(Minneapolis - August 21, 2008) - Today's trucking industry challenges are great. From skyrocketing fuel prices, to driver shortages, to keeping up with environmental regulations, there's no doubt that it can be a struggle staying profitable and reliable. XTRA Lease has been committed to understanding the big - and little - challenges its customers face since it was first founded in 1992 in order to provide the solutions that will help its customers succeed. Thermo King products, services and partnership are keys to this initiative.
"We've always operated with the philosophy that we're going to provide our customers with quality equipment they want, they trust, and that they would choose themselves if they were going to specify their own trailer," said Dale Frank, XTRA Lease national sales manager, temperature controlled products. "We focus hard when looking at customer issues and then do our best to provide the solutions that will have an impact. Our views are the same as Thermo King's, which is why we work well together as industry partners."
XTRA Lease was created when two regional companies, AJF Leasing and Strick Lease, merged into one national company. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, XTRA Lease has grown to more than 80 locations across the U.S. and Canada, and employs approximately 600 people. The company manages a rental/lease trailer fleet of more than 100,000, approximately 5,000 of which are refrigerated.
As one of the largest trailer leasing companies in North America, XTRA Lease utilizes a philosophy it coined as Streetcorner Strategy, which helps the company maintain a focus on individual customers and their communities at the local XTRA Lease branch level. "This really means that we empower our people to stay connected and build solid relationships with our customers, so that they can make better decisions and recommendations that will make a difference in the customers' lives," explained Ron Kemm, XTRA Lease marketing manager.
Many of the differences XTRA Lease has made for its customers involve Thermo King products. For example, the company chose Thermo King's recently enhanced remote status light and combination display for all of its 2008 refrigerated trailers. "For years, our refrigerated fleet customers have sought a solution to the ongoing and costly problem of out-of-fuel reefer situations," said Frank. "With Thermo King's remote status light and fuel combination display, drivers or operators need only a glance to verify reefer fuel levels and operating status."
"We've specified the first generation product since 2003, but the straightforward design of the enhanced display makes it even easier to read both the reefer status and the fuel level, right from the driver's seat. The improved functionality is what we like best about the revamped product," explained Frank. "Our customers can see the fuel level visually - no language translation is necessary. If they see the fuel level is low, they can shut down the reefer to avoid unscheduled service call-outs for priming or potential battery, alternator or starter damage due to repeated start-up attempts without fuel. Quite simply, it is one little thing we can provide on our refrigerated trailers that can potentially save our customers major expenses. And that means a lot, especially with today's challenging trucking environment."
Other examples of XTRA Lease's driver and load-friendly specifications include Thermo King's SB-210 Whisper edition refrigeration units and SR-2 (Smart Reefer 2) microprocessors, safety grip heavy duty duct reefer floors, and stainless steel door track protectors. When it comes to damage-resistant construction, XTRA Lease trailers are hard to beat. The company includes thermoplastic interior wall and ceiling linings, fluted aluminum scuffs, Thermo King's PrimAir return air bulkheads with screen kits, hat-shaped crossmembers, heavy duty pallet stop assemblies, and forklift protection packages.
Low life-cycle maintenance costs are also a consideration. XTRA Lease utilizes LED exterior trailer lighting, extended life brake linings, self-lubricating landing gears and synthetic wheel-end lubricant on its trailers. The reefer unit is equipped with extended life coolant with silicone coolant hoses. Additionally, XTRA Lease regularly performs electronic pre-trip inspections on its reefer units and adheres to preventive maintenance schedules with service provided by Thermo King's extensive dealer network to ensure reliability for its customers.
And of course, reduced customer costs and improved productivity are key goals. "We were an early adopter of Thermo King's electronic throttling valve (ETV) option with OptiSetTM because it makes such a difference in fuel saving, protects sensitive loads from top freezing and offers faster pre-cooling," explained Frank. XTRA Lease also provides, often with Thermo King's assistance, customized driver, loader, basic refrigeration, risk management, and unit operation training. In addition, XTRA Lease prides itself in fast trailer pick-up times (usually within 15 minutes) and in upholding no mark-up repair cost standards that do not take advantage of the customer.
"We don't believe in damage re-bill mark-ups and, in fact, don't re-bill customers for 24 different items we consider nuisance repairs," said Kemm. "Our customers have told us about their frustrations in this area with other leasing companies - basically being nickeled and dimed for normal wear and tear items. We don't believe that this should be a profit center, and our customers appreciate this."
No doubt XTRA Lease's progressive - and proactive - approach to solving customer problems has served the company well. Its success has everything to do with solid relationships and partnerships with customers and industry providers. "We value our partnership with Thermo King and its dealers," said Frank. "Their willingness and ability to help solve and provide temperature control solutions to our customers are so appreciated, and we could not function without Thermo King's dealers, who service our equipment and support us locally. We feel our similar philosophies and goals have really brought value to our customers and this industry."
Thermo King Corporation, a business unit of diversified industrial firm Ingersoll-Rand Company Limited, was founded in 1938 and manufactures transport temperature control systems for a variety of mobile applications, including trailers, truck bodies, buses, shipboard containers and railway cars. The company operates 10 manufacturing facilities and 17 parts distribution centers worldwide. Sales and service is provided by a global dealer network of 865 independently owned companies in 75 countries. For more information, access the Thermo King web site at www.thermoking.com.
Thermo King Corporation, a business unit of diversified industrial firm Ingersoll Rand Company Limited, was founded in 1938 and manufactures transport temperature control systems for a variety of mobile applications, including trailers, truck bodies, buses, shipboard containers and railway cars. The company operates 10 manufacturing facilities and 17 parts distribution centers worldwide. Sales and service is provided by a global dealer network of 865 independently owned companies in 75 countries.
Mike O'Brien, Thermo King Corporation