When Darin McClure sits down with a customer, one of the first subjects he raises is cost per mile. “Many of our customers haven’t calculated a CPM that takes into account all of the costs of running trucks to support their businesses,” says the leasing account manager at Maudlin Idealease. “Our customers are not generally in the trucking business, so we use our expertise to show them how to determine a true CPM and how to use that information to [deploy] the right equipment.”
Headquartered in Orlando, Maudlin Idealease is the leasing division of Maudlin, a network of five full-service medium- and heavy-duty truck centers located in central and northeast Florida. The Maudlin lease fleet has about 250 trucks in inventory, and there is a rental fleet of about 60 units. The majority of McClure’s medium-duty lease vehicles are Class 7 models. “Most of our full-service lease customers are companies with corporate fleets,” McClure relates.
“They include manufacturing operations that use trucks for wholesale distribution; food, beverage and auto parts distributors; and equipment rental and industrial supply operations. What they have in common is that they don’t own fleet assets and they don’t have company vehicle maintenance operations.”
McClure explains further that while most Maudlin Idealease customers are focused on what it costs to operate trucks, when they look at CPM, they often overlook factors that are unrelated to their business needs. “For example,” he says, “a customer may tell us what it costs for the truck, the general maintenance, and the fuel. But when we dig deeper, we find many haven’t included costs such as tires, towing, extra rentals, or other maintenance-related items.”
Maudlin’s approach, McClure notes, begins with determining operational needs so the right truck is spec’d for the work it will do. Simultaneously, the lessor works to spec components that lower operating and maintenance costs, and to develop cost-effective service programs based on each customer’s needs.
An idea that McClure has sold to several customers over the past four years is a case in point. “We’re converting customers from manual to automated transmissions,” he says. “It’s actually easy once we show them that they will see a fuel economy improvement of up to 2 mpg and that maintenance costs will be lower because there’s no clutch and because the transmissions do not require scheduled service for 500,000 mi.,” he continues. “Most of our medium-duty fleet customers are running trucks for about 50,000 mi. a year, so the transmissions will never need service under a typical five- or six-year lease.”
Several Maudlin Idealease customers are now operating trucks with Eaton UltraShift Highway Value (HV) automated transmissions. One food distribution customer that converted its entire fleet to the automated gearboxes a few years ago now has 75,000 to 125,000 mi. on its vehicles.
The UltraShift HV transmission is a fully automated gearbox for Class 6 and 7 vehicles with diesel engines in the 195- to 260-hp. range. It is capable of handling torque capacities up to 660 lbs.-ft.
“Spec’ing the truck is actually a fairly simple task,” McClure says. “We really focus on how we support our customers with scheduled maintenance, repair services, tire programs, and parts pricing. Internally, we assign customers a single point of contact— people who know their business and are accountable for any issues.”
“Reduced CPM for commercial vehicles is based on true costs,” adds McClure. “Our goal is to start every customer with a truck that will let them move goods at the lowest cost, and to support them at every step along the way.”