The first rule in business: Get Noticed.
When Indianapolis-based A&C Trucking was incorporated in 1982, the Yellow Pages were a prominent way of getting business. That wasn’t lost on Jim and Anna Lee Carmichael, who offered dump truck services with 10 trucks throughout the region.
“My dad wanted to be the first entry in the Yellow Pages, so the ‘A’ was nothing more than a placeholder,” recalled Chad Carmichael, the son of the founder, and now owner and president of the company. “The ‘C’ stood for our last name.”
The name and company has stood the test of time. And, while the Yellow Pages are no longer a driver for business, the company’s success is driven by offering customers on-time deliveries and high value.
As a second-generation owner, Carmichael rolled his own small fleet of dump trucks into that of A&C in 2006. Carmichael’s sister, Kimi, is also a business owner. In 1996, she started AJ’s Tool Rental, which has since morphed into a 15-vehicle dump truck operation.
“I guess you could say aggregate hauling is in the family blood,” said Carmichael. “We’ve been doing this a long time and business is continuing to grow with the good economy.”
Today, A&C Trucking operates 30 Kenworth T880 dumps with Beau-Roc dump bodies, able to carry up to 15 yards of material. “We’re now 100 percent Kenworth,” said Carmichael. “When the PACCAR MX-11 engine became available, it was the tipping point to go forward with the T880. We’re paid by the ton 98 percent of the time, so the T880 and MX-11 engine made for the perfect combination of weight savings, fuel efficiency and driver comfort. We were running ‘baby 8s’ to maximize payload, but now we’re able to maximize payloads with a truck designed to do the job.”
The Kenworth T880 day cabs were spec’d with the PACCAR MX-11 engine rated at 405 horsepower and Allison automatic transmissions. The trucks were purchased through Kenworth of Indianapolis, part of the Palmer Truck Group.
A graduate of Purdue University, with a degree in management and engineering, Carmichael said he put his education to work when selecting the Kenworth T880. “Being in the vocational market, some of our profits are dependent on the used truck market. If I pay more upfront to get the quality that Kenworth offers, and get more on the backend, I’m ahead of the game,” Carmichael said.
“We worked closely with our Kenworth dealer on specs that would make us more productive, but we had to consider how those specs would help down the road come trade-in time. There’s a balance and we’ve learned that over time. You have to consider the second user in the spec’ing process,” he said.
According to Carmichael, Kenworth has shown it can build a reliable and durable truck. “That message was reinforced when I went to the Kenworth plant in Chillicothe (Ohio) for a ride and drive and factory tour,” he said. “I also visited the PACCAR engine plant (in Columbus, Mississippi) and came away so impressed with the quality and workmanship that went into the build,” he added.
That quality is appreciated by drivers, according to Carmichael. “They love the trucks and a well-spec’d truck with the Kenworth logo only helps our driver retention. The cab is large with excellent visibility. And the ride quality is impressive. That’s important to us since each truck runs about 70,000 miles a year – or 400 to 450 miles each day. Our drivers average between six and 17 loads a day to jobsites. With the added payload we can haul thanks to our specs on the T880s, we’re able to move about 60 more tons each day with all of our trucks. That’s about $300 more in our pocket each and every day.”
Adding even more dollars is the fact that Carmichael has seen his fuel economy numbers increase since standardizing on the Kenworth T880. “Before our best trucks were getting 6.4 mpg*, but now many of our T880s are exceeding 7 mpg*. That’s exceptional in a dump truck operation.”
All of these benefits from the T880 are clear to Carmichael, and his sister. “She has seen what we’ve been doing and how the trucks have worked for us to improve our bottom line,” said Carmichael. “She was a staunch supporter of another brand of truck, but she just ordered five T880s and will put those into service soon. I guess you could say I brought the horse to water, and she drank it. I think she’ll be glad she did.”
Kenworth is The Driver’s Truck™. See what drivers are saying at www.kenworth.com/drivers.
Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth’s Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth is a PACCAR company.