Hauling beef and frozen foods, Dallas TX-based JS Helwig & Son LLC knows all about the importance of delivering on time. Its customers, primarily on the East Coast, have tight deadlines—and even tighter areas for deliveries.
“So that’s a two-fold issue we stay on top of,” said John Whiteside, safety and maintenance director for JS Helwig & Son. “Our Kenworth and Peterbilts need to be dependable, and our tires and tire program have to keep us moving to avoid downtime. We have a 99.5% on-time delivery rate, and we aim to keep it that way.”
Since instituting a tire program with Heintschel Tire (a Goodyear dealer in Royse City TX), the company has seen its tire costs go down while its service performance has gone up. “It’s been a combination of running tires that are getting uniform wear and longer miles to removal, coupled with fast emergency service on the road to minimize downtime,” said Whiteside. “Plus, we’re paying the same for tires on the road as we are at home, and that’s a major cost savings for us.”
JS Helwig & Son—which has 60 company tractors, 130 reefer trailers, and 28 owner-operators—has been using Goodyear’s fleetHQ program since January and has seen the time it takes for a tire service call drop by nearly half.
“We’re a small fleet, but we’re getting the dividends of a national account program through the fleetHQ program,” said Whiteside. “Previously, if a driver had a tire issue on the road, he’d call our dispatch and we’d do an Internet search to try and find help. On average, it was about four hours of downtime, plus lost time for our dispatcher in handling the breakdown. What’s more, we’d pay up to double the price we’d pay at home for the tire, and often, we were stuck compromising on the tire—not matching up with the brand and model we were running. Our emergency tire program really consisted of gritting our teeth.”
Whiteside said the fleetHQ program has reduced stress, downtime, and costs for the company. “The proof is in the pudding. Our downtime now averages around two hours, and our dispatcher no longer is involved in finding help as fleetHQ has it all mapped out. We get tires that match what we run, and we pay the same price for that tire as we do at home, and the bill comes to us through Heintschel Tire, which reviews and makes sure we’re properly billed. Plus, there is no incidence fee for using the service,” he said.
Whiteside said he even promotes the program to his owner-operators. “They can join in with us, and many have. We’ve been running Dunlop SP 384s on the steer position, and the Dunlop SP 453 on the drive position, and getting up to 30% more miles to removal than the tires that came standard on our trucks. So we’ve been incredibly pleased with their performance. Now, when we call fleetHQ, those tires are the protocol for replacement. We get what we need, not what the tire people have. If our owner-operators join in, they get the benefit of fleetHQ and we rebill them for the Dunlop tires at our price. It’s a win-win situation.”