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Henner Tank Lines expands with modern maintenance facility

March 18, 2021
Operating as I-505 Truck and Trailer Repair, Henner's new shop boasts 12,000 sq. ft., express lane, wash bay and more on 5 acres

There is no question why maintenance is a critical part of the operation at Henner Tank Lines, Inc.

“Hauling petroleum products and intense competition for loads make fielding a reliable fleet essential,” said Doug Henner, CEO. “As we’ve added trucks to serve more customers and delivery locations, having the right service facility and staff is especially important.”

Headquartered in Vacaville, California, Henner Tank Lines fields 39 trucks and tractors to haul a variety of products throughout the San Francisco Bay, East Bay, and Sacramento areas. The fleet operates Peterbilt Model 389 trucks as well as Beall tank bodies and trailers from Wabash National. Until recently, these were maintained and repaired by four company technicians in a single bay shop and with a service truck. The carrier also relied on the support of local dealers.

“Operating 24/7 means never taking a truck out of service for any longer than necessary, and never having more than two trucks out of service at any time,” Henner said. “Our biggest challenge was having the space to service a fleet that has doubled in size over the past few years.”

Having realized it had outgrown its existing service facility, Henner Tank Lines set its sights on expanding its maintenance operation, and in 2020 the company purchased a five-acre property to house a new shop. The 12,000-sq. ft. facility has a pull-through express lane for inspections and regular service, four half bays for repairs, an 80-ft drive-through wash bay, and areas dedicated to parts, offices, and staff space.

“Our service operation has become I-505 Truck and Trailer Repair,” explained Ryan Ruffer, fleet superintendent. “Primarily, we service the Henner fleet but within the past year we have taken on maintenance and repairs for other companies. We service all makes and models of trucks, tractors, and trailers, and the location of our new facility near major interstates allows us to respond rapidly to road calls.

“We try to keep everything in house,” Ruffer added, “but for paint we use Transportation Services in Sacramento. We also use Axis Mobile Repair for trailer bushings and wheel alignments. The number one reason these companies get our business is because they drop what they are doing to get it done for us.”

In the new I-505 Truck and Trailer Repair operation are six technicians, including three with ASE Master Tech certification.

“Finding technicians who can hit the ground running is a challenge and having a shop full of highly qualified people only makes sense if you consistently have enough work to justify the cost,” Ruffer stated.

According to Ruffer, Henner Tank Lines also set out to equip the I-505 Truck and Trailer Repair shop with the latest technologies and management systems. Included are Noregon, Bendix, WABCO, Cummins INSITE, and PACCAR ESA (Electronic Service Analyst) diagnostic tools. In use as well is Cummins QuickServe Online for access to parts and service information.

“Those tools all reduce troubleshooting time and incorrect procedures and help quickly get vehicles back on the road,” Ruffer said. “We also use Fullbay heavy-duty repair shop software to control inventory and constantly evaluate costs.”

Ruffer added that Fullbay software is used to create checklists that require technicians to digitally sign off on each inspection item.

“Since implementing this program, our emergency calls and breakdowns have been cut substantially,” he said. “The checklist also sets a standard that is easily tracked, and with the digital signature it is significantly easier to find out if a technician needs training.

“The performance of the shop is measured through Fullbay as well,” Ruffer continued. “The dashboard in the software lets us tell at a glance where we are with hours and costs by week, month, or over the past year. The technician data in Fullbay is also a great tool to find out who might need coaching and who is doing a great job. Acknowledging good work is just as important as pointing out the bad.”

Having grown up in a family trucking business, Doug Henner says he has learned valuable lessons about what it takes to meet customer needs. Since Henner Tank Lines was founded in 2006, he has focused on having the right vehicles and drivers to ensure quality service. Today as well, that focus is on the company’s new and expanding shop operation.

About the Author

Seth Skydel