For the North Canton, OH-based Kenan Advantage Group (KAG), specifications and maintenance practices are key elements in ensuring safety remains a top priority for North America's largest bulk transportation provider to the petroleum, specialty products, and merchant gas industries.

“Our equipment is purchased to meet our needs for durability, efficiency, low cost of ownership, and safety,” says R.J. Molder, vice president of fleet services at KAG. “Considering the petroleum and chemical products we haul, we're especially focused on setting the bar for highway safety.”

KAG serves customers from about 125 terminals and 175 satellite locations in 38 states with a fleet of 5,000 tractors and 6,000 trailers. The Fuels Delivery Group, which is the largest component of its business, handles over 25 billion gals. of refined petroleum products and renewable fuels annually. The company's Specialty Products Group services chemical manufacturers and producers of liquid food products, while its Merchant Gas Group transports industrial gases.

The company's focus on safety includes spec'ing Bendix ESP (electronic stability control) with ATC roll stability control systems on its Volvo, Mack and Peterbilt tractors. “We've also been adding Bendix Wingman for its adaptive cruise control features on new power units and using onboard recorders to report events related to roll stability,” Molder says. “That information helps improve and change driver behavior.”

On its LBT fuel tankers, KAG is addressing safety with Haldex ABS and trailer rollover stability systems and by spec'ing models with the lowest possible center of gravity. Double conical or tapered barrels keep the load as close to the ground as possible, Molder explains, and a 77.5-in. track axle improves stability by widening the footprint of the trailer.

PRESERVING TRACTOR LIFE

KAG tractors are kept in service for at least 700,000 mi. before replacement, and any vehicle that receives a major overhaul may be operated for an additional two years. “We have a very comprehensive preventive maintenance program for our equipment, and we're using technology to manage those activities more effectively than ever before,” Molder says.

KAG's maintenance program is managed in each business unit by a regional maintenance supervisor and a lead technician or supervisor at each shop. A centrally located fleet services administrator oversees all work. A large number of inspection, maintenance and repair transactions take place for the fleet in various locations, so ensuring a consistent level of service customized to the fleet's specific requirements and needs is essential.

Central to that effort at KAG is MVASIST, the Internet-based system from Volvo Trucks North America developed by Decisiv. The service management platform holds all fleet- and truck-specific information and communication about service events in online folders, regardless of where service is performed.

For outside work, MVASIST provides dealer personnel with information on warranty, previous service events and established parts pricing. The MV Preferred Fleet-Purchasing program from Volvo Trucks and Mack Trucks provides parts, maintenance and repairs and roadside assistance.

With Decisiv's help, KAG has developed a “Kenan Inspection” in MVASIST. Required anytime a company tractor is at a company shop or dealership for service, the inspection covers tires, lights, seat belts, and safety equipment.

KAG also uses TMT Fleet Maintenance software from TMW Systems, which is fully integrated with MVASIST to incorporate data from internal and external service events.

“As we continue to experience steady growth,” Molder says, “specifying new equipment and effectively managing and maintaining it is increasingly important for ensuring lower costs, higher reliability and most importantly uncompromised safety.”