Article

Oak Harbor Maximizes Asset Utility With A Decking System

November 2016, TruckingInfo.com - Department

by Jim Park, Equipment Editor - Also by this author

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Loading cargo in a traditional fashion would elave trailers half empty. Cargo loaded with the Kaptive Beam adjustable decking system improves trailer utility without the risk of damaging customers’ freight. Photos: Kinedyne
Loading cargo in a traditional fashion would elave trailers half empty. Cargo loaded with the Kaptive Beam adjustable decking system improves trailer utility without the risk of damaging customers’ freight. Photos: Kinedyne

Dan Vander Pol hates to see his trailers leaving terminals half empty. He also hates thinking about potential damage to his customers’ freight caused by double-stacking pallets. So Oak Harbor Freight Lines invested in cargo racks that could effectively allow double-stacking, but they presented a logistics nightmare. Over time, the racks would accumulate at certain terminals and they would have to be redistributed to where they were needed. That involved time, trucks, drivers and non-revenue miles.

They found a better solution in the Kaptive Beam Decking System from Kinedyne. According to Vander Pol, the company’s maintenance director, Kaptive Beam essentially adds an additional floor within the trailer.

“The second floor allows us to maximize the load capacity of each trailer without risk of cargo damage or the trouble of gathering the bars and equipment needed to deck the freight,” he says. “The bars push up out of the way when they aren’t needed and they stow up at ceiling height. We just pull them down when we need them and push them up out of the way while we’re working inside the trailer.”

Oak Harbor uses the Kaptive Beam system strictly on terminal-to-terminal linehaul loads, so all the work is done by experienced dock hands. Route drivers and customers generally do not see the system, nor do they have to learn to work with it. Vander Pol says his outbound loads now average about 12,000 pounds per trailer, a significant increase in capacity from the days they used the racks — with a lot less hassle.

By increasing the utility of each trailer as well as the labor savings and the reduction in damage claims, Vander Pol estimates the Kaptive Beam System has saved and continues to save significant costs.

“We are saving approximately 5% with the Kaptive Beam System,” he says. “That would be a savings of approximately $250,000 per month or about $3 million per year. We saw a 100% plus payback in increased productivity and reduced damage within a year of our initial purchase. We now equip all new trailers with the system, and we’re now at about 80% of the fleet.”

Vander Pol says the maintenance required by the system is minimal – just periodic lubrication and replacement of a damaged part due to the occasional forklift strike.

Better still, the system is in the trailer all the time. There’s no scrambling around the warehouse looking for bars to complete the load. They never have to be collected and shipped back to a terminal.

“I know Kaptive Beam is saving us money,” Vander Pol says. “We have tried several other solutions and have settled on this one. It works and it saves us money. What else is there to know?”

Fleet Snapshot

Who: Oak Harbor Freight Lines

Where: Auburn, Washington

Fleet: 550 tractors, 2,000 trailers

Operations: Regional LTL carrier serving the U.S. Northwest from 33 terminals in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Fun Fact: Family-owned since 1936. Directly serves more points than any other individual carrier.

Challenge: Needs to fill trailers more efficiently, without double-stacking customer freight or using returnable racks.

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