Sep 29, 2011 - 7 years ago
By Supply Post
Starting as a regional beer hauler in 1936, Millis Transfer of Black River Falls, Wis., has grown to more than 800 trucks (mostly Kenworths), 2,500 trailers and about 100 owner-operators. Today the carrier services customers across America, hauling a variety of dry-van products ranging from glass containers and food products, to paper products and, of course, beer.
Few companies can boast the quality of equipment that Millis operates. The fleet consists of late model Kenworth trucks not more than three years old. Since 2009, the company has purchased close to 600 new Kenworths, including the most recent order for 317 Kenworth T700s with Cummins ISX15 engines. The fuel-efficient Kenworth T700 was named the 2011 Heavy Duty Commercial Truck of the Year by the American Truck Dealers.
“We like the design and styling of the T700s,” said Mike Millis, vice president at Millis Transfer. “We believe in first impressions and want the best looking equipment out there. And the roomy cab is very driver friendly.”
Distinctive styling sets the Kenworth T700 apart from all other trucks on the road today. Unique and functional, the T700’s smooth flowing shapes and contours are carefully calculated to produce the lowest aerodynamic drag of any Kenworth truck ever built. While the T700 is better engineered on the outside, the same holds true for the inside, giving drivers maximum comfort and room to move.
That’s important to Millis, who said drivers are ultimately responsible for the successful customer-hauler relationship. Making drivers as comfortable as possible is not just the right thing to do, it’s good business — an important part of the company’s commitment to its customers, he added.
With 8 feet of headroom, 30 inches between the seats, and 60 cubic feet of storage, there’s plenty of space to work and live productively while on the road. Ample lighting, a slide-out desk, and refrigerator provide the ultimate in comfort.
“Before we purchased the trucks, we did a survey asking our drivers,” said Millis. “They liked the T700s better than everything else that’s out there. Between what drivers wanted and what management wanted, the T700 wins.”
What “management wanted,” Millis said, was an aerodynamic, fuel-efficient, low-cost- of-operation truck. The T700 wins again.
“The most critical issue to us is cost of operation,” said Millis. “We want lightweight, fuel-efficient, reliable trucks. Our trucks have to be trustworthy on the road. Breakdowns are unacceptable. We feel the T700 gives us the best driver-friendly, high performance, aerodynamic truck available. The new 2010 Cummins ISX15 engines are performing well.”
Millis Transfer has been purchasing Kenworth trucks since the 1980s, and began purchasing aerodynamic Kenworths in the 1990s. In addition to the recent order of T700s, last fall Millis added 20 T660s – 10 with day cabs and 10 with 38-inch AeroCab® sleepers – equipped with 430 hp PACCAR MX engines. Currently the fleet operates 250 T660s. Both the Kenworth T660 and T700 have received Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay(SM) program designation.