One approach to squeeze efficiencies from your hauling fleet

By |  October 26, 2020
ConExpo Roundtable


With aggregate producers conserving cash this year, many are exploring ways to get more out of the equipment they already have.

Producers are searching for efficiencies across their operations, with some zeroing in on their hauling fleet. One smaller investment producers can make in their haulers is in tailgates, which present an opportunity for a rather quick payback.

“In years when people aren’t buying new equipment because they don’t want to spend a half million [dollars]-plus on a new truck, they are trying to stretch as much as they can out of their existing fleet,” says Josh Swank, vice president of sales and marketing at Philippi-Hagenbuch. “If they don’t have tailgates on their fleet already, it can help them gain 15 to 20 percent additional payload on their existing [trucks]. It’s a very small financial investment that would typically pay for itself in 10 to 15 days.”

Although Swank estimates one-third of Philippi-Hagenbuch’s sales are driven by new truck purchases, he says two-thirds of tailgates are added once haulers are active in the field. Producers turn to tailgates for different reasons.

“Sometimes it’s because they get a new truck and they realize they really can’t haul what they were expecting to haul on that new truck,” Swank says. “But other times, it’s trucks they’ve been operating for five-plus years and they finally realized: ‘Gosh, we don’t know why we didn’t put tailgates on them earlier, but that makes a lot of sense. And that would really help us be more efficient.’”

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Says Philippi-Hagenbuch’s Josh Swank: “In the last five years, I have not encountered a single client [who] has taken longer than six weeks to pay off the price of the tailgate and installation in additional productivity.” Photo: Philippi-Hagenbuch

Some producers simply don’t have any experience with tailgates, he says, so they aren’t aware of the efficiencies that can be gained. As Swank describes, employees transitioning from one aggregate producer to another sometimes spark conversation about the advantages tailgates offer within companies that otherwise would not consider them.

“There’s a comfort level,” he says. “Some people think it’s an additional product to maintain – which it is. But maintenance on tailgates is extremely low. For the sheer amount of money that tailgates make a producer on an annual basis, your maintenance expenses are less than half of 1 percent of the additional payload. It’s just so astronomically minimal that it’s kind of crazy.”

As Swank describes, tailgates are the low-hanging fruit of truck efficiency.

“If there is a client looking at our tailgates and it’s not going to pay itself off in two months – on the long end – I basically say it might not be worth it for you,” he says. “I truly don’t encounter it [because] it’s such a low entry point. It’s such a small amount for a piece of equipment to add to get so much more.

“In the last five years, I have not encountered a single client [who] has taken longer than six weeks to pay off the price of the tailgate and installation in additional productivity,” Swank adds.

Carly McFadden contributed to this article.

Click here for more from P&Q’s conversation with Philippi-Hagenbuch’s Josh Swank.

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About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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