Growing pains always accompany periods of major business expansion. The right innovation can help streamline that growth, and for Dickinson Fleet Services that turned out to be a partnership with Sage Oil Vac.
One of the growing pains Dickinson faced was delivering oil to a large customer’s fleet. Not only would Dickinson need a much larger fleet of service trucks, but also a new level of efficiency to ensure the company continued to meet its customers’ growing needs. A decade ago, the Indianapolis, Indiana-based company had around 50 service trucks operating from nine retail locations in the Midwest and Eastern U.S.
Though the company was already poised to grow to meet its customers’ evolving needs, Dickinson’s growth and efficiency gains have come more quickly and easily in the last five years in part because of its partnership with Sage. Today, Dickinson has service technicians at locations in 38 states providing mobile truck maintenance and service, including preventative maintenance, accident damage repair and Department of Transportation inspections and certifications, with its own fleet of more than 450 service trucks. Each of those trucks uses a Sage Oil Vac system.
“Shortly after I came on board, I heard about the Sage systems and we realized they represented a safer, cleaner and overall better operating system than what we had been using in our trucks,” said Dickinson Fleet Services Vice President for Purchasing and Asset Management Don Gregory. “Sage Oil Vac systems have been a huge help in our expansion in how easily they fit into our trucks and how efficiently they enable us to operate.”
Building efficiencies with Sage
Previously, Gregory said Dickinson mobile service trucks used a pump-style system for oil change operations, and there was always lingering apprehension about pumps and tanks leaking, resulting in inefficiencies that could slow down daily operations and impede future expansion. “With Sage, I don’t worry about that at all. I feel very confident with this equipment. We don’t have issues with failing pumps and oil leaks like we did before,” he said.
Growth was already a target for Dickinson Fleet Services leadership when the company partnered with Sage Oil Vac two years ago. For Gregory, the decision to work with Sage as Dickinson’s growth continued made sense because of shared emphases on service and efficiency. Upon learning of the new efficiencies Sage systems could create for Dickinson mobile service trucks, for example, Gregory said the normal caution with which his company typically approaches new innovations quickly faded.
“We looked into Sage systems cautiously, as we do with any change. That caution went away pretty quickly with Sage. It wasn’t long after we tried their systems that we decided to integrate them into our whole fleet,” Gregory said. “They have great people, offer a great product and provide strong follow-up after the sale. They are proud of their product, you can see that pride in all of their people, and that inspires confidence in us as a partner.”
Though it’s difficult to quantify return on investment (ROI) improvements of Sage systems in Dickinson’s 450-truck mobile maintenance fleet, Gregory knows they have contributed to the company’s bottom line, both in terms of maintenance and efficiency of mobile service operations. The systems have been relatively low-maintenance since integrating them into the Dickinson fleet, and thus far Gregory has found them to be durable and long-lasting, two fundamental qualities he looks for in every new innovation to improve the company’s service vehicles.
“We are always improving our mobile trucks. We look at the overall ROI of the application of our fleet, and there has been an improvement,” he said. “We are always looking down the road because we want our equipment to last awhile, and we know that Sage systems will.”
Future growth plans
In the near future, Gregory said Dickinson will continue to improve its mobile service trucks as the company puts growing emphasis on overall fleet maintenance, not just truck maintenance, for its customers. For example, in addition to keeping up with new Sage system innovations, the Dickinson fleet is transitioning to aluminum body components. The goal: Make each service truck last a decade in the field.
“We’ve gone to an aluminum body that maintenance equipment resides inside of. We are setting a goal that every component within the box of that truck and chassis should last 10 years. We want all of our equipment to last that long. I am confident our Sage systems will last quite a while,” Gregory said. “Sage will always play a major role as we continue to refine and evolve these trucks in looking at different applications. We’re always going with Sage. I think switching to them has been one of the most strategic and smartest moves we’ve ever made.”