Why truck preventive maintenance matters

by Tony Roberts, Stowers Truck Service Truck

The goal of a successful preventive maintenance program is to establish consistent practice designed to improve the performance of the truck equipment, and improve safety for everyone.

Moreover, the planned maintenance of your truck equipment will help extend your vehicle’s life and avoid unplanned maintenance activity, whether related to the engine or chassis.

A successful preventive maintenance program is dependent on the cooperation of all parties involved, which is why it’s so important to have your maintenance performed by a reliable service provider.

Preventive maintenance is more than just changing oil and filters! Such maintenance should be performed by a qualified technician with the training and understanding to troubleshoot possible issues that could be a problem down the road–or even a possible safety issue that could prevent an accident.

Also, a fleet owner or owner-operator who values successful preventive maintenance will understand the significance of pulling oil and coolant samples and keeping good records. Once several samples are taken and analyzed, you can see how the engine wear pattern is playing out, and a reliable service department will keep your records on hand for you to request at any time. Fluid is also checked for foreign materials that will be analyzed by a qualified technician to determine what area of the engine is starting to fail. This process can save the truck owner thousands of dollars.

Here are other important benefits of a good preventive maintenance program:
• Better conservation of assets and increased life expectancy of the truck engine, chassis and other parts.
• Decreased equipment downtime; pulling samples can help eliminate unexpected failures.
• Improved safety and quality conditions for everyone.

Caterpillar to Explore Strategic Alternatives for Certain Mining Products

Caterpillar announced Aug. 22 that it is making changes to its product line-up, including that it will discontinue production of track drills and is reviewing its room and pillar product lines, which serve a segment of underground soft rock mining customers.

Caterpillar and Stowers Machinery Corporation remain committed to existing customers and will support those room and pillar and track drill fleets currently in operation.

“These moves, which align with Caterpillar’s ongoing restructuring, will allow us to focus resources on those areas of the business that provide the highest, sustainable growth and best long-term returns,” said Denise Johnson, group president with responsibility for Resource Industries.

Room and Pillar and Track Drills

The room and pillar underground mining products under strategic review for possible divestiture include continuous miners, feeder breakers, coal haulage systems, highwall miners, roof bolters, utility vehicles and diesel vehicles. While under review, Caterpillar will stop taking new orders. Stowers will continue to provide parts and service for this equipment while it is under review.

Production of track drills will be discontinued, and no new orders will be taken.

“Caterpillar remains committed to an extensive mining product portfolio. We firmly believe mining is an attractive long-term industry, and we continue to invest in a broad range of products, both surface and underground. We are targeting our investments within the mining product portfolio to concentrate on those areas with the highest profitability potential,” said Johnson.


Workforce Impact

In conjunction with the announcement, Caterpillar expects to take actions to reduce the workforce in Houston, Pennsylvania, where the room and pillar products are manufactured. While the company intends to sell the room and pillar products, it will also assess other options, including a possible closure of the Houston facility.

Total workforce reductions of up to 155 positions associated with the room and pillar business are expected, with some occurring immediately. These actions will more closely align employment levels with current end-market demand.

In Denison, Texas, where track drills are produced, approximately 40 positions will be eliminated as a result of the track drill exit and other facility restructuring.


Repurposing of Winston-Salem Facility

In addition to these moves, the company also continues to evaluate the most efficient and effective use of its manufacturing footprint. The company announced today it will repurpose its Winston-Salem, North Carolina, facility, transitioning it from a mining to a rail facility beginning later this year. Operations will transfer to Progress Rail, a wholly owned Caterpillar subsidiary.

As a result, the company will relocate the manufacturing of some components used in large mining trucks from its facility in Winston-Salem to its existing facility in Decatur, Illinois.

To learn more about how these changes could impact your organization, please contact a Stowers sales representative.

Meet Stowers Machinery’s middle man: Eddie Collins

Eddie Collins
“Eddie Collins has been the glue that has kept the sales department successful over the past 36 years. His efforts have enabled us to deliver product on time and get the right product to the customer to fulfill their needs. Eddie’s wisdom and knowledge of Cat products is invaluable.” – Travis Smith, Stowers’ general sales manager

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes at Stowers Machinery when a customer buys a new machine – if it’s not already on the lot, it needs to be acquired. While many customers may know their Stowers machine sales representative well, they probably don’t know that the man who is busy pulling strings to get that new machine into the customer’s hands is Eddie Collins. And Eddie has had his hand in acquiring just about every new earth moving machine that Stowers has sold for the past 36 years.

“Sometimes I’m driving around town, and I see all this Cat equipment, and I know that, at one time, that piece of equipment came across my desk,” said Eddie, whose official title is sales administration manager. “And then I realize that, for the last 40 years, almost all the construction in East Tennessee, I had something to do with it if there was a Cat machine being used.”

Eddie celebrated both his 60th birthday and 40th Stowers work anniversary in April—but he’s nowhere near done yet. He expects to become one of the very few 50-year Stowers employees. He said he loves his job and definitely has another 10 years in him.

When he first came to Stowers Machinery, Eddie worked in the warehouse and then moved to the parts counter. When he was working at the parts counter, he was a backorder parts clerk—a job that has since been automated.

“Back then, all backorders came to me and I’d check our other stores to see if they had the parts, and if they didn’t, I’d order the parts from Caterpillar,” he explained.

In his current role, Eddie sums up his position as “anything to do with new machines.” That includes ordering machines, machine inventory, scheduling deliveries and finding machines that customers want to buy, that Stowers doesn’t have in inventory. That latter part of his role has required Eddie to work with all the departments of Stowers Machinery, and also to develop strong relationships with other Cat dealers.

“I think that’s my forte, my relationships,” Eddie said.

Next time you buy a new machine, you’ll know that Eddie Collins at Stowers is the middle man pulling the strings behind the process, and he hopes to be doing the same for many years to come.