Looking back, Manny Rangel, president of Amigos Logistics, the transportation arm for Amigos Foods, said the writing was on the wall. But at the time, he just didn’t know it.
Rental trucks are what he is referring to–specifically how the quality of rentals are a leading indicator of the quality of leased units and the service a full-service leasing company provides.
“It was a lesson learned after leasing and renting from three different full-service leasing companies,” said Rangel. “I found rental trucks to be a big indicator of the type of service and equipment performance you can expect from a full-service lease provider.”
As one of the largest Hispanic food distributors in the nation, Amigos Foods offers a full line of meat, seafood, and cheese products. The Chicago IL branch location is growing rapidly with a fleet of 30 trucks delivering within the Chicago area, as well as to distributors as far away as New York. The majority of its heavy and medium-duty trucks are now leased from Paccar Leasing’s (PacLease) Chicago store.
“At one time, we were leasing and renting from three different companies, but one stood out—and that was PacLease,” said Rangel. “Looking back, that’s really no surprise. If you look at PacLease’s rental trucks, they’re all well-spec’d and late-model vehicles. The other leasing companies had older, termed-out lease units as their rental trucks. There was a huge difference in philosophy when it came to offering quality rentals and customer service. It was evident who was more interested in keeping their customers running.”
For local deliveries, the company operates nine medium-duty trucks with 24-foot reefer van bodies. Most are Peterbilt Model 337s leased from PacLease, but Amigos recently put into service a new Model 220 cabover.
“PacLease knew we had some tight areas in Chicago and suggested the Model 220 would be a great fit,” said Rangel. “So we put one into service with a 24-ft refrigerated van body, and it’s working very well. Because of its cabover design, the turning radius is outstanding, and it’s just what we needed. We just had another delivered and have one more on order.”
Amigos Foods delivers to grocery stores and restaurants with each truck typically making 10 to 12 stops per day. A few of the Peterbilt medium-duty trucks make runs to Indianapolis IN, which is close to 200 miles away.
For long-haul deliveries, the food distributor covers all bordering states as well as states between Illinois and New York some 800 miles away.
“New York is a growing market for us and it works well since we can make a delivery, then back haul seafood from the East Coast for Midwest distribution,” said Rangel.
Amigos Foods has put into service two aerodynamic trucks: Kenworth’s T680 and Peterbilt’s Model 386. Each of the truck models is equipped with 76-inch sleepers and powered by the Paccar MX-13 engine rated at 485 horsepower. Three are mated with 13-speed transmissions to operate better in hilly states, while the rest of the fleet runs with 10-speeds.
“We’re getting better fuel economy now, and we went beyond our standard spec with these trucks by adding disc brakes, traction control, and more driver comfort options,” said Rangel. “Prior to leasing with PacLease, we were restricted in the options that came with the trucks.”
Also making an impression on Rangel was the attention to detail in the building of Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks.
“PacLease invited us to tour the Kenworth Chillicothe assembly plant to see how trucks were built,” he said. “It was very impressive, and while we were there, we talked about different options that could help improve safety and reduce costs. I hadn’t realized the extent to which we could customize our leased trucks. There certainly is an advantage to leasing from a company that has direct ties to the truck manufacturer.”
Rangel said once those trucks were delivered, PacLease took the initiative to come out to their office and instruct the drivers on how to get the most out of the trucks—including proper shifting and other operating procedures.
With maintenance included in the full-service lease, Rangel said PacLease has been very proactive to ensure maximum uptime.
“Ultimately that’s the key for our operation,” Rangel said. “We have delivery commitments that we must meet and when we first opened our branch in 2001, we operated our own small fleet. However, breakdowns with our owned equipment hampered our ability for consistent deliveries, and then we had to find replacement vehicles. Leasing has solved that problem since PacLease is responsible for maintenance, and they provide a replacement unit if there is ever a need. The quality of the rental replacement vehicles are very impressive—they’re late-model Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks that our drivers are proud to operate.”
As for rentals, Rangel said PacLease has been quick to step up to the plate when new delivery routes come on board.
“In some cases they’ll provide us with a rental, but in other cases, they help us grow and service new accounts with short-term lease units. This gives us flexibility and the immediate transportation equipment we need. We have been very impressed with the quality of service and equipment we have received from PacLease,” he said.
Paccar Leasing is a part of the financial services group of Paccar Inc. More details can be found at www.paccar.com.