Kenworth PremierCare Connect helps produce company control costs

Once a year, Proffer Produce Owner and President Benjy Proffer examines his maintenance shop’s profit and loss reports to determine which equipment to replace based on the amount of money spent on their repairs.

It’s all part of a supply chain management strategy to control operating costs so that the company can deliver fresh produce cost effectively from growers and its own growing operations in 12 different regions throughout the Midwest.

The company also sources produce from growing operations in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. In most cases, product is picked, packed and shipped the same day, and delivered to stores the next day, so that customers can enjoy farm-fresh produce, particularly during the summer.

“By controlling costs in our supply chain, we can buy the freshest and best quality produce from farmers at prices that help them increase their profits and still be able to offer them to retailers at prices that allow them to maintain or even lower retail costs at the store level,” Proffer said.

Central to controlling those costs is the Kenworth PremierCare Connect system, a comprehensive online fleet management program that helps the company’s shop manage its parts inventory, including maintenance, fuel and tires for its fleet of 46 trucks, nearly all Kenworths, and for its 55 refrigerated and dry van trailers.

Proffer Produce is a family-owned and operated full-line wholesale produce company founded in 1964 by Benjy’s father, Udell Proffer, who supplied a single retail store out of the trunk of his car. Today, the family company operates a network of three sales offices, three warehouse locations and 11 growing and shipping operations scattered throughout the Midwest and Arizona. The company’s 100,000 square-foot, state-of-the art distribution warehouse in Park Hills, Mo., which is also home to its maintenance shop, is the hub of that network.

Proffer’s trucks and trailers are operated by three divisions: Proffer Wholesale, Proffer Express and Proffer Transportation. The Kenworth PremierCare Connect system tracks the maintenance and parts for those trucks and trailers. It also tracks parts and maintenance for the company’s washing, sorting and packaging machinery and the pallet jacks, forklifts and other warehouse equipment.

Kenworth PremierCare Connect, which is used by nearly 300 fleets representing about 23,000 trucks, offers preventive maintenance tracking and in-depth reporting in addition to electronic parts purchasing. Connect provides convenience and reliability via multi-user, multi-location functionality and extensive training and technical support. It also offers scalability, as well as limited customization, with options and features companies can add as their needs change.

Proffer Produce’s Tracy Simmons uses Connect to produce a weekly profit and loss progress report, which provides Benjy Proffer and fleet manager Ron Slade a detailed look at work and parts orders. Since the company’s trucks and trailers are assigned to specific divisions, the Connect system helps the company assign the costs to the right division.

“After we got the Connect system, it took me less than an hour to come up with those numbers instead of the several hours it took using the old fleet management program,” Simmons said. “Our old system just didn’t offer the dynamic reports that the Connect system does.”

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