Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) is a member-owned private utility company that provides electricity service to homes and businesses in the Texas Hill Country. In business since 1938, PEC fleets provide around-the-clock storm and emergency response service.
They operate a fleet of more than 380 vehicles and 350 pieces of specialty equipment. At one time, PEC relied on 70 individual vendors to aid in the management and maintenance of their fleet. This created a mountain of inefficiencies. As a result, in 2012, PEC began researching on-site maintenance programs before finding the right partner in Penske Truck Leasing.
PEC understands the importance of responding quickly to a power outage. Thanks to Penske's on-site maintenance program, PEC now enjoys a healthy fleet, allowing them to respond to daily activities as well as emergency outages more efficiently.
Since the program's inception, it has been a collaborative effort with Penske technicians working on-site and shoulder-to-shoulder with PEC's Fleet Maintenance staff, splitting the labor between cab/chassis maintenance (Penske) and hydraulic maintenance (PEC). PEC now enjoys service improvements, greater efficiency and higher satisfaction from their field linemen who operate the vehicles and equipment.
Penske helped PEC improve the health of its fleet and move from a reactive maintenance program to a preventive one. PEC now has the ability to access and analyze complete fleet data and enjoys total accountability and superior reliability.
Penske staffs mobile repair units in three PEC hubs – located in Liberty Hill, Kyle and Johnson City, Texas. They also service all PEC locations and serve as a single point of contact for all vehicle maintenance and repair work. This provides PEC with seven-day-a-week coverage and allows the cooperative to perform preventive maintenance during non-peak demand time.
With a preventive maintenance program now in place, PEC enjoys fewer repairs, less towing and fewer vehicles sitting on the sidelines. Overall compliance is driven by a DOT inspection process that is performed before and after every trip. Penske also handles warranty coverage on repairs to recoup rebates, something that previous time constraints prevented PEC from doing.
"The real benefit of bringing Penske in is improving the health of the fleet and moving from a reactive maintenance program to a preventive one."
—J.P. Donley, system maintenance director for PEC
"Penske handled one of our warranty repairs that, in the past, would have shut down an entire crew for one day," said Tony Whitehead, PEC's construction/service manager at Liberty Hill. "They were able to get a part that was on a two-to-three week critical backorder in two days. That saved weeks of downtime on one of our most important trucks." In another instance, Penske completed a transmission repair in two days. Prior to Penske, that repair would have taken weeks.
The Penske Fleet Management Program allows PEC employees to focus on what they do best. "We used to run about 15 trips per month to dealerships to drop off trucks and pick trucks up. That equates to 180 trips a year that tie up at least two linemen at a time," said J.P. Donley, system maintenance director for PEC. "With Penske, those tasks are eliminated." If a lineman experiences a truck problem on the road, they will continue to utilize local mechanics for some vehicle maintenance. However, Penske manages the repair process – including pickups, drop-offs, invoices and payments – saving PEC countless man hours.
In PEC's material yards and vehicle bays, Penske technicians work alongside PEC mechanics, who continue to handle repairs to hydraulic systems and other special equipment. "My guys now have someone they can trust who knocks it out," said Mike Mowrey, PEC's fleet maintenance manager. "They are loving it."
The Penske partnership gives PEC access to Penske's customer portal. It provides PEC with detailed cost and repair data, creating more informed purchasing choices. Information is then collected and analyzed, resulting in actionable insights that provide greater visibility into potential next steps. This information will drive critical decisions such as ordering new assets or extending vehicle ownership as a result of a comprehensive vehicle maintenance solution from Penske.
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