CENTRAL CITY, Neb., October 8, 2009 – As Bill Pullen tells the story, his original decision to buy Kenworth trucks was automatic. Literally.
“Back in 2000, there was a long wait for medium duty trucks with automatics, but Kenworth had them. We needed trucks to mount our custom mixer-feeders on, so we thought we’d give them a try,” recalled Pullen, who is owner of Bill’s Volume Sales based in Central City, Neb.
According to Pullen, that decision was very fortuitous and it’s been reaping rewards ever since for his company, which also has sales and service locations in Lexington, Neb., and Pierce, Colo. “It allowed us to try the Kenworth product and see if it would make a difference with customers. And, has it ever.”
Today, the company orders about 40 Kenworth T370s, and a handful of Kenworth T800s each year. It also retrofits used trucks with mixer-feeders. “About 95 percent of our new cattle feeders are built on the Kenworth chassis,” Pullen said. “It’s our truck of choice and what we recommend to customers.
“The quality of Kenworth trucks is much more evident over time as the trucks are lasting as long as our ROTO-MIX(R) cattle feeders. Before, with our other truck makes, the chassis just wouldn’t hold up,” Pullen said. “Probably the most noticeable was in the doors. As drivers continually got in and out to load the feed mixers, doors began to sag. After two years you could see doors not hanging correctly and hard to close. But with a Kenworth truck, that’s never been a problem. They always close tight and are very comfortable to drive.”
In 1984, Pullen and business partner Ben Neier developed the high-end ROTO-MIX mixer-feeder, which runs off the truck’s PTO. They later simplified the design to efficiently mix several different feeds into a 620 cubic-foot feed mixer body on the Kenworth T370 and 920 cubic-foot body on the Kenworth T800. The company also makes trailers with the feeding system.
“My business partner (Ben Neier) always said: ‘It’s not hard to build machinery. It’s hard to make it simple,’ ” recalled Pullen. “It didn’t take long for word of mouth to help propel our sales. Now, we’re one of the largest feed mixer companies in the world – selling new units as well as reconditioning and selling used mixers.”
While it seems that cattle feeding is low tech, Pullen says it’s anything but. “It’s not easy. You need exact science on feed and have to deliver the feed each day or the cattle get out of schedule, which hurts the fattening process that takes 120 to 180 days,” he said.
“We typically spec a 6-speed automatic and very low gearing on our Kenworth T370s. This allows the truck to run comfortably between 3.5 to 5 mph, at the right RPMs, laying down the feed. With our equipment, we don’t want to go too quick and have to make another pass. Plus, the Kenworth trucks need to be easy to drive with good visibility – and they are. Remember, when you’re operating on a farm, you don’t need a CDL – there are teenagers out there driving the equipment in family-run operations.”
According to Pullen, the trucks are equipped with electronic scales, which allows the operator to add the exact amount of feed to the mixer. “With our system, cattle get fed better than most people do,” laughed Pullen. “Since the mixers always have to be running in order for the cattle to remain on schedule, Kenworth dealer support is invaluable to us.
“The folks from Sahling Kenworth have come out and understand how vital it is to our customers that our mixers perform day in and day out,” he said. “They’re committed to us and our customers, and have mobile service units in York and Kearney, Nebraska. They’re on call seven days a week and are committed to be there to solve any problems that may arise.”
Pullen said his relationship with Kenworth and the dealership couldn’t be better. “We’ve been very happy with how things have developed and the commitment in quality trucks and service that Kenworth provides,” Pullen said. “I’ve been in the business since 1963 when my father and I developed our first feeders. I know how important a quality feeder is – we had more than 1,000 head of cattle back in the early years. So, my dedication is to giving my customers a quality product on a quality chassis. And Kenworth delivers.”
Kenworth’s quality products, combined with excellent dealer support from dealers such as Sahling Kenworth, contributed to Kenworth receiving 2009 J.D. Power and Associates awards for “Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Heavy Duty Dealer Service.”*
Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best(R) heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth is an industry leader in providing fuel-saving technology solutions that help increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The company’s dedication to the green fleet includes aerodynamic trucks, medium duty diesel-electric hybrids, liquefied natural gas trucks, and the Kenworth Clean Power(R) no-idle system. This year, Kenworth became the first truck manufacturer to receive the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Excellence award in recognition of its environmentally friendly products. In addition, Kenworth is the recipient of the 2009 J.D. Power and Associates awards for Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Over the Road Segment and Pickup and Delivery Segment Class 8 Trucks. Kenworth’s Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth. A PACCAR Company.