Workplace Safety Above All Else: A Core Value Spotlight

There are so many ways KAW employees practice workplace safety, though some are more visible than others. If you’ve visited us in person you’ve seen the safety glasses and ear plugs that we wear each time we go into the shop or tank cleaning bays. You may even have donned some of this fashionable equipment yourself (the safety of our customers is just as important as our own)! Continue reading “Workplace Safety Above All Else: A Core Value Spotlight”

Preventive Truck Maintenance for Dummies

Everyone knows it’s better to pay for a flu shot now than take a week off for the bug later. Did you know there are flu shots for your rig too? They’re called preventive maintenance programs. And just like our own health, the health of your equipment can be kept in good shape too with a little pro-activity.

We see it all the time: tractors and trailers come into our shop with big, expensive problems that could have been fixed easily and on the cheap if it had just been caught earlier.

One of the problems we see are worn disc brake pads that turns into a torn-up rotor and can even wreck the caliper. Suddenly, a cheap and quick brake pad replacement turns into a much more expensive job. Plus, it’s easy for that kind of damage to sneak up on you. Hard to see with the naked eye, you have to either rely on a trusty computer sensor – or a preventive maintenance program – to catch the problem before it’s too late.

To show you what a PM program could look like, we’ve put together a guide to preventive maintenance – when to do it, what to do, and why, plus a bonus checklist.

But before we get to that, we’ll let the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) have a last word. According to their maintenance regulations, carriers must have a program in place to “systematically inspect, repair and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired and maintained, all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to [their] control.”

Whether you’re an owner-operator with one tractor and trailer, or someone in charge of a fleet of thousands of rigs, you must perform preventative maintenance on your equipment.

The FMCSA doesn’t give any guidance as to what exactly that’s supposed to look like. That’s where this blog comes in. So, what does a preventative maintenance program look like?

There are three main pieces of any good PM program: timing, the inspection itself and records.

Timing

How often should you perform preventative maintenance? Checking for cracked windshields needs to happen more often than removing wheels to inspect those disk brakes. And batteries probably need to be checked more often than fuel filters. And if anything is leaking, that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. So the answer is: it depends.

That’s why many PM programs – including ours – come in a few different schedules. To learn more about a PM program that makes sense for your truck(s), you can always contact us!

The Inspection

Although your maintenance needs may depend on the equipment you run, its age and mileage, preventative maintenance inspections themselves will hit on some of the components we’ve already mentioned – oil filters, windshields, leaks, brakes, lights, gauges, and tires – plus many others.

We provide our customers with the option to use our comprehensive PM program. But we are also happy to design a custom PM program that takes into consideration your unique maintenance needs.

Records

This is the nitty gritty: the record-keeping.

Tracking your PM programs with detailed records can both protect you in the case of auditing and also help you track their effectiveness. We help our customers achieve both these ends by keeping detailed paperwork of everything we do. We cross our t’s and dot our i’s so you can get down to the business of driving.

 

In this industry more than most others, time is of the essence. PM programs like those offered by KAW can keep you rolling.

To find out more about the PM services KAW provides, contact us here or give us a call.

In the meantime, learn more about preventative maintenance programs with these resources:

How to Set up a Maintenance Program that Will Keep FMCSA Happy

Elements of a Successful Preventive Maintenance (PM) Program

 

Truck vs Train: Which comes out on top?

Freight transportation represents a large slice of the American GDP. In 2015, spending in the industry totaled $1.48 trillion according to Select USA. With so much riding on freight, it’s no wonder people have strong opinions about it. And there are few debates that near the intensity of the truck vs. rail question.

Should we move American goods on trucks or on trains? Let’s look at the most important factors to answer that question.

Current market share

To put it simply, truck transportation blows rail out of the water in its share of the market today – nearly 70 % of it. That said, the transportation sector as a whole is only growing and rising tides tend to lift all boats. Since the Recession, freight transportation has grown 39.4% and only experienced a few small dips along the way. That means that there is more than enough transportation work to go around.

