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Allison automatics give DC Bins a business advantage

DC Bins has added two Allison-equipped Fuso Fighter FK 62 1224s to its 20-truck fleet and will dispose of all manual-equipped vehicles as they come up for replacement, due to verified operational efficiencies registered with the fully automatic trucks.

Melbourne’s increasingly busy and often grid-locked roads make operating a skip bin hire business an often difficult task. For DC Bins, the latest Allison automatic Fuso Fighters have made life easier, both for drivers and business owner Don Santalucia.

“My trucks are on the road 11 hours a day, and the automatics mean the drivers are less fatigued and happier, which means they deal with customers better and make fewer mistakes,” he said.

Santalucia started the business 20 years ago with a single truck and now operates 20 hook lift-equipped trucks based at Campbellfield in the city’s north. Servicing the entire metropolitan area of Melbourne, DC Bins targets the building and home renovation industry.

“Apart from anything else, the drivers love the Fusos