LAS VEGAS. In the world of concrete, and the Mack world in general, things are going well. That was the basic report issued by Stephen Roy, president of Mack Trucks North America, on Tuesday at a press briefing at the World of Concrete Show here in Las Vegas.
Roy provided a brief overview of the Mack business in 2015 – mainly that Mack remained No. 1 in construction and No. 1 in refuse through November, according to Polk Research. Those two markets are cornerstones of Mack’s success, which is built as much on vocational vehicles as it is on anything.
In addition, Roy said Mack delivered 10% more vehicles in 2015 than 2014 through November and its Lehigh Valley truck plant in Pennsylvania saw record production in 2015. Also, the company’s mDrive automated manual transmission, which is standard on Pinnacle models, was ordered on 73% of on-highway vehicles in 2015 and 20% of vocational vehicles.
Those numbers, particularly in the vocational segment, should grow, Roy said. “One of the important things for us is that it truly integrates with [other components on the trucks],” he said.
Roy noted that after the peak Class 8 truck sales of 310,000 in 2016, a drop to 280,000 this year is expected. However, even with recent news that some fleets may be pulling back on truck orders this year, Roy does not believe any pullback with significantly affect Mack orders.
“Mack has been very strong in the vocational market, so we’re very diversified,” he told Fleet Owner, adding that the passage of the 5-year highway bill is bringing stability to the construction marketplace and many vocational fleets, particularly mixer fleets, who sold off equipment during the Great Recession, are now in buying mode.
The big news for Mack at World of Concrete is that its GuardDog Connect will now be standard on all TerraPro cabover and Titan models. While available on its on-highway Pinnacle and Titan models since 2013, GuardDog Connect had previously only been available on TerraPro models equipped for concrete pumper applications. The vehicles must be equipped with an MP7 or MP8 engine.
GuardDog Connect is Mack’s proprietary proactive diagnostic and repair planning system. It monitors fault codes that could potentially shut down a truck or lead to an unplanned visit to the dealer. GuardDog Connect enables quick diagnosis of issues, proactive scheduling for repairs and confirmation that needed parts are in stock and ready to install.
The expansion of the GuardDog Connect platform to additional models is part of Mack’s commitment to Uptime.
“You can have a great product but if you don’t have a great support network [it’s not a reliable product],” said Curtis Dorwart, vocational products marketing manager.
Dorwart said Mack has also made significant investments to simplify its body builder support, including a central link electrical interface program, body builder order manager and body builder support team, all part of a focused body builder support group.
Mack body builder manuals are also available online as a free PDF download. The manuals offer general chassis information for Mack Pinnacle, Granite and TerraPro models built from 2010 through the present. Additional electrical and programming documents have been added for 2013 and newer models and are separately listed.
Also at the show, four dealers were announced by Mack as Certified Uptime Centers. Vision Truck Center of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; Vanguard Truck Center of Phoenix; Nextran Truck Center of Birmingham, AL; and Westfall O’Dell Truck Sales of Kansas City, MO, have all been certified. Each was part of the Mack Certified Uptime Center pilot program.
“It’s important that our customers’ trucks are on the road working earning money for them,” said Stephen Roy, president of Mack Trucks North America. “Through our Mack Certified Uptime Centers, we’ve completely rethought our approach to how trucks are diagnosed and repaired, enabling us to get trucks serviced and back to the customer as quickly as possible.”
To get certification, Mack evaluates a location on 28 elements, ranging from shop organization to implementation of diagnostic tools. According to David Pardue, Mack vice president, connected vehicle and contract services, there is no timeline for other locations to become Certified Uptime Centers.
The process to be certified takes approximately 8 weeks, Mack said, and must include dedicated bays for quicker maintenance service. Pardue said the industry average for vehicle downtime is 4 days, yet the average repair takes only 3 ½ hours.
“So the vehicle is sitting for a long time for a repair that really doesn’t take very long,” Pardue said. “It’s how we help the customer with speed to decision…and how we help get that vehicle back on the road.”
Part of the program is that Mack, because of its GuardDog Connect telematics platform other intiiatlves such as Mack ASIST and the recently announced integration of Truck Diagnostics Systems, has streamlined the check-in process, quickened the diagnostic time, and provided for “drive-in” service with no appointment necessary.
Mack also announced it had donated a 2016 Mack Granite axle forward model to the 11th annual Concrete Industry Management (CIM) auction.
The vehicle features an 11 cu. yard Bridgemaster mixer donated by McNeilus and will be the signature item up for bid during the live portion of the CIM Auction. All proceeds from the auction will go toward developing and supporting CIM’s educational programs.
The CIM program was developed to equip students with the enhanced technical, communication and management skills needed to succeed in the concrete industry. Originally offered at Middle Tennessee State University, the four-year degree program is now offered at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, California State University – Chico and Texas State University.
“As the construction truck market leader, we at Mack know what it takes to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace,” said Curtis Dorwart, Mack vocational products marketing manager. “CIM is teaching those same skills to the next generation of concrete industry professionals, and we couldn’t be more proud to support their efforts with the donation of a Granite model.”