For Utility Trailers of New England, the mission is simple: deliver the parts.
The company, with locations in Seabrook, New Hampshire, and a new facility in North Oxford, Massachusetts, is a full-service Utility Trailer dealer. That includes a full commitment to the aftermarket — including the view that fast, accurate delivery of parts is essential.
“If you want the business, you deliver every day,” says Jim Haley, parts director and branch manager of the Utility Trailers of New England branch in North Oxford. “We aren't the Sunday paper that arrives once a week.”
Haley says parts customers get their parts delivered quickly and often.
“If you call us by 8:30, you get it today,” he says.
Utility Trailers of New England delivers daily out of both locations. A mix of vehicles makes the rounds, delivering parts to customers throughout New England. The North Oxford location has three pickups, a step van, and a trailer at its disposal. The home office in Seabrook has a step van and two pickup trucks. The trailer is used to deliver parts that a step van just can't handle, particularly lengthy items such as top and bottom rails. The idea of sending a tractor trailer on a parts delivery run may seem excessive at first glance, but it gives Utility Trailers of New England an added advantage when customers need large orders or long materials. Utility's purchasing power means they can pass along attractive pricing to their customers.
The step vans replaced 16-ft van bodies mounted on medium-duty trucks. Drivers like the step vans better because they are easier to climb in and out.
Delivery responsibilities are evenly split between the two locations. Three people make deliveries out of the Seabrook location, and three others operate out of North Oxford. The delivery trucks work as a team, staying in contact with one another and even meeting at a predefined location to swap parts with one another as needed.
“We set our delivery areas every day,” says Gary Fruscello, vice-president and general manager of Utility Trailers of New England. “Decisions about which truck to use to make the deliveries are based on weight. Some of the parts that we need to deliver are too heavy to carry on our pickups. And if length is a problem, we can deliver with the trailer.”
Making the sale
Utility Trailers of New England has a parts sales specialist at each of its two branches. But everyone sells parts.
”We break down walls here,” Fruscello says. “We don't have sales territories, and everyone sells. The last thing our trailer sales guys do when making a call is to sell parts. As a matter fact, all salesmen, regardless of department, share their call reports with all other departments on a weekly basis.”
Fruscello says that the “knocked-down walls” concept reflects the commitment at Utility Trailers of New England that the traditional departments of a trailer dealership are really interrelated.
“The sales of new trailers present opportunities in parts and in service,” he says. “Our departments work together.”
The seafood industry in New England drives a lot of sales. Refrigerated trailer sales are big at Utility Trailers of New England, as are dry-freight vans and curtain sided trailers.
The Utility dealer sells parts for all brands of trailers. And with a fill rate in the high 90s, Utility Trailers of New England generally has it in stock. Orders are filled accurately by a staff that averages close to 20 years parts experience per employee.
While Utility is the company's primary line, Utility Trailers of New England also sells Kentucky, Landoll and Reitnouer trailers. The company also sells Supreme and Drake truck bodies and recently took on the Autocar line of yard tractors.
The North Oxford location moved into a new location a few years ago, one that enables Utility Trailers of New England some aftermarket advantages.
The company opened its Massachusetts branch in 2005. Management found a building to rent until a permanent site could be purchased and a building constructed. The original location was in Hopedale, about 45 minutes away.
The new location, on Route 20, makes parts deliveries a little easier. The branch provides easy access to the dealership's trade area via the Massachusetts Turnpike and I-395. The facility also is better suited for parts sales.
“We only had a single bay where we stored parts,” Haley says. “Now we have a 6,000-sq-ft parts warehouse. That has helped us inventory parts for all makes of trailers.” Between the two locations, Utility Trailers of New England inventories just under 7,000 part numbers.
“Sales tend to spike after winter breaks as fleets increase their maintenance and repair operations,” Haley says, “and they tend to slow down around the holidays. Last year was different because the weather was so mild. The year before, though, the snow was so heavy that it damaged the roofs of a lot of trailers. We sold 4,000 roof bows because of snow and ice build-up on trailers.”
The nine-acre site that Utility Trailers of New England acquired for its new location in North Oxford is being developed into an industrial park. Utility Trailers of New England is using about half the property. The rest is being built out for other tenants. Just how much will be used by other companies remains to be seen.
“We opened here in 2008,” Fruscello says. “We are already busting at the seams and are looking again to expand.”