Ohio Eagle Distributing increases capital for growth by cutting fuel and maintenance costs.

A more diversified product selection and faster delivery times are what consumers demand today in the beer distribution market. To meet these expectations Ohio Eagle Distributing needed maximized efficiencies, lower operational costs and a freer cash flow. By partnering with Mike Albert Fleet Solutions they were able to achieve all three and save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The ability to have a new fleet and still be able to hold cash for expansion and for acquisition is priceless to us.” - Devyn Dugger, President, Ohio Eagle

Goals

  • Rein in fleet costs and reduce operational expenses
  • Rightsize and standardize total fleet
  • Free up capital to use for continued growth and new technology

EVOLVING TO MEET THE DEMAND FOR GREATER PRODUCT VARIETY

Thirty years ago, when they sold only 10 or so items, business was simple and straightforward for Ohio Eagle Distributing, a beer distributor in southwest Ohio. Today, they promote, sell and deliver more than 800 different products. With an inventory that’s growing in complexity, they need new technologies for more efficient management. Plus they want to expand their business in new territories. To come up with the capital for expansion and new technologies, Devyn Dugger, president of Ohio Eagle, and his team need to save money wherever they can, especially in the area of fleet costs – one of their top three business expenses.

TIME FOR A CHANGE

Every week Ohio Eagle delivers thousands of cases and kegs of beer to hundreds of locations. They do this with a fleet of 97 vehicles that include box trucks, tractors, rear- and side-loading vehicles, event trailers, and management vehicles. Running an operation this large means costs quickly add up and uncovering operational inefficiencies is important. Don Schwab, Ohio Eagle’s Operations Manager, has spent his career diligently managing this growing fleet. Even with keeping maintenance and repair schedules and capturing critical data, he knew there had to be a more efficient way to manage these assets.

Devyn learned from Ohio Eagle’s owner, John Saputo, that Mike Albert Fleet Solutions could help reduce their fleet costs. John’s other business, Gold Coast Eagle Distributing in Sarasota, Florida, had recently partnered with Mike Albert and was already saving $180,000 in fuel expenses over the course of a year. Devyn and his team were eager to reap savings of this magnitude for Ohio Eagle.

TIME FOR ADDITIONAL HELP

Ohio Eagle delivers thousands of cases and kegs of beer to hundreds of locations every week. They do this with a fleet of 97 vehicles, including box trucks, tractors, rear- and side-loading vehicles, event trailers and management vehicles. Running an operation this large means costs add up quickly. Ohio Eagle’s Operations Manager, Don Schwab, has spent his career managing this growing fleet and trying to uncover and remedy any operational inefficiencies to save money. He has diligently kept up with maintenance and repair schedules and capturing critical data, but once his fleet became as big as it is, he knew something more had to be done to control costs.

RIGHTSIZING THEIR SALES VEHICLES IS A HUGE STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

To deliver on their brand promise of “providing customers with the very best service and representing our brands at the highest level,” the Ohio Eagle sales team must quickly meet the daily demands of their customers, which are often last-minute orders. That means their drivers are continually travelling throughout their hilly territory, making multiple trips a day.

Mike Albert’s first step with Ohio Eagle was to meet with their team to provide a free fleet assessment. Mike Albert’s fleet experts rode along with Ohio Eagle’s drivers to get a comprehensive understanding of how each vehicle was used to meet service and delivery requirements. Mike Albert’s team recognized that Ohio Eagle’s current sales vehicles, Ford Econoline vans, were making trips difficult and time-consuming as well as guzzling gas and racking up fuel costs. With Mike Albert’s help, Ohio Eagle downsized their Econoline vans to compact Transit Connect vans, which reduced their fuel expenses and improved efficiency by way of a smaller cargo space and a side-access door.

ADOPTING A NEW OUTLOOK ON FLEET MANAGEMENT

The Mike Albert team presented options and data analysis to Ohio Eagle so they could make smart, informed decisions. “MAFS challenged us to uncover what we were truly spending on maintenance. They took our data, evaluated it, and brought it back to us. Mike Albert presented us with options, which other fleet management companies didn’t do. We were able to customize single-axle trailers to accommodate side loading. This was a concern for us because our old leasing company did not offer a solution,” Devyn explained.

SLASHING MAINTENANCE COSTS WITH A SMART VEHICLE LIFECYCLE STRATEGY

Ohio Eagle was spending $20,000 a month on repairs and maintenance. Plus, they kept six spare vehicles on the lot to use when their everyday vehicles broke down, which happened frequently. Ohio Eagle’s drivers dreaded driving the spares because they were so old and unreliable. As a result, the drivers often ignored the maintenance needs of their regular vehicles so they wouldn’t have to drive the spares while their vehicles were serviced. This further increased breakdowns, reactive maintenance and driver downtime. !

Devyn turned to Mike Albert for a solution because, as he said, “We sell beer. We’re not in the truck fixing game.” Mike Albert worked with Devyn and his team to create a plan for cycling out their aging vehicles that were losing them money. After replacing 33 vehicles and cycling out 21 old trucks, their maintenance expenses decreased by almost 90%. Now they spend just $2,000 a month on maintenance. Instead of changing transmissions, they’re simply changing the oil. In their new fleet, every truck is the same in configuration and quality and they only keep two spare vehicles instead of six.

“MAFS challenged us to uncover what we were truly spending on maintenance. They took our data, evaluated it, and brought it back to us. Mike Albert presented us with options, which other fleet management companies didn’t do.” -Devyn Dugger

MOVING AHEAD

The partnership between Ohio Eagle Distributing and Mike Albert Fleet Solutions is still going strong. Together they’re looking forward to implementing more innovative solutions to further improve Ohio Eagle’s operations. For example, to save drivers from losing a half hour each day to fuel their trucks, Mike Albert is setting Ohio Eagle up with Quick Fuel, a program that brings fuel on-site overnight to gas up their trucks. The two also plan to continue to cycle out smaller fleet vehicles and to seek additional opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

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