Respective strengths

If you’re looking to move millions of tons of product in a single day, rail is the way to go.

But if you then need to get that product to a specific plant in Anaheim or a customer in Houston, you’ll need a truck. Nothing beats our system of national roads and highways for its reach and flexibility. There are not many places in the country anymore that aren’t just off a paved road.

In sheer volume, the lumbering, mile-long trains have no competition. But in flexibility, trucks win out.

Quality

At the end of the day, a load making it to Anaheim or Houston two days earlier doesn’t matter too much if the product is corrupted.

The tank cleaning department at KAW follows strict protocols and procedures to keep tankers clean and their loads pure. When it comes to the quality of our washes, we take our responsibility seriously. Our customers haul everything from whiskey to syrup and eggs to flour, so cleanliness is pretty important!

Luckily for everyone who starts their day with eggs and an Irish coffee, both the tank and train industries are subject to strict rules and regulations designed to keep your foods kosher – sometimes literally!

In terms of quality, then, it’s a draw and you can trust your morning scramble to tankers or train cars.

Who wins?

As in all things, context rules the day. For long-distance, large loads, trains are probably the way to go. But for smaller deliveries to specific locations, trucks are best. With a bulk transportation industry that is only growing, what’s certain is that both rail and road will be getting plenty of business in the next several years.

Further reading:

http://www.motherloadtransport.com/articles/trucking-vs-rail/

https://www.bts.gov/content/value-shipments-transportation-mode-2012-2015-and-2045

http://aibonline.org/aibonline_/www.aibonline.org/newsletter/magazine/mar_apr2013/5transportation.pdf

 

The Food Hauler’s Guide to Kosher

Kosher foods are worth $12.5 billion every year and only growing. But what exactly does “kosher” mean? Whether you’re new to hauling kosher or already a seasoned pro, consider this the tank driver’s guide to one of the hottest – and most lucrative — food trends out there.    

The Basics

You already know that kosher is a Jewish tradition. For those who practice it, all food items must be grown, gathered, and prepared according to Biblical laws that can sometimes be complex. But the definition of kosher is simple: it means “pure.”

Americans are more and more invested in eating foods that are pure — clean, ethical, and high quality. That’s why much of the kosher market today is not Jewish. In fact, Muslims and vegetarians represent bigger segments of the kosher market than practicing Jews.

And the biggest portion of kosher consumers by far are Americans who are less concerned with the separate preparation of meat and dairy – one of the pillars of kosher eating – and more with knowing that care and attention has been taken in making their food. You can buy kosher chocolate Easter bunnies these days, to give you an idea of kosher’s wide popularity!

Keeping a food kosher extends to the way it is handled and transported – that’s where you come in. So, why do you have to go out of your way to have your tank washed at a kosher certified facility like KAW?

Kosher tank certification

There are a few different organizations that certify kosher tanks. KAW gets visited every year by a rabbi associated with the Orthodox Union, the largest kosher certifier in the US. (Fun fact: the last time our rabbi visited he was coming from an enormous pineapple plantation in Zimbabwe. Job jealousy!)

No matter whose seal of approval your tank receives, that certification means that it was washed to the highest standards of cleanliness. To be recertified each year, KAW must prove that our wash procedures are up to snuff – that our equipment is clean, that we wash kosher tanks for a certain amount of time at a certain temperature, among other high standards.

Unlike many facilities, we can even perform the kind of wash that allows a non-kosher tank to earn kosher status. We’ve got years of experience maintaining the integrity of kosher tanks, a business we take very seriously.

Now what?

With a kosher-certified wash by KAW, you’re ready to pick up your next load. As kosher’s share of the food market expands, so will the demand for certified tanks. There’s business ripe to be plucked for drivers who know it.

Here are some good resources on kosher food if you’re interested in learning even more:

Kosher food market set to grow, research shows

Global market study on kosher food

The power of Orthodox Union kosher certification

Kosher food market set to grow by 11.5% by 2025