There’s no doubt that trucks have come a long way over the past 30 years. But from the first Kenworths to enter the Toll fleet in 1992 – eight K100Es purchased to tow the company’s very first B-double combinations – through to the latest delivery of 10 new K200s delivered at the end of the March, one thing has been a constant.
Both businesses share a common desire to improve productivity and quality, and they continue to work hand in hand to do just that.
“The things we really need are reliability, back up support and back up service,” said Chris Carbone, Toll Group president – Resources and Industrials. “Anyone can sell you something, but it’s about that post-delivery support that we rely on from our suppliers and manufacturers, which minimises downtime for us.”
Toll runs a national fleet of over 2000 trucks. In the Resources and Industrials fleet, there are around 820 prime movers – with 450 of those manufactured by PACCAR Australia, under its Kenworth and DAF brands.
As national fleet sales manager at PACCAR Australia, Stephen May, explained, “Toll has played a key role in our process for continual improvement. It’s a joint pursuit of greater safety, productivity and driver comfort.”
In fact, Toll was a driving force behind the evolution of the K200, first released to market in 2010.
Back in 2008, while the K104B or K108 was still the right truck for the job, with an ageing driver population, Toll suggested that improvements to driver comfort, cabin entry, etc, were needed.
PACCAR took this on board and sought feedback from other customers too – but it was ultimately Toll that drove these changes.
And with that, the K200 was born. Toll’s first K200 prototype, delivered in 2010 was also the company’s 1000th Kenworth. With two drivers on that rig, it clocked up 400,000 kilometres within a year. “This provided us with invaluable feedback for further refinement,” added May.
Today however you’ll find that original Toll K200 taking pride of place at the National Road Transport Museum in Alice Springs. It sits alongside one of Toll’s early K100E prime movers.
Since then, Toll has purchased 350 K200 prime movers. The last 10 rolled off the production line in January, before being ready to go to work on March 31.
Powered by the Cummins Integrated Power 550hp X15 engine – which has been developed in partnership with Eaton – the new K200s are being used in B-double applications to cart fuel and gas across the east coast.
“The way we see it internally is that the K200 is the right truck for the application,” said Carbone.
“We’ve been a good buyer of the PACCAR product and have a long history with them. We work together well and it’s a very strong partnership, where we can share a lot of things with each other. I provide feedback to PACCAR and they take it on board. We’re obviously the ones out there running the equipment so we can provide insights around what issues can occur. Together with PACCAR, we’ve worked through and resolved those issues, and that makes the relationship even stronger.”
As May added, “It’s quite honest sometimes. But the relationship we’ve built with Toll isn’t just about the number of trucks they’ve purchased, it’s about that openness and honesty.
“Toll has a direct link to Kenworth’s engineers – that’s a jewel in our crown, the ability to constantly connect the people designing the product with the operators, face to
face. “That’s how we support each other. A lot of that feedback is taken on board. We’ve listened to Toll; and many of their ideas have become standard in our trucks, as our product has evolved,” May continued.
And this relationship extends through to PACCAR’s dealers too. “What I like is the ability to not only work with the engineers directly but as was the case with this recent delivery, there’s strong relationships at the dealerships level too,” Carbone said.
“Our dealers can come out and talk to us and we work through issues together. Once we nut out the problem, we have involvement from the factory and the dealership so when we put the truck on the road, it’s put straight into service.”
At Toll, there can be $100,000 added onto the truck post-production, so that’s where the dealer is heavily involved.
As with all of the new trucks coming into the Toll fleet, the new K200s have been specced up with all of the latest safety features.
As May attests, “I’ve been here a long time and seen a lot of truck specs come through and Toll is always ahead of the game in terms of safety. Toll is always the first one to take up any new safety upgrades or they’ve driven them in the first place,” he said.
More recently, Toll provided feedback very early in the development of the K220, which is set to go into production in June 2023.
“We’re now starting to look at the K220,” said Carbone, adding that the latest iteration in the Kenworth cabover stable was likely to begin entering the Toll fleet from next year.
For more information, visit paccar.com.au.