NANAIMO, B.C. – An e-mail from the operations manager of Paradise Island Foods concludes with the tagline: Treat every customer as if your world revolves around them … it does.
One of the first steps in providing elite customer service for Paradise is ensuring the drivers of the food production company’s private fleet can take pride in their trucks.
Paradise employs five drivers to operate its four tractors, which are all Kenworth T800 day cabs.
“We make sure we spec’ them out with chrome and all the goodies for the drivers,” said Jason Kozubal, operations manager with Paradise. “They spend a lot of time in the trucks, that’s their office and we make it nice so they can be proud. It gives us a good corporate image as well.”
Paradise operates a distribution centre and production facility in Nanaimo, B.C. from where the company services the majority of Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland.
Hauling a variety of food products, Paradise supplies grocery stores and grocery warehouses with dry, refrigerated and frozen goods.
“We serve about 300 customers on the island about twice a week and a hundred or couple hundred in the Lower Mainland,” Kozubal told Truck West.
As well as providing delivery services, Paradise also offers its customers third-party logistics. Providing third-party logistics is not a new service for the food processing company, but stems from the notion of making a customer feel like the world revolves around them.
“We distribute a lot of our own product, but we do some third-party logistics for our customers as well,” added Kozubal. “It’s a service that developed from delivering to our customers, who would ask us to pick something up in Vancouver and it just evolved from there.”
To provide customers with all their requests, Paradise ensures all the trucks are spec’d properly for the job and utilizes full-service leasing to reduce maintenance costs.
“PacLease full-service leasing has been great,” noted Kozubal. “With our small fleet, they understand our need for up-time.”
A number of technological advancements being utilized by Paradise also help the fleet run as smoothly as possible.
“Our corporate speed limit is 90 km/h for fuel savings, tire and brake wear,” explained Kozubal. “By doing that and having our drivers use progressive shifting, we realized a 26% fuel savings. It was huge.”
The trucks in Paradise’s fleet are also outfitted with on-board computers, which also helped the company create additional fuel savings.
Being able to accurately track fuel savings through electronic calculations has allowed the company to pass on some of those savings to the people behind the wheel.
“We’ve incorporated it into a bonus system because we can now track it accurately,” noted Kozubal.
The drivers for Paradise log their hours on the road through electronic logs, which as well as ensuring the company is fully compliant with regulations, allows the drivers to focus on driving and spend less time filling out paperwork.
Not all technology being utilized by Paradise is installed in the cabs of the trucks.
The trailers have also seen improvements in recent years, with the installation of Grote low-temp fluorescent lights and the new multi-temperature Carrier Deltek Hybrid.
“A big difference is when loading or unloading, you can plug it into the building and run it on electricity,” Kozubal commented on the Carrier product. “It’s more efficient on diesel as well, and very quiet. It’s a win/win situation for us.”
Kozubal has been with Paradise for the past seven years, but has spent many years in transportation and warehousing working for a number of companies including Frito-Lay and UPS.
The trucks are important to the operation, but Kozubal is cognizant to make sure his drivers are taken care of as well. Paradise recently outfitted the drivers with electric pallet jacks.
The response from drivers has been phenomenal, according to Kozubal.
The electric units take a lot of stress off the body and provide a safer work environment on the docks.
“It’s a big safety improvement; it’s possibly one of the best investments we’ve made,” added Kozubal. “The most important thing is the people. We listen to them when spec’ing trucks.”
Kozubal credits much of the fleet’s – and drivers’ – success to a culture of doing it right, or not doing it at all.
“We extend that to our drivers and to our customers,” he said. “We get tickled pink when we get complimented from customers on how our drivers can get vehicles into places most other companies wouldn’t even attempt. We’re very proud of them and our fleet.”