Thunder Creek Delivers Big Changes for Moffitt Services
Moffitt Services — a Texas-based fuel and lubricants distributor committed to providing quality fuels, lubricants, and superior service to customers that operate heavy equipment, generators, automotive and truck fleets — finds itself in the crosshairs of unique situations and opportunities. The greater Houston area remains the second-fastest growing metro market in the United States, which has entirely changed how construction takes place in the region. A byproduct of that has been an increase in demand for more agile and fast-turn fuel deliveries — often in smaller quantities and spread across a more expansive footprint of the region.
“In the Greater Houston area, development has been at a feverish pace — particularly residential development,” says Carl Kleimann, partner/owner, Moffitt Services. “They're building subdivisions so fast that homes are being built before the power grid is even up and connected. In many cases, we're making deliveries of 20, 30, 40 gallons a day to generators that are powering the construction of a single-family home. We didn't see this 10 or 15 years ago.
“We didn't even see this five years ago. It’s a very small delivery and it requires a lot of efficiency to do it cost effectively. It’s very important, because this is many of our customers’ livelihood. If they didn’t have a generator, they might have to wait for another year to be able to start that development. We’ve needed to develop a different set of skills around productivity and efficiency, and Thunder Creek helped us meet this challenge.”
The company, founded in 1947, originally focused on delivering fuel in large volumes, but has taken these unique market challenges head-on with the help of Thunder Creek Equipment and its Multi-Tank Trailers, and medium duty trucks equipped with Thunder Creek’s Multi-Tank Upfit.
This has been a significant shift the company’s approach to fleet management, ownership, and execution. Both Thunder Creek solutions — capable of carrying up to 920 gallons of diesel in a platform that does not require a HAZMAT endorsement — are significantly smaller than the typical 4-5,000 gallon fuel haulers the company typically deployed. Those larger rigs are still critical to the business, but the diversification in style and size of vehicle has opened up new opportunities.
“Not only do we need to service generators on busy construction sites, but we also sell to customers who have standby generators,” Kleimann says. “Any hotel greater than three stories, office buildings of any size are required to have standby power. In many cases, those generators may be in a parking garage, or they may be located near a dock or an area where it's just not practical to get a 45- or 50,000-pound bobtail. The Thunder Creek trucks and trailers give us a really good solution for this.
“It’s the same in these growing subdivisions developments. In many cases, the roads and the infrastructure are still being developed and our customers would much rather have a pickup pulling a Thunder Creek trailer or a Thunder Creek truck going through that development than a [much larger truck].”
Crafting a More Efficient Fuel Delivery Platform
The decision to add Thunder Creek Multi-Tank Upfit trucks and Thunder Creek Multi-Tank Trailers to the Moffitt Services fleet became a situation of necessity to maximize these unique opportunities. The company now has 20 different Thunder Creek units spread throughout Texas serving customers and jobsites of all sizes.
“We were growing faster than we could really acquire trucks or bobtails and commercial drivers,” Kleimann shares. “We came across the team at Thunder Creek and suddenly we were looking at a very interesting opportunity. These pieces of equipment really do play an important role for us, particularly in our fast turnaround, same day service environment.”
The Thunder Creek Multi-Tank Upfit is currently compatible with a number of available medium duty truck chassis. It features six independent, 115-gallon diesel tanks that feed a diesel pump at the rear of the truck. Options include a variety of meters for measuring, security and tracking, numerous reel options and lengths, and a two-stage fuel filter system (10- and 4-micron filter) to ensure greater fuel quality.
Because the independent 115-gallon tanks are only tied together when each tank is opened up by the manifold at the rear of the truck, drivers can legally transport 920 gallons of diesel without a CDL or HAZMAT endorsement*.
Moffitt Services also relies on a fleet of Thunder Creek Multi-Tank Trailers — the original industry solution for transporting bulk diesel without a CDL or HAZMAT (depending on the size and weight combination of the truck and trailer). These trailers are built to maintain a low profile and are configured to provide optimal balance and a smooth ride at highway speeds, as well as in the most rugged off-highway conditions. Each trailer can be complemented with a 100-gallon two-in-one DEF system, and a utility box that allows its owner to customize the back end with greasing systems, welders, generators, air compressors and more.
Between a challenging labor market, fluctuating demand volumes and an ever-expanding footprint, the ability to have these units driven/operated by drivers who do not have a CDL or HAZMAT endorsements has provided a significant business advantage.
From a fleet management perspective, it’s also significantly more practical to have the Thunder Creek units on standby than much larger, more expensive vehicles.
“Having the availability of the multi-tank units, the MTT920s, gives us the ability to ramp up quickly,” says Kleimann. “In the event of a disaster or some type of event on peak summer days when we're already at our busiest, the trailers allow us to react faster. There's just not a better way to move product quickly. The other option is having $350,000 bobtails parked and not enough commercial drivers to operate them. It's really a no-brainer.”
The Thunder Creek units also provide another advantage: the manufacturer’s proprietary 2-in-1 diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) system that provides a turnkey way of delivering DEF to the field while keeping it free of contaminants.
“The Thunder Creeks have a great DEF dispensing system,” says Kleimann. “It's very difficult to find bobtails equipped with a good diesel exhaust fluid system. Thunder Creek's done a great job with this.”
Taking all of these factors into consideration, the addition and deployment of these unique fuel delivery systems into the Moffitt fleet has helped the company stay true to its most critical commitment to its customers: trust, speed of service and dependability.
“We try to focus on those industries, those businesses, and those environments where failure is not an option, or at a minimum is very expensive,” explains Kleimann. “If you run out of fuel on a job with 15 or 20 pieces of equipment, that can be very costly, and our job is to make sure that doesn't happen, and we take that job seriously. We are open all the time. The company never stops, it never sleeps. We are always ready.