Getting Products to Market
Since 1955, Universal Forest Products has consistently grown its brand portfolio, its product lines—and its reputation.
Since 1955, Universal Forest Products has consistently grown its brand portfolio, its product lines—and its reputation. The companies of Universal deliver a wide variety of wood and wood-alternative products to customers nationwide. Getting those products to market requires a dedicated fleet of tractor/trailers.
Universal Forest Products, Inc., is a holding company whose subsidiaries supply wood, wood composite and other products to customers in three robust markets: retail, construction and industrial. In 2013, its sales were $2.5 billion. Its transportation affiliate, UFP Transpor tation, Inc., relies on Great Dane flatbed trailers to deliver products and meet customer expectations. According to Matt Gilbert, Director of Asset Management at Universal, "One of our major growth goals is expanding sales to our industrial customers, for which we design, manufacture and deliver custom pallet, box and crate solutions. With increasing costs in almost all expense categories in transportation, optimizing the number of units we can ship on ever y load is critical. Adding 53-foot drop deck flatbed trailers to our fleet in many markets and 57-foot drop deck flatbed trailers in the Texas market has helped us stay competitive." He goes on to say that the long drop decks provide
a bigger "box" to fill before we "cube out."
"When we looked at competitors, we decided that the Great Dane trailers provide the best overall value."
– Matt Gilbert, Director of Asset Management, Universal Forest Products
As for controlling costs, Gilbert notes that the trailers allow for more units in every load, mitigating cost increases in other areas and helping the company maintain its margins. "The payback for the trailers happens relatively quickly if you keep the trailers running. And because the trailers have a relatively long life, they are a very good long-term investment," he adds.
The trailer purchasing process is a collaboration between the company and its Great Dane branch. "We have a longstanding relationship with Great Dane and a trusted relationship with their sales team. They have been wonderful problemsolvers for us. They listen to our challenges and present us with practical, timely, cost-effective solutions." Gilbert adds, "When we looked at competitors, we decided that the Great Dane trailers provide the best overall value."
The Low Down on the Drop Deck
Great Dane's Freedom LT and Freedom SE flatbeds both come with drop deck optional configurations.
Freedom LT | Drop Deck Features and Options:
Freedom LT features weight-saving steel and aluminum construction, which combines versatility and innovation with strength and durability to meet a variety of hauling needs.
• Standard upper coupler height is 40" with an 18" king pin location
• Drop depth from the upper deck is 20" with a rear deck height of 40"
• Reinforcing doubler plates in critical stress areas like crossmember punches and upper to lower transition area increase durability
Freedom SE | Drop Deck Features and Options:
Freedom SE features an exemplary blend of quality workmanship and proven design. This all-steel flatbed delivers long-term value and proven performance.
• Standard rear deck height is 40" with a drop depth of 20" for the standard 48" upper coupler height
• Standard upper deck length is 10', optional 11' front deck length available
• Galvanneal drop plate for corrosion protection
• Continuous side rail over wheel cut out