maintenance, repair and drivers at this location and has created a full logistics partnership.
Through the years, Transervice has continued to build its portfolio of customers in the food service industry, adding vehicle maintenance operations at the Melrose Park, IL operation of Jewel-Osco (a division of Albertsons) in 2011. It also handles maintenance for Western Beef, a grocery and meat distributor with 26 stores in the New York metropolitan area and provides full-service leasing and maintenance for two California locations of Performance Food Group (PFG). Since PFG had no existing shops at these locations, Transervice set up steel canopies under which its technicians work on the vehicles protected from the elements.
This type of flexibility is another factor that differentiates Transervice from its competition. “We customize every one of our locations to the needs of that location,” Marschhauser explains. “We have some customers whose trucks are used on multiple shifts so we may have to staff the shop accordingly, some of which operate 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Others may work Monday through Friday so we will staff on Saturday and Sunday so maintenance can be done when the trucks are not on the road.”
Being involved in the food and beverage industries, Transervice stays up on the vast number of regulatory issues, not only those related to the truck itself but also ones that impact the supply chain. “Managing the food chain is certainly on the top of everybody’s mind,” says Marschhauser. “People want information on their food from farm to plate. They want to know where it is coming from, that it is fresh, safe and of good quality. Obviously, distribution and maintenance have a lot to do with that.”
Technology investments to meet ever-changing needs
Technology plays a huge role to ensure a quality outcome, specifically being able to monitor things like reefer temperature to ensure the foods being transported are kept at the proper temperature throughout their journey.
The trucking industry has responded to many changes related to emissions regulations, including the need for diesel particulate filter and diesel exhaust filters. These add complexity to the vehicle and have resulted in the need for technology investments in the shop in order to service these newer, more complex vehicles effectively.
Transervice helps its customers navigate the spec’ing process to ensure their vehicles comply with regulations, are as fuel efficient as possible and operate in an optimal manner while remaining cost-effective.
Once the proper equipment is procured, Transervice goes to work making sure it is maintained properly and this has meant significant investments in diagnostic tools along with technician training.
“I call them technicians and not mechanics,” Marschhauser says. “So much of what they do revolves around plugging in a computer, reading what the diagnostics tell them, understanding the fault codes and then being able to zoom in and target the repair so that repairs are performed in the most efficient manner.”
The final step in ensuring a cost-effective operation for its customers involves providing appropriate training for its drivers to enhance their driving capability and investing in technology such as collision mitigation, lane departure, anti-rollover software that helps them do their jobs more safely. Transervice can also help its customers with support services such as route optimization and asset utilization as well as data analytics.
“Data is coming from everywhere,” Marschhauser says. “Whether it is the engine, the OBC’s, computerized maintenance records, etc., there is a lot of data available. There are challenges in coordinating all of this data in a meaningful and usable way. Our systems and processes allow us to effectively obtain this information and convert it into executable and beneficial actions”.
For the past 49 years, whether it is helping to optimize fleets, maintaining rolling stock and MHE, leasing equipment or providing drivers, Transervice has been dedicated to creating specialized programs to ensure the success of its customers in the food and beverage industries, as well as those in a host of other industries.
Transervice’s unique operating model – on-site, full disclosure, gain share operations – coupled with its ability to quickly react to changing market needs and customer demands leaves it well positioned to be successful for another half-century.