Nalley Motor Trucks

When looking to succeed in Atlanta’s competitive trucking industry, a company has to be on top of customer demands.

Nalley Motor Trucks has maintained the experienced personnel that makes it an industry expert in the third-largest trucking market in the United States.

“We have great employees and great managers that really understand the market,” General Manager Bill Bilbo says.

“When you look at our average manager, they have probably 10 to 15 years of experience. There are a number of technicians that have only had this job their entire career.”

Jim Nalley founded Nalley Motor Trucks in Atlanta in 1971. At first, the company served as a dealer for commercial and Brockway trucks. Today, the company’s seven brands are Peterbilt, Navistar, IC Bus, Isuzu, Hino, Workhorse and UD.

Bilbo took time to speak with Supply Chain Solutions about how Nalley Motor Trucks retains employees, how the company deals with the economy and his vision of the future.

Supply Chain Solutions: You say employees have been a reason for the success of Nalley Motor Trucks. How has the company retained its work force?

Bill Bilbo: The culture that started with Jim Nalley was to really try to make Nalley Motor Trucks the only place you work at for your life.

First, you have to have a good work environment. Second, because we have not had to downsize due to our breadth of product line and the size of our market, we offer stability.

We have the state of Georgia municipal contract and the IC contract for the state of Georgia. Combine the bus business with the other product lines, and that’s the reason we are able to keep business coming through the doors here.

SCS: What trends are you dealing with today?

BB: A majority of our business is tied in with construction. What we had to do with the housing market in the doldrums in Atlanta is look at our business model and revise it.

We went after other businesses we hadn’t done business with in the past. As a result, we had to change some ways that we approach the business.

We started a school bus refurbishing program about a year ago. Part of the reason is we have a 42-bay body shop with three down-draft paint booths, and with the trucking industry slowing down, the volume in the body shop started to slow down.

We went after business that we traditionally would not have considered.

SCS: How did this new initiative fix that problem?

BB: With the tax base in Georgia – Atlanta, specifically – declining, Gwinnett County started a bus refurbishing program. > 

They took a certain type of bus at a certain age and mileage and put a menu together of items that they would like done to that bus. We can put them back into the marketplace for another eight to 10 years, which saves the school system 65 to 75 percent of the cost of a new bus.

We’re going to recondition fire trucks next, and from there we’ll move into garbage trucks, ambulances, etc. All those markets haven’t looked at reconditioning as a means to stretch dollars, but that’s what they’re doing now.

SCS: How are you adjusting to the recession?

BB:  Each market is unique. In today’s economic environment, you have to think outside the box.

One of the things we’ve done is put GPS tracking on all 27 of our mobile technicians and on our 22 parts delivery trucks.

By leveraging technology, we can better serve our customers and force the competition to catch up.

SCS: Any other new developments within the company?

BB: Along with GPS, we incorporated a mapping program that uses the GPS with our customer database system. This can bring up customers along a specific route that shows the parts they’ve purchased from us to date.What we’re trying to do here is leverage that technology to where people inside our phone rooms look at the delivery system and call these customers, letting them know we have a truck in the area in case they need anything.

SCS: How has the response been?

BB: Actually, the main thing is that I’m not getting any customer complaint phone calls.

At the end of the day, most of the  parts are going out on time, technicians are where they need to be and doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and we’ve had very few customer complaints on the system.

SCS: How would you describe your relationship with your suppliers?

BB: Our suppliers are our partners. Most of these people have been doing business with us for a long time.

We don’t look at costs as the No. 1 issue. We look at service and our partnership. Our suppliers have got to be able to make money, so we look at it as a marriage; it has to be good for both parties.

Corporate Head Office

Transportation and Logistics International

Cringleford Business Centre
Intwood Road
Cringleford, Norwich, UK

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North American Office

Transportation and Logistics International

Finelight Media
207 E. Ohio Street Suite 351
Chicago, IL 60611

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