We have a three-person staff performing the maintenance of our delivery trucks, led by our Maintenance Manager, Don Janes. Keagan Strange manages the drivers and schedules vehicles for deliveries. He also handles the licensing and compliance. These important jobs keep our trucks and trailers in tip-top shape, our drivers informed, and the important compliance rules followed, so our pheasant and other wild bird deliveries go smoothly and on schedule.
We lease three trucks (Freightliner Cascadias) through Penske. The Cascadia has advanced aerodynamics and great fuel efficiency. During our peak mature season, we usually rent two additional trucks. Before every trip, the truck and trailer are taken into our maintenance department for a pre-trip inspection for any broken or missing items. If there is an issue with the trailer, we handle repairs, and if there is an issue on the truck, it is taken to Penske. Additionally, before the drivers depart, they complete a secondary inspection to ensure they have all needed paperwork, equipment, and supplies. This ensures that we are handling any issues that might make the truck illegal to operate.
The inspection includes a walk-around inspection where we look for leaks, dents, or other damage. We check the muffler, tire pressure, wheels, lights, doors, windows, and mirrors. We open the hood, check the oil, check the radiator and all other fluids, check the battery and connections, drive belt, hoses, and wires.
Next, we start the engine to ensure gauges are working, check the windshield wipers and blades, horn, defrosters, emergency brakes, steering, pallet lift operation, and backup beeper.
Lastly, we make sure the fire extinguisher, the first aid kit, seat belt cutter, and reflectors are in the truck and in good working order. Seats, seatbelts, and handrails are examined for their condition and security.
Another responsibility of the Maintenance Department is to constantly make adjustments to remain compliant with state and federal regulations. Some regulations we must be compliant with include:
- International Fuel Tax reporting and licensing
- DOT certifications and compliance for our fleet and all drivers
- Hours of Service regulations and exemptions
- State Road tax filings
- Length and weight permits
- Canadian carbon tax filings
- Regulations on transporting live birds across state lines and the Canadian border
Truck and trailer maintenance, scheduling drivers, and getting deliveries to our customers safely, legally, and on-time are all high-priority jobs. I can assure you that the quality of our plan and maintenance team is top-notch!