MSW Management Magazine

Project Profile: Innovative Solutions in Roanoke County

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Credit: Peter Heacox
An NJPA-assisted purchase
For more than 25 years, McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing has been an industry leader in refuse truck bodies. So, when officials in Roanoke County, VA, were in need of seven waste management vehicles to add to it as fleet, it was a no-brainer. A partnership between McNeilus and National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) further sweetened the deal, allowing the county to get exactly what it wanted at the best price and value.

Kevin Glass, fleet manager for Roanoke County, says this was the second time his county has taken advantage of cooperative contract purchasing offered by NJPA.

“Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, you’re asked to do more with less,” says Glass. “Oftentimes, while writing specs, I get hurried and end up pushing something through that leaves the door open for some kind of low bid on a non-quality product. While still adhering to procurement guidelines, with NJPA I can literally point, press, and click, and get exactly what we’re looking for.”

Glass says that writing specs, specifically on garbage trucks, requires extensive detail from bumper to bumper; but when buying off an NJPA contract, you know someone has done the legwork for you.

“NJPA allows a fleet manager or bid writer to get a good, quality piece of equipment to perform their job and help the bottom line,” says Glass. “McNeilus trucks have been tested and proven in our fleet time and time again.”

Continuous improvement and customer-driven innovation are two of the top priorities at McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing. The company prides itself on making specific enhancements to its trucks based on customer feedback and how they’re used in the field—every day, on every route.

For example, recent enhancements made to the Meridian Front Loader take into consideration the interactions that operators and service personnel have with the truck. Recent upgrades made to the Zero Radius Side Loader are an evolution of the product to make it even more efficient and extend its service life to keep up with increasing route demands.

With a need for durable trucks to stand up to a variety of routes and loads, Roanoke County opted for the McNeilus Heavy Duty 3.5-Yard Rear Loader. This truck carries a 3.5-cubic-yard hopper for routes that need a truck with more loading capacity. The truck’s compaction force handles up to 1,000 pounds of refuse per cubic yard. Fast pack cycle time and pack-on-the-go hydraulics keep the hopper clear and help save time, especially on routes crowded with stops.

Tough abrasion-resistant steel is used in the rear loader’s highest wear areas. Optional McNeilus Excalibre packing cylinders feature hardened nitride rods with a patented tool steel shaver that keeps debris out, reducing hydraulic contamination.

McNeilus Regional Sales Manager Matt Williams was contacted by Glass, who said his county was looking for a fleet of rear-load trucks. Williams shared the opportunity of buying off contract from NJPA and fulfilling the time-consuming bid process.

“I just sent him a quote with the specs, and it was as easy as that,” says Williams. “NJPA has already dealt with the legal jargon and jumped through the hoops. That’s the main concept of NJPA­—to make it easier for the customer and the vendor.

“When going out for a bid, a munic­i­pality may have to go with the lowest bid, and that might not necessarily be the truck they want. With NJPA, you get exactly what you want.”

NJPA’s cooperative contract purchasing leverages the national purchasing power of more than 50,000 member agencies while also streamlining the required purchasing process. McNeilus has been an NJPA awarded vendor since 2014.

“I’m proud to represent a company that stays on the cutting edge of the industry and provides a top-quality product,” says Williams. “We’re also factory direct. I like that the company I work for is the company that builds the trucks. If you have a question about a truck, you can call and talk to the engineer that built that particular vehicle. In the industry, there are so many vendors that have similar trucks, but McNeilus excels on the support service side of it. After we make a sale, our relationship with the customer is far from over. We want to be there throughout the longevity of the truck. And hearing from customers like Kevin is a testimony to the people and products at McNeilus.”

Glass and Roanoke County certainly are a testament to the ingenuity and innovation that go into producing refuse trucks and parts.

“McNeilus bodies and arms work great,” says Glass. “Our McNeilus trucks are probably the only group of vehicles in our fleet that come standard. We don’t have to stock parts in the parts room for the various types of equipment you can get from a low bid. We also don’t have to spend the money to have staff trained. Not only is that a savings of time for us, but also a cost savings to our taxpayers.”

With the demands of this industry, organizations need someone that will help them work faster, smarter, and more efficiently, McConahey recognizes. MSW_bug_web

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