Midwest Effort on New Bodies Is ‘Step Above the Norm’
Frank Beverage Group prides itself on being a 4th generation family-owned and operated beer, wine and spirits distribution company that has always placed an emphasis on relationships, educating customers, creativity and an overall ease of doing business. Throughout the generations, the Middleton, WI company has continuously inspired new ways of delivering value to its customers and suppliers.
The exact same can be said of Mickey Truck Bodies, also a 4th generation family-owned and operated company that has built its 110-year-old business on loyal relationships; creative distribution solutions; outstanding value; and customer-friendly service.
It’s no wonder the 2 companies have forged a successful working arrangement rooted in a solid relationship between Mike Parker, General Manager of Mickey’s Midwest Reconditioning/Service Center in Bloomington, IL, and Kyle Nevenhoven, Logistics Manager for Frank Beverage Group. The relationship started with Mickey reconditioning sideloaders for Frank Beer Distributors, Frank’s beer distribution division. But last year, the relationship between the 2 companies took a “new” spin.
“Kyle was looking to purchase 3 new van bodies for the company’s growing liquor division,” explains Mike. “We had talked about Mickey’s engineering and manufacturing capabilities over the years, so he asked me to quote on the new units.”
“I turned to Mickey because our liquor bodies were not holding up well over the life of the chassis,” explains Kyle. “I might have a 10-year old truck that was still in decent condition, but the box was not in good shape; rust was the main issue.” He wanted a supplier “that could give me either a stainless steel or galvanized rear frame and ICC bumper – our 2 biggest problem areas. I also wanted to work us into composite rear doors to replace our standard wood doors, which have always been a problem. Mickey was the only supplier that could provide me with everything I wanted.”
Mike worked closely with Jim Hiatt, Mickey’s VP Sales for the Van Body team in High Point, NC, to come up with a competitive quote, and with Mickey engineers to meet the customer’s exact specs and even add a few extra features.
The quote included transporting the bodies from Mickey’s main manufacturing plant in High Point to Bloomington, where Mike and his team could mount them on new Kenworth chassis supplied by a local dealer. All the finishing work was completed at Mickey’s Midwest Center so that Kyle received 2 new 16-foot units – Captain Morgan and Crown Royal – and an 18-footer – Crown Royal.
“It wasn’t a typical sell-and-deliver process because of the logistics, but we knew we could still offer the customer a great product and a tremendous value,” says Mike. “The key was to keep the communications open between all parties throughout the entire process – the Midwest Center, our High Point teams, the chassis supplier and, of course, the customer. At the same time, Kyle was communicating the progress of the units to his salespeople to keep them pumped up.”
“This was a new venture for all of us, so continuous communication was absolutely critical to making sure the timing was right and that we got everything we wanted,” Kyle says. “We added another wrinkle by changing chassis manufacturers at the same time. It was a lot of new people working together for the first time.”
Mike also brought Kyle together with a local decal supplier and worked with them to create full-size decals for the backs and sides of all 3 units. The Crown Royal bodies were painted metallic purple to match the cabs, and the Captain Morgan body was painted black to match its cab. The units were mounted, trimmed out and finished soup-to-nuts in Mickey’s Bloomington plant.
“We were able to do all of the work right here and deliver 3 brand new van bodies – on time and on budget – that were a step above the norm,” says Mike. “We had excellent support from our High Point team, and from the customer, all along the way. Hopefully this will open up some other doors for us out here.”
“There were a few things we learned in the process since this was a new venture for all of us, but things went well and I’m very happy with the new trucks,” Kyle explains.