Fleet managers become super heroes with multi-facetted support

5th September 2017
Lanna Cooper


It can be a challenge keeping one hard-working vehicle on the road and operating efficiently, but when it comes to running a large fleet, superhuman effort is required by all concerned. Fleet managers can drive efficiency into their procedures by using suppliers that offer a wide portfolio of products, backed up with experience, expertise and excellent customer service.

Companies only get to operate large fleets of vehicles if they are successful, that is to say if they are committed to their markets and customers and put in every effort to build a reputation for trust and excellence. To do this it is essential that the fleet managers drive efficiency into all their operations - strategic, day-to-day and emergency response. They must also have unwavering support and expert advice from loyal and capable suppliers.

Typically, a large fleet will be based on modern vehicles, each run to a life plan based on its expected mileage and actual distance driven, to help ensure operational reliability. Most trucks are worked hard, clocking up long miles in demanding conditions, so the equipment fitted to them has to be robust and reliable. Innovations that help improve efficiency are appreciated, and they must be backed with excellent service, both technical and commercial. Thus fleet managers must identify appropriate equipment and built strong relations with suppliers.

However, there is a possibility that this can lead to a large number of individual suppliers, which would create a considerable workload in terms of managing each relationship. One way for fleet operators to bring efficiency to supply management is to use suppliers with wide ranging product portfolios that can satisfy many equipment needs.

As a national and international organisation, JOST can supply all the equipment needed on the underside of trailers as a ‘one stop shop’, plus related high-level advice, service and support. Founded over 65 years ago, JOST has built up a worldwide manufacturing infrastructure and has created a comprehensive product range by both developing products in-house and by strategic acquisitions of other companies to gain complementary equipment ranges.

Further by focussing on quality, of both product and service, JOST aims to set standards that others aspire to. To maintain this level of quality JOST has created a centre of excellence at its UK head quarters in Bolton, Lancashire, which is constantly looking for ways to further improve efficiency, service and performance. One of its well-proven innovations, for example is the on-line technical centre, where users can access a wide range of documents relating to Edbro cylinders and parts including operator manuals, product specifications, service information, spare parts info, drawings and serial numbers. This can be accessed from anywhere at any time to aid with diagnostics and decision making.

From top to bottom JOST has solutions that can meet the needs of the most demanding fleet operators. Its core products range from telescopic landing legs through kingpins, fifth wheels, sliders, ball bearing turntables and slewing rings, all of which can be fitted with associated sensors and lubrication systems. For intermodal transport operations JOST can supply container locks, twist locks, bolsters, lifting frames for body swaps and airbag lifting devices. JOST is always keen to promote its spare wheel holders and its comprehensive range of other equipment.

The JOST product range is organised into four brands: JOST, ROCKINGER, TRIDEC and EDBRO. The JOST brand includes fifth wheel couplings, telescopic landing legs, ball bearing turntables, kingpins, container locks and components for intermodal systems. ROCKINGER produces towing hitches and drawbars for both road and agricultural vehicles. TRIDEC is well known around the world for its mechanical and hydraulic steering systems and pneumatic and hydraulic suspension. EDBRO is the leading manufacturer of lightweight, reliable tipping gear.

Importantly JOST is now also home to JOST Axle Systems, engineered by Mercedes Benz. This was formerly DCA (Daimler Chrysler Axles) and builds complete modular axle systems which, from a small number of standard components, an almost infinite number of axle designs can be configured to meet the exact needs of each vehicle. Coupled with a legendary reputation for unsurpassed quality, this system ensures reliability, performance and low lifecycle costs.

“Our wide product range means fleet managers can meet many of their needs through a single supply line,” explained Jannine Burt, Regional Fleet Manager for JOST UK. “Many of the JOST products can be offered with optional extras or innovations that enhance their performance. For instance, fifth wheels can be fitted with automatic lubrication and a safety sensor, landing gear and hydraulic tipping systems can be customised to each vehicle and the axle systems have integral disc brakes and suspension.

“As well as first class equipment, JOST provides second-to-none customer service, with advantageous commercial arrangements and an army of highly experienced technical experts,” said Burt.

In terms of service, JOST has a national and international network of service agents. With local support available internationally, JOST develops a strong partnership with each client. JOST actively nurtures and invests in it service network to create a team that can fully support each individual vehicle, while also helping the fleet managers develop their medium and long term strategies.

An example of this support came recently when JOST was asked to visit a client and recommend some remedial work to a trailer’s landing legs. The JOST manager appreciated from the outset that for maximum efficiency trailers need to be in full working order, so was prepared to go the extra mile to make sure operations could continue. Arriving on site early in the morning, the manager assessed the legs and realised that replacing them would be the quickest way to get the trailer back on the road. He immediately organised delivery of suitable new legs and a qualified JOST technician, who got straight on with the job. As a result the trailer was soon back on the road and the old legs were returned to their original manufacturer.

With landing gear, couplings, tipping systems, axles, steering and suspension JOST offers a “whole vehicle concept’’ service. Burt sumed up: “The quality and reliability of our products, along with the support of JOST’s technical team, give managers of large fleets day to day peace of mind, allowing them concentrate on other aspects of their demanding jobs.”

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