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Articles by Tom Kelley
Although much thought is given to the care and maintenance of the mechanical equipment used in the beverage industry, far less attention is devoted to proper care of a distributor’s most important asset: the drivers who deliver finished products to the customers.
Even though fuel costs have stabilized somewhat, few other items are immune from upward price trends, and competition shows no signs of letting up. With this in mind, it’s as important as ever for fleet managers to wring every penny possible out of delivery costs.
Beverage Industry recently surveyed a sample of its readers to gain insight into the size and makeup of current delivery fleets, future vehicle purchase plans, as well as operational concerns and strategies.
After Colorado home brewer Jeff Lebesch returned from a trip across Europe on his “fat tire” mountain bike in 1989, he began brewing an amber beer called Fat Tire in the basement of his Fort Collins, Colo., home.
Tires, by a wide margin, are the top maintenance cost for most beverage fleets. Containing these costs requires frequent, thorough inspections and diligently maintaining proper tire pressure to prevent a tire’s early demise.
Beverage truck news continues to show a mixed bag for 2014 as many truck manufacturers are still in a “holding pattern” due to economic uncertainty.
Apart from buying a pricey ad during the Super Bowl that would be seen by a few million viewers once each year, one of the next best methods of beverage marketing is in the form of delivery truck graphics, which can be seen by millions every day.
As the year begins to wind down, it’s time to look at the factors that are likely to have a significant effect on beverage fleet operations in 2014.
With fuel prices seemingly anchored around $4 a gallon, most beverage fleets remain quite proactive about reducing fuel consumption.
As noted in last month’s article on the shift from straight trucks to tractor-trailer combinations, the bottler/distributor consolidation and SKU proliferation of the last decade have had an unprecedented impact on the beverage industry, and more specifically, on beverage fleet operations.