As Idaho Youth Ranch (IYR) looks to further expand its services, Jason Whitley continues to analyze ways to become more efficient as a fleet — in both its vehicles and driver routing.
“We have around 33 trucks in our fleet right now,” says Whitley, the director of distribution for IYR, a Boise-based nonprofit that gives troubled children and their families the opportunity to live and work on a ranch. “In the last six years, we have fewer of our old trucks and are now leasing the new Kenworth T270.”
IYR’s fleet supports its 29 thrift stores in Idaho, which generate most of the ranch’s operating funds. Traveling back and forth to the stores, the trucks run about 20,000 to 30,000 miles per year.
By adjusting the fleet’s routing and gaining more cargo space in the new Kenworth T270s, IYR now operates with one truck serving three thrift stores — an increase in efficiency compared to its prior method of one truck covering two stores, according to Whitley.
Further improving its routing methods, IYR is in the process of moving from routing via printouts of maps handed to drivers to routing in real time using tablets. “We will be able to do live updates, track the drivers, and check on their progress,” says Whitley.
Partnering with Kenworth Sales Co., an Idaho-based Kenworth dealership network, IYR is now leasing almost its entire fleet — with a maintenance package included. IYR only has a few of its owned GMC and Ford trucks left.
“Putting their drivers in Kenworth trucks helps Idaho Youth Ranch retain good drivers,” says Jamie Schaefer, Kenworth Sales Co.’s PacLease manager who works with IYR.
As part of its plan to be more efficient, IYR has switched from leasing the Kenworth T300 trucks to the new T270 trucks, with nine T270 trucks in its fleet.
“It’s been a great switch for us,” says Whitley, who recently took over the reins as director of distribution after longtime director Gregg Crow retired. “It’s a smoother drive and the drivers are happy with the new trucks.”
Each T270 truck features a level ride liftgate, which reduces the concern about how high to stack the pallets.
“The new liftgates are the favorites of the drivers,” says Whitley. “We used to only stack four or five pallets high because the liftgate would hang down. But with the level ride liftgate, we can stack the pallets as high as we want and not have to worry about them tipping.”
With a 26-foot box, each T270 truck has 2 more feet of cargo space than the previous Kenworths. “Over time, more cargo space creates fewer trips to the stores, which saves us money,” says Whitley.
Each T270 truck also features a more powerful six-speed Allison transmission. Moving from a five-speed transmission to the updated six-speed has helped IYR improve its fuel efficiency by 2 miles per gallon. And the trucks didn’t lose any capability in the process, according to Whitley.
IYR’s first batch of trucks had a six-year lease term, but the company decided to extend the leases for a few more years. Currently, the trucks are on an eight-year lease, according to Schaefer.
IYR’s closed-end lease includes a full maintenance package. To add convenience, Kenworth Sales Co. provides a mobile technician that will come on-site to complete the preventative maintenance for each fleet vehicle.
According to Schaefer, the mobile technician could save at least $500 per truck yearly — eliminating the need to bring each truck into a shop for repairs.
“Each time a company needs to take a truck to the repair shop, it’s not just one driver involved," says Schaefer. "Someone has to follow that driver to bring him or her back to work. There’s an additional cost in fuel to just get the trucks to the shop.”