John Kiss enjoys getting creative, especially when it comes to architecting deals for Milestone customers. “If we need to build X number of equipment, we will place that customer-specific order, we are not restricted,” he says. “Because we are flexible, it makes us a premier provider.”
Kiss, who serves as Director of Midwest, Gulf and Western Regional Sales, shares about the benefits of new vs. refurbished chassis, how Milestone goes where its customers are, and why he has a-ha moments every day.
Tell us about your responsibilities as Regional Sales Director at Milestone Chassis.
I oversee the sales activity for the Midwest, Gulf and West regions. A lot of my time is spent in assisting with strategy and transitioning accounts for our clients. I’m responsible for overall growth for both revenue and volume, along with handling some of my own accounts.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy providing new and flexible solutions for each customer and the challenges that brings. We think “customer first” and try to put ourselves in their position to think about where we can provide benefit and value.
NEW VS. REFURBISHED
There’s a lot of discussion in the industry around new vs. refurbished chassis. Why is this so important?
New equipment is built to the most updated standards and will always have components like anti-lock brakes, PSI and all the newest most modern technology. Our chassis will always be built this way. When it comes to remanufactured, or refurbished, you are just doing that. You might get a new paint job and a few new things slapped on, like radial tires. But at the end of the day, it’s old.
At Milestone, we sell the total cost of operations of a brand-new chassis and we will share with customers what it costs to operate our equipment versus run of fleet or refurbished chassis. If you take our rates, combined with M&R expense for new chassis, versus rates for run of fleet or refurbished chassis and compare those two different costs, you will see a difference. If you look at the soft costs, time spent on the road, safety, keeping drivers happy, and listing those modern features, compared to the costs it takes to operate an older chassis – drivers being broke down by the side of the road and sheer lack of the modern equipment – once you stack those up, the argument becomes pretty compelling. It makes sense to use brand new premium chassis.
Has Milestone conducted studies on the benefits of using premium chassis vs. refurbished ones?
We have. We have done our own internal studies. There is also published data out there in terms of older pool chassis. You add those numbers together and you compare them, that’s what we drive home to customers. Our cost to operate a brand-new chassis is about .70 cents per day.
Compare that to $4-6 a day for standard run of fleet or refurbished equipment. Our customers know what to expect with Milestone. We are not changing specs on equipment. We will continue to build the most modern fleet. Nothing will be older than 2016.
FLEXIBILITY, CREATIVITY & GROWTH
Goals for the coming year in the Chassis Division?
Right now, we have 29 locations across the country. But we are looking at other locations where we need to have a presence. We’ve got a great network and great infrastructure in place. We can go to where our customers need us. The longer we do this, the more solutions we are able to offer. We’ve got the people in place with the experience; we’ve got the fleet in place to be flexible.
Are you looking at any other specific growth opportunities in other markets?
We see specific growth opportunity in multiple markets. It’s great that market conditions have dictated what people needed. The trucking community is getting more of a voice in the kind of equipment they want and need to use.
Your last a-ha moment?
Whether it’s location based or if it depends on the structure of the deal. We have a lot of those a-ha moments, which come from the discovery process and being able to provide customers with flexible, specific solutions. We want to architect deals to our specific customer’s needs. We have a-ha moments every day!