At Trucks & Parts of Tampa and Trucks & Parts of Pennsylvania, we inspect and document every one of our trucks so that you can see the value that we have added. Jim Churchill is the Truck Shop Manager in Florida and Mike Roberson is the Truck Shop Manager in Pennsylvania. Both are highly trained professionals and they manage this very important process. Not all garbage truck dealers are selling the same value proposition and there is a huge difference between a used truck and a reconditioned truck. This interview will help you understand the important difference between the Truck & Parts companies and the others.
What separates Trucks & Parts from the competition?
Mike Roberson: I look at a truck like I would be driving and working it. I think about it in terms of what matters most to both the owner, as well as the driver of the truck. I want the cabs to be comfortable for the driver and crew since they will be spending a considerable amount of time in there. The air conditioning and radios must work, and the seats need to be in good shape. Also, the refuse body needs to be within specification for optimal route performance and deliver maximum return on investment for the owner. We know how critical the small details can be and we make sure we don’t overlook them.
Jim Churchill: It starts with the purchase. We buy the best, low mileage trucks possible. We pre-inspect them and carefully screen the trucks to ensure we're buying the best trucks. We have an inspection for every phase our trucks go through. We're checking every angle, Carfax, computer history, reviewing service history, etc. Once the truck has been bought, our highly experienced technicians perform a 210 point inspection. Bumper to bumper, roof to pavement, all components inspected and evaluated for functionality and wear. We do all of this to ensure the truck runs, drives and operates to our high standards.
What recent improvements have you made in your truck shop?
Mike Roberson: Our shop in PA just upgraded to Noregon’s JPRO+Next Step truck diagnostic software which allows my staff to see all onboard computers and any faults. It also allows them to access step-by-step repair information and wiring schematics. We also just bought a 10 ton scissor jack and a pair of 12 ton air lift jacks to expand our suspension repair capabilities. Additionally, we recently bought all tools necessary to mount/dismount tires safely and we recently improved our A/C repair equipment. We are constantly adding new tools to the shop to accomplish more.
Jim Churchill: Tampa is investing in software for testing Allison Automatic transmissions, a King Pin press and continued advanced training for our mechanics and technicians. We are constantly working to improve our shop and our processes.
What is your truck shop continually focused on?
Jim Churchill: Two things: Organization and Personnel. We’ve spent a lot time organizing the shop to maximize the work flow. We have systems in place and have structured the shop to follow the process from A to Z in order to build the best-reconditioned garbage truck. We’ve also made big investments in finding and developing quality technicians that are customer focused and performance driven.
Mike Roberson: The shop in Pennsylvania has really focused on our truck inspection processes. We trained our staff to be much more proactive and to a big degree have eliminated surprises with our 210 point initial inspections. As a result, we focus fully on producing the best quality reconditioned garbage truck available.
What gives you the most pride about your truck shop?
Jim Churchill: We have put a tremendous amount of effort in getting our process and procedures in place. And to see them take hold and get the desired results, well that’s extremely satisfying. Our people have really bought into achieving our goals.
Mike Roberson: That’s right. Our people are awesome. From the technician on the shop floor to the ownership, we are constantly challenging each other to improve the processes. Everyone is dedicated to making our operations run more smoothly and turn out a better product for our customer. As a team, it’s been exciting to see great ideas put to practice and benefit both the company and our customers.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Jim Churchill: There is a stark contrast to how repairs are performed at Trucks & Parts compared to the typical refuse fleet setting. I take a lot of pride in my decades of experience in managing the repair and maintenance of refuse trucks. And our goal in both the Tampa and PA shops are to make our reconditioned trucks a reliable asset for years to come. If we deliver a great truck, then we have helped build a long lasting relationship with our customers. When a customer lets us know how happy he is, the finished product gives the team a lot of pride.
Mike Roberson: Delivering great working trucks is very gratifying. Everybody in our truck shops work so hard to pinpoint repairs needed and deliver a great product. We put effort and pride into both the repair and the fit and finish of all the trucks we sell. And we love getting feedback from our customers! I’ve heard many times that our trucks look and drive like new. My favorite compliment is from an owner who personally called me to let me know that the truck he bought was his best truck. Then he put the driver on the phone who let me know that it was his favorite truck. That made my day!