Strategic Partnerships Pay Dividends

Maximizing uptime with partnerships

It’s a scenario that every fleet or maintenance manager dreads. The typically hectic day is over and it’s time to settle in for some family time or relaxation, or maybe even watching the big game live on television. Then the cell phone rings. There’s a truck down with an engine issue, and it is a long way from one of your facilities.

It’s got a critical load and it needs to get back on the road - now. It’s a problem, and it’s now your problem.

But if you’ve partnered with the right suppliers and vendors, you may not have to shoulder the problem alone.


It’s Super Bowl Sunday, 9 at night, and a new truck is broken down because of an engine failure in Pine Bluff, AR, says Bill Mueller, Quality Carriers’ service center manager for the company’s facility in Pleasant Prairie, WI. “Who do I call? I don’t want an 800 number. I want to talk to a service manager.”

You would be hard pressed to find a fleet or maintenance manager that does not share Mueller’s wishes. When the unexpected arises and emergencies happen, everybody wants somebody to call.

For Mueller, that somebody is often Bob Kranzusch, service advisor at JX Peterbilt - Wadsworth in Wadsworth, IL. He is the first point of contact for Mueller and his Quality Carriers’ terminal.

JX Peterbilt is a subsidiary of JX Enterprises, headquartered in Waukesha, WI.. Founded in 1970, JX Enterprises operates 15 medium and heavy duty truck dealerships operating as JX Truck Center and JX Peterbilt in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.


While the unexpected is a way of life for every fleet and maintenance manager, unplanned downtime takes on particular urgency for Quality Carriers.

The just-in-time carrier has a strong customer base with automotive and equipment manufacturers, transporting high-quality primers, paints and finishes. If product isn’t where it needs to be when it needs it be, entire assembly lines can come to a halt and disrupt production.

Quality Carriers is the liquid and dry bulk transportation division of Tampa, FL-based Quality Distribution. It is the largest bulk transportation company in North America with more than 7,500 stainless steel tankers and customized trailers and more than 3,300 tractors. The company runs in Canada, Mexico and the contiguous U.S.

Quality Distribution has terminals throughout the U.S. and Canada, including the one run by Mueller. It is the company’s largest, and its original terminal, in operation for more than 50 years.


In addition to customers needing their loads fast, they also need them clean. Just as a late load can shut down an assembly line, so can a contaminated one.

“Cleanliness is critical,” says Mueller. “Not only do we move products in bulk, but we also take care of all the equipment from the tractors to the tank liners.

“We have a state-of-the-art cleaning facility onsite to ensure our customers receive the highest-quality products that are free from any imperfections.”

With the exceptionally high standards demanded by Quality Carriers’ customers, it is no wonder the company demands the same of its suppliers. That’s where the team at JX Peterbilt comes in.


While the partnership, which is proving mutually beneficial for both dealer and carrier, was a long time in developing. It took nearly 10 years and regular calls from the dealership’s sales team to get a shot at the business and required a commitment to a full-service approach that could not be compromised.

Mueller explains he was investigating parts and service sources that were closer to his terminal as his existing suppliers were both 60 miles away in opposite directions. He knew of the JX Peterbilt dealership in Wadsworth which was less than five miles away.

“I always keep an open mind to bring vendors in and listen to what they have to say because I’m a believer in the latest technologies,” he says. “So in talking with JX, and having lived the life of a maintenance manager and being an ASE-certified master technician, I knew the value of a good, strong local dealership.

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