The very nature of the household goods moving industry presents unique fleet management challenges for Daryl Flood Relocation & Logistics, notes Jason Smith, director of fleet services. Founded by its namesake in 1982, the Mayflower Transit agent operates from three facilities in Dallas, Houston and Austin, TX. The company fleet, which is pulled by dedicated owner-operators, consists of more than 130 trailers.
“We understand that schedules are important to our customers,” Smith relates, “but driver on-duty time can be limited under the new hours-of-service rules. That’s where we not only have to educate drivers, we also have to change our customers’ perspective.”
The advent of CSA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) safety initiative, has also changed the way Daryl Flood operates. “We travel in residential areas where there are obstacles that over-the-road truckers don’t usually face, like low hanging tree limbs and obstacles on private property,” Smith says. “Under CSA those types of incidents count, so we are constantly evaluating what it takes to improve safety.”
For that reason, Daryl Flood subscribes to Vigillo CSA Scorecards provided under a program set up by Mayflower. “The scorecards, including daily updates on CSA inspections, help us understand our scores and identify problem violations within our pool of drivers and compare [those] to other groups within Mayflower,” Smith explains. “We also use the Vigillo Driver Data Manager to upload driver lists, and define and break down scores into groups that reflect our business.”
Nothing is left to chance either when it comes to equipment that sports the Daryl Flood name. “We try to help owner-operators make effective
choices,” Smith states. “At our annual driver meeting, we bring in a tractor supplier to provide an overview of the latest technologies. We also make maintenance recommendations and strictly enforce inspection requirements.”
Smith describes the more than 130 Kentucky Trailer moving vans in the Daryl Flood fleet, which are assigned to drivers, as “exceptionally new.” The average trailer used in Interstate service in the fleet is a 2010 model. Built for moving household and office goods, the drop-frame vans have side doors and belly boxes, air-ride suspensions, and in the newest units there are six interior LED lights. Recent trailer purchases include lighter weight specs.
“We’ve cut our empty trailer weight by about 3,000 lbs. in the past few years,” Smith reports. “Spec changes call for eliminating the rearmost belly box and the spare tire carrier. We’ve also moved to a vinyl interior lining, which is lighter than plywood. In addition, we now specify translucent roof panels, which are not only lighter but provide light during the day and are easier and less costly to repair.”
Daryl Flood also focuses on tires, which are susceptible to damage from scrubbing and curbing. Specs call for 19.5-in. radials for low bed, high cube operations, including Michelin XTA 2 Energy and Continental models, and new trailers are being fitted with the Meritor Tire Inflation System by PSI.
A new challenge that Daryl Flood is addressing is the pending mandate for electronic onboard recorders
(EOBRs). “We’re not planning to wait until FMCSA creates the actual regulation and an implementation timetable,” Smith states. “We’re already discussing EOBRs with drivers and considering whether to buy the units and lease them to our operators.
“We believe in making forward-thinking investments in technology,” Smith concludes. “At the end of the day, it’s our operating authority and our reputation that are most valuable.”