Lindsay Transport have chosen the Mack Super-Liner as one of their prime movers of choice for their long-distance interstate line-haul fleet.
With eleven Super-Liners in operation and ten more on order, the Super-Liner ticks all the boxes for most applications for Rob Dummer, Lindsay's General Manager Operations.
"We've got the Super-Liners on the Bundaberg-Melbourne run," says Rob, "and we've been running them hard. The first batch has been in service for almost a year and they've already done over half a million kilometres."
The Super-Liners transport fresh produce in refrigerated trailers. Delivering to major food chains, they operate on a just-in-time schedule that tolerates no delays or breakdowns.
"The area we cover is huge," says Rob, "and each truck is booked in for its next load before it has delivered the last. The trucks never stop, each one will have six or seven different drivers in it over a week, and we're covering around 10,000 kilometres a week."
With an industry average of less than half that mileage, Rob is really putting the Super-Liners through their paces, and they've risen to the challenge.
"Their reliability has been excellent," he says, "I can't say a bad thing about them. They're good value for money and the driver acceptance has also been very high. It's a smooth ride, in fact with the MP10 and the mDRIVE automated manual transmission it's just like driving a big car. All the gear changes are very smooth, which means the drivers can concentrate on the road."
With a fleet of 200-plus trucks running nationwide, fuel efficiency is a matter of prime importance to Rob and a major factor in their decision to buy the Super-Liner.
"We compared what the Mack MP10 engine was getting against the competition," says Rob, "and we liked what we saw. We spend over $40 million a year on diesel, so the smallest improvement in fuel consumption has a big impact. If we can get just one truck up from 1.7 kilometres-per-litre to 1.8, that equates to a $15,000 saving on that truck per year. Now multiply that by 200 plus and you can see why we like the Super-Liner's fuel efficiency."
Rob is also keenly aware of the effect of driver behaviour on fuel consumption, and is bringing in Mack's driver trainers to train his own trainers.
"We've got driver trainers of our own," says Rob, "but we're always willing to learn, and Mack are great at sharing information. With the mDRIVE transmission, drivers have less impact on fuel consumption, but training still has considerable effect on fuel consumption.
"A big positive for me about working with Mack is the people," says Rob, "they really are like a big family, and I know I can call anyone, including Dean Bestwick the vice-president, whenever I want to have a chat. There are no restrictions and they're all very open and friendly."
Rob also discovered that Mack are responsive when it comes to making modifications or meeting specific requirements.
"We run our business in some unique ways and we have particular technical requests," says Rob, "but Mack have handled everything we've thrown at them promptly. I might ask them to lower the air intakes or move the batteries to a new position and a typical response I get from them is "'Yep, no problem, it's already on the production line'."
The Super-Liners are currently running at 600hp, but Rob is beginning a trial comparing how they go at 685hp.
"I can do this sort of thing because I know I can call Mack and ask them to set the trucks up however I want them. Once we've worked out the optimal horsepower they'll set all the trucks to that. That kind of responsiveness is worth a lot to me and to the company."
As part of the purchasing process, Mack took Rob over to the American Powertrain facility in Hagerstown, Maryland.
"I haven't even been to the plant at Wacol in Queensland yet, but seeing the factory in the US gave me lot of confidence in the product and the brand. They're very proud of their history and the dedication to quality was clear to see. Mack's a company that's been around for a long time and they're clearly here for the long term. From the perspective of an Australian owned-and-operated company, having a local manufacturing facility is important. Lindsay is growing, and we'll be expecting Mack to grow with us."
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