Whether you need a single quart of oil, or a completely custom-fabricated truck with hundreds of specialty products and modifications, Auto Truck Group has what you need when you need it.
Auto Truck’s broad scope of services and numerous locations demand that an extensive array of products and equipment be available, not only for new vehicle upfits, but for maintenance, repairs and alterations projecting years into the future. On top of that is the incredible variety of parts and equipment that come into play when you consider how different an upfit on a police cruiser destined for the interior of Alaska is from an upfit on a mechanic’s truck for a transcontinental railroad. That diversity of tasks, environments and industries is the reason why Auto Truck maintains over a hundred thousand product skus in its system.
Developing trends, technologies and regulations have a strong influence on the products and materials Auto Truck carries. According to Neil Garlock, Materials Manager for Auto Truck, it’s not difficult to add a thousand new products to their inventory list over the course of a year. Having a strong relationship with the NTEA enables Auto Truck to foresee coming changes and adapt their product lines and material sources accordingly. Issues such as emissions, fuel reduction, weight restrictions and safety improvements are major determinants of the materials and equipment used in many fleet upfits. “Fuel and weight are extremely important to our customers – both our design and engineering departments work to provide a number of viable solutions to meet a customer’s particular specs.” Customers’ tastes change as well, adds Garlock. “Every truck or car we upfit is someone’s tool, they sit in it all day long, so it has to be how they want it.”
Looking back at purchasing records for 2012, Auto Truck offered products sourced from more than two-thousand different suppliers, in addition to the numerous parts and assemblies they fabricate in their own metal shop. “We can build a lot of our own products like stairs and tool boxes," Garlock adds. On average approximately 25-30 different suppliers can be involved in a vehicle upfit. A couple of hundred products get installed on a typical police build, while as many as 400-500 products might be installed on a large railroad truck. “Some suppliers may be able to supply all the equipment for a particular vehicle or job, but we only want the equipment they are the best at,” points out Garlock.
Major product categories include:
Coolant & Air Heaters
Fuel Usage Management Systems
GPS & Telematics
Power Take Off (PTO) Systems
Railroad Safety Equipment
Signage and Graphics
Snow Removal Equipment
Garlock works closely with his internal partners from the company’s engineering department, production department and sales department as well as with external supply partners to make sure that supply and demand are in sync across all nine Auto Truck locations. “We have a huge advantage in that we can move inventory from one location to another, or move work from one facility to another. That flexibility means that no matter what’s going on in one region of the country, whether it’s a big storm, or a packed production schedule, we’ll adjust in order to have the right chassis, the right equipment and the necessary labor in place to execute.”
Similarly, Garlock’s department also works to provide quick turn-around on parts and equipment needed by the thirty or so Auto Truck mobile field service technicians located across North America. The field technicians respond to emergency road service calls as well as perform on-site routine vehicle maintenance. If a vehicle breaks down on the road or jobsite, the technician first tries to diagnose the problem over the phone and orders the parts he thinks he will need, either directly from the manufacturer, or from the Bartlett, IL facility. “However, once he‘s in the field he may see something else. We’ll get him whatever he needs, whether it’s a package delivered by UPS to his hotel room, or a big piece of machinery sent on a flatbed truck to wherever the vehicle is”, Garlock adds.
Auto Truck’s material resource planning (MRP) software allows Garlock to see which items are in-demand and to plan inventory purchases ahead of time, keeping a ready supply of high-moving items, such as snow plow parts, stocked throughout the busy winter season. Each facility has storage and warehouse capabilities, with some items being more territory-driven, but with a degree of overlap so that common products are easily and quickly obtained.
Auto Truck customers can view and order products by visiting the Auto Truck website or by calling at 1-877-284-4440.