A Sprinter hits the expediting road
They say timing is everything, and here at Expediters Online.com we had that demonstrated to us in a very productive way.
The other day, I happened to be on the phone with Dan Tilley, Expedited Truck Specialist at Freightliner of Knoxville. During our conversation, he mentioned that one of his customers who had recently taken delivery of a brand new Freightliner Sprinter had stopped by the dealership a short time before.
Dan informed me that this customer, Alan Gordy of Waverly Hall, GA, was on his way to northern Ohio and his route would take him within a mile and a half of our office. I was able to reach Alan on his cell phone and he accepted our invitation to drop by for a visit which would give us the opportunity to shoot some digital photos of his new truck.
It turns out that Alan had been driving tractor/trailers for 6 years before signing on with Panther II of Medina, OH in November 1998. He ran team with his wife Angel for 2 1/2 years in the big trucks before moving into expediting straight trucks.
Alan met Dan Tilley at the Expedite Expo which Expediters Online.com presented back in August, and at that time he ordered a new Sprinter in addition to buying a 2000 Freightliner model FL 70 with 72" sleeper for a husband/wife team he had waiting in the wings.
The purchase of that FL 70 brought his rapidly expanding fleet up to 3 units, including the Sprinter.
Dan Tilley tells us, "In my experience, a test drive usually sells the Sprinter, and Alan seemed to be suitably impressed with the van after the drive. We ironed out the details and he left the Expo with the two trucks on order."
After his experience in both Class 7 and 8 trucks, why a cargo van?
"I went with the Sprinter because I wanted to spend a little more time at home," says Alan. "With the Sprinter's fuel economy, it makes it a little easier to justify a deadhead home when necessary. I also enjoy the reduced paperwork and fewer regulations that come with running a Sprinter-sized vehicle."
Alan's Sprinter has the tall roof option on the long body and single rear wheels. It took close to a month before the van was delivered to Freightliner of Knoxville and it was another month before Alan was able to make it to the dealership to take delivery.
Wasting no time, Alan has already made major strides in customizing this truck to his tastes. Van Depot on Buford Hwy in Atlanta, GA has done a great deal of the interior work which includes complete wall and ceiling carpeting over R12 insulation. The van floor has been sprayed with a "Line-X" bed liner and a row of e-track on each wall and two rows of e-track on the floor complete the freight securement installation.
In addition to the OEM lighting, the cargo area is illuminated with a total of ten neon tubes set in recessed fixtures with plexiglas mirror backing - 4 on one wall, and six on the other wall. These 12" tubes run vertically and Alan tells us that the whole interior has a nice bluish glow when the neon only is lit!
Alan's future plans include installation of a hinged bed, 12" flat monitor hooked to a DVD, Bazooka subwoofers and an electric cooler.
Although this truck has only 1400 miles on the clock, Alan has developed some positive impressions of the Sprinter van: ""I love the van; it rides smooth and I'm surprised at the pickup and power out of that small motor. With the carpeting, it's extremely quiet inside."
Alan and Angel Gordy have received recognition from Panther II, garnering the Team of the Year award in 1999 and a Team of the Month award in September 2000.
Angel is currently working on her degree in Forensic Science, so Alan will be running single for the immediate future.
Jeff Brown of Contractor Support and Development with Panther II has high marks for his contractor: "Alan has always been a reliable contractor; we can always depend on him to get the freight out of his area where the loads sometimes require something of a deadhead to pickup."
"He's been a guy we can always call on."
Jeff also had some thoughts about the Sprinter: "I think the Sprinter has great potential with it's large capacity cargo area and an already proven diesel motor. Alan will be able to take advantage of the diesel fuel program we have at Panther II."
Alan compliments his company in return: "I've been very pleased with Panther II and their ability to keep my trucks running. They have definitely been a great company to work with. Their pay is more than fair and it's been more than adequate to keep my business afloat even when freight slows down."
"Everyone I've introduced to Panther II is still with the company, so they must be pleased, also."
"A lot of guys play the sit and wait game, but my philosphy is to take the shorter runs that will keep me running and maybe take me into a better load. It's not a difficult business to understand. No college degree required, just common sense. Learn the business and make it work for you."
"I think expediting will play a very important role in transportation. Because of the volatility of the economy today a lot of people are leery of stocking inventory in depth and the just-in-time freight business with it's smaller loads are key to that."