The Ford Transit has replaced the F350 as a more popular chassis for smaller Stellar® Tire Service Trucks. The move to the Transit chassis was one based almost completely on weight. Any truck over 10,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight (GVW) used commercially is considered a commercial truck, resulting in drivers being subject to DOT regulations regarding driver log books and hours of service restrictions, as well as other compliance requirements. If a business is able, it is simpler to stay under 10,000 pounds GVW. Since customers are challenged to keep under 10,000 pounds with the Ford 350 due to the starting chassis weight, they are now choosing the Transit as a lighter weight alternative. To assist our customers in the challenge to stay light weight, Stellar Industries has designed a body specifically for the Transit chassis, and the successful result is the development of the Stellar® 1004 Service Truck. The 1004 has been designed to fit the Ram ProMaster as well.
Listening to customers and delivering a quality solution at an acceptable price is a key ingredient to success at Stellar. It takes a team of people with the correct attitude and skills to execute, along with solid organizational team, to make a project like this work! Our People. Our Products. That’s what makes us “Stellar”.
In late May, Stellar Industries, Inc. – Kanawha welcomed a 6K Fiber Laser into the plant. Since then, employees have been watching the installation of the new laser with great interest and anticipation.
The installation of this new laser will be a big step forward in helping Stellar Industries get parts manufactured, assembled, and out the door to the end user in a quicker, more efficient, way.
“We currently buy over 400 parts from other suppliers,” Sara Lang, Purchasing Agent, said. “We are at the mercy of our supplier’s production schedules, and that can limit the availability of some parts and our overall flexibility. The new laser puts us back in the driver’s seat. This is a huge plus for Stellar. That’s what we’re most excited about.”
“To give you an idea how much efficiency we’ll gain, consider this: a CO2 laser will cut 16 gauge flat at the rate of 343 inches per minute,” Dan Beyer, Welding and Fabrication Supervisor, said. “This fiber laser will cut 1,378 inches per minute and can cut up to 1-1/8” thick steel. That’s significant.”
The new laser will be operational mid-June, with the automation portion coming on line in July. Everyone at Stellar is looking forward to reducing the number of parts we outsource and being able to produce our cranes, bodies and demountable products in a more efficient manner so we can get them out to the end user.
We live in a competitive world. Examples of this are all around us, especially for those of us that follow sports. It doesn’t matter if we are Hawkeye or Cyclone fans, Twins or Cub fans; we all want our team to be the best. For our favorite sport teams to be successful, they need to have an advantage over their rivals. These advantages could be attributed to a number of things, but it usually comes down to people.
The business world is a competitive world as well and Stellar Industries competes with many other companies both domestically and internationally. I had the opportunity to see a number of our competitors’ products this past week as I attended the Waste Expo trade show in Las Vegas. On exhibit in our booth were a Stellar® Shuttle hooklift on a Ford F750, a Stellar® Container Handler mounted on a Ford F750 for Republic Waste, and a Stellar® cable hoist and automatic tarping system mounted on a Kenworth for Sprint Waste of Houston, TX. While the products in our display looked great, so did similar products in other booths across the show floor. Besides the Stellar Shuttle hooklift in our booth, there were another 8 competitive units on display. The same could be said of the cable hoist and of the automatic tarping system, plenty of other producers to choose from.
So, with so many products to choose from, what sets our products apart from our competitors’ products? I can proudly say that our designs are top notch. However, our competitors make similar claims about their own products. The fit and finish of our display units were great. But the rest of the trucks on display were “show” quality as well. While the obvious differentiator amongst competitive makes and models are the physical characteristics of the products, it is the team behind these products that make the real difference at the end of the day. I’m proud to say that we have a team that none of our competitors can match.
