Dickinson Fleet Services, the largest independent truck repair and body shop in the country, marks its tenth anniversary this week by opening a new corporate headquarters and launching a new technology product.
WEBWRENCH is a new state-of-the-art software system Dickinson developed to help its customers maximize the life expectancy of their fleets and tighten controls on spending.
The online tool gives customers access to information that helps them gauge and manage their fleet performance and costs. It provides real-time access to DOT inspection currency reports, preventative maintenance inspection currency reports, vehicle repair history and cost information for analysis on individual vehicles, as well as a company's entire fleet of vehicles.
Increased costs to maintain trucks have led many companies that traditionally handled their own maintenance to outsource to firms like Dickinson that specialize in maintenance and repair.
"It's become increasingly expensive for companies to maintain their own fleets," said Ted Coltrain, vice president and general manager of the Indianapolis operation. "Our service allows our customers to focus on their core business while leaving their maintenance to Dickinson, where we have state-of-the-art equipment, we know the regulations and we have experienced well-trained technicians who will keep their trucks on the road."
Customers can access WEBWRENCH through a service contract with Dickinson Fleet Management. The program offers:
Preventative maintenance and inspection,
Preventative maintenance tracking and scheduling,
Nationwide breakdown service 24 hours a day, seven days a week,
Nationwide accident repair management (working with a network of independent truck repair shops),
Estimate and invoice audits by expert fleet service managers,
Monthly fleet reviews by expert fleet service managers,
Priority service and turn-time, and
WEBWRENCH, which provides online access to fleet performance information, cost tracking and budgeting.
Having spent their careers in the truck leasing industry, brothers Bob Dickinson and Dick Dickinson founded Dickinson Fleet Services in 1997. Immediately prior to starting the company, both men worked for Ryder. Bob's son Mike and son-in-law Ted Coltrain joined the company soon after its founding, after having worked for other trucking companies.
The company started with three locations, Indianapolis; Pennsburg, Penn.; and Doraville, Ga. It now has operations in 10 markets, including Atlanta; Cincinnati; Orlando; Jacksonville, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; Allentown, Penn.; and Fulton, Ga.
"When we founded the company, our goal was to be the premier provider of truck repair service nationwide. We are well on our way to doing that and more," said Bob Dickinson, president. "Our key to success has been providing our customers outstanding maintenance and systems that help customers run their business with safe, dependable trucks and cost controls."
Controlling costs is a major reason a customer seeks out Dickinson. Emission laws continue to drive the purchase price of new trucks higher. As a result companies want to extend the life of their equipment. This can be very costly if the equipment is not on a good preventative maintenance program.
Trucks are a necessary cost for business. Whether it's a panel van or a semi truck and trailer, all products and services are delivered to customers on a truck. The cost of delivering that product or service relates to the maintenance cost of that truck.
Coltrain said, "Just like with your personal vehicles, preventative maintenance will cost you less in the long run because the vehicles will last longer and have fewer breakdowns. Now, in addition to performing maintenance and doing repairs, we can help our customers manage information, conduct analysis and make decisions regarding their fleets. We feel strongly that's the future of our business."
About Dickinson Fleet Services
Annual revenue: $30 million
Total employees: 300 (200 are mechanics)
Total in Indy: 75
Markets: 10 in five eastern states
Years in business: 10
Owners: Bob Dickinson, Dick Dickinson, Mike Dickinson, Ted Coltrain