The way companies manage their fleet can determine the success of the business going forward. As fleet management becomes more challenging, coupled with the shortage of qualified technicians and complexities of new engine technology, having a reliable lease and maintenance partner ensures vehicles are running on all cylinders.
For North American Transport Services (NATS), overcoming these challenges allows the company to grow its business and meet customer expectations while focusing on safety, driver retention, equipment utilization, and creating a business friendly workplace for everyone in the organization.
Founded in 2004 in Miami, Florida, NATS is a short to medium haul truckload company that transports 100 percent dry freight across the eastern and mid-western United States. When the company began, it owned three vehicles. And, their maintenance was performed by dealers. Then, they started performing maintenance at a facility they managed at their location on their fleet of 30 owned vehicles.
However, like most companies, NATS didn’t go into business to deal with the day to day management of their fleet. And, the decision to outsource became increasingly important as they wanted to grow their business.
In 2010, as the company was focused on growing its footprint, mechanical breakdowns created immense downtime for the fleet and it was affecting business. To overcome this, NATS decided to outsource its fleet with Ryder.
“The key factor in the decision to partner with Ryder was growth, reliability, and the insights Ryder provides into our fleet,” says Damian Diaz, president of NATS. “We thought, ‘how do we grow and keep running our trucks reliably?’”
NATS, began by leasing five vehicles from Ryder through its Ryder ChoiceLease Full Service solution. At the time NATS still ran its on-site maintenance location for the remainder of its fleet. However in 2012, as the NATS business and its fleet grew so did its fleet maintenance solution. Ryder began to manage the two-bay, on-site maintenance facility at the NATS location. Ryder technicians and service managers began providing full service maintenance to the entire NATS fleet of tractors and trailers.
“We had many deficiencies on the maintenance of our vehicles,” said Diaz. “Maintenance is a fundamental part of any trucking company, but presents its own challenges. We were facing challenges such as shop organization efficiencies, parts, liability insurance, employee payroll, and we could not get a grasp of these key objectives.
“So, we decided to expand our partnership with Ryder to include on-site maintenance and management of our service facility.”
As part of the solution, Ryder implemented state-of-the-art diagnostics equipment and tools to the facility, created the in-house maintenance team by working with NATS to analyze its operations and identify its needs, and developed an employee staffing and training program, as well as an equipment provision plan.
“The advantages of having Ryder On-Site Maintenance is we perform maintenance 24/7, a service manager is always on call, and our procurement ability for parts,” says Jason Diaz, Director National Accounts at Ryder. “The uptime and reliability are key for NATS, and more importantly they've been able to add additional units to the shop where now they have a good a budget ability for the month and they can focus on running their business.”
Since partnering with Ryder in 2010, NATS has grown its fleet to 450 vehicles, all leased through Ryder and maintained at the Ryder On-Site Maintenance facility. As the partnership focuses on continuous improvement and growth, the Ryder and NATS teams meet weekly to review metrics, and discuss the company’s needs for the next week. As a result of the collaboration between the two teams, and the Ryder On-Site Fleet Maintenance solution, NATS was able to improve efficiency, maximize uptime, optimize transportation costs, and focus more time on its core business strengths.
“We have increased uptime and equipment utilization, and this is associated with a set of parameters associated with Ryder controlling the on-site maintenance facility,” says Damian Diaz. “Because of this we have improved scheduled maintenance and repair of our units, maximized shop efficiencies and organization by providing a turnaround time of less than 24 hours, and we have significantly less truck breakdowns allowing us to have more trucks available to our customers and to our drivers.
“Choosing a partner like Ryder, which has a lot of experience in managing on-site service facilities, is a peace of mind that I will recommend to any company.”