Teamwork is critical in all facets of producing our products. And it is not just the working together that defines a strong team. A truly great team will excel in communication between team members. For us to be a successful team here at Stellar, communication amongst ourselves is critical to our success. I’m not referring to idle chat but words of assistance to our fellow employee. How to lay down a better weld, secure a better routing for wiring on a chassis, or get better results on a complicated paint job are examples of the type of conversations that need to occur in a successful team environment. Even more important is to make sure information gets passed on to fellow team members involved in other aspects of the organization that need to hear input from other players on our team. It is important for our engineering staff to listen and respond to input from our sales staff regarding customer needs and how they use our product so we can improve product design to better suit the users’ needs. It is important for sales and engineering to listen to our fabricators and installers to make sure that what is on the sales order is a product that can actually be built. It is important for ALL of us to communicate with our co-workers if we ever see a potential quality issue with any product. It is important that communication move freely up and down our organization so that we can provide our customers the best products possible that will in turn provide them years of trouble-free service.
What sets a successful team apart from a mediocre team, is the people. We have a successful team here at Stellar, but to stay ahead of our competition we need to continually strive to improve and build upon those strengths that have made us a successful company. Open and constructive communication is a known quality of successful teams. The best way to improve as a team is to improve our communications. To stay ahead of our competition, we need to continue to hone our skills as a team.
With only 16 days until Waste Expo, our team is gearing up and getting excited to head to Las Vegas. We are looking forward to catching up with current customers and distributors and can’t wait to meet those new to our product and the industry.
Waste Expo is held annually and is the largest tradeshow in the solid waste industry. It is the place to go for buyers to learn all there is about the latest equipment and tips in the waste removal and recycling industry. With a whopping 96% of attendees recommending going, why wouldn’t you?
So why does Stellar go to Waste Expo? We want to interact with YOU. We want to give you another way to interact with our people and our products. We want to know what’s working for you, what we can improve, and what you want in your equipment so we can best serve you, the customer. Waste Expo is also another chance for us to keep you in the loop about what’s new with our company and equipment, like this year, we have our new Generation II 20,000-pound Hooklift line. We’ve modernized the design and maximized the efficiency. Some of the new features include the implementation of a plunger valve, which allows for less maintenance over the life of the Hooklift, and we’ve reduced the overall weight of the lifts by 100 pounds which directly correlates to the additional weight that an operator can haul: more capacity=fewer trips! All six models have been redesigned with our commitment to provide our customers with the most efficient and hardest working equipment in mind.
Stop by and see us at Waste Expo booth 1761 in Vegas, June 7-9; we’ll even give you a free pass! Click here for free tradeshow pass. You can also stay updated with all the latest and greatest that’s happening at Stellar by subscribing to our blog and following us on all our social media outlets!
Stellar has always been a big supporter of the various associations that serve our different markets where we sell. They in turn have offered a plethora of useful information and assistance to us to help us produce a quality product that meets industry standards, as well as helping us reach the end user through trade shows and other events.
It’s always nice to benefit from those relationships and participate in a win-win opportunity. One that I will mention today is the chance to work with the Tire Industry Association (TIA) to host three separate Basic Farm Tire Service (FTS) training classes here at our facility in Garner. Over the 3-day course, participants will have classroom and hands-on training to learn the skills needed for servicing farm, agricultural and construction tire and wheel assemblies. It is a certificate program for the participants.
Typically, in the past, these sessions were held at various association members’ tire shops. While they make it work as best they can, most tire shops are not equipped with facilities to accommodate 15 attendees in a comfortable classroom setting.
Travis Glidden, one of our knowledgeable tire service regional sales manager’s, has been instrumental in these training classes in the past, taking one of our demo units to the location and assisting with the class. He had the idea of us hosting the class here in Garner for TIA. The association was grateful for the offer, and took us up on it since we have a conference room large enough to accommodate the group, and the equipment and space needed for the hands-on portion.
The first class is scheduled for the middle of June and has already filled up. It is unprecedented to be sold out this early, according to the TIA class coordinator. Another class is scheduled for mid-July and the third class in mid-August.
To learn more about the class, visit our home page and click on the FTS link in the Spotlight section of the page, or visit www.tireindustry.org and select Training in the navigation bar.
What a great opportunity to come to Garner- the tire truck manufacturing capital of the world. The attendees will not only learn the safe and proper way to change farm tires and get certified but they’ll get to see the facility where tire service trucks are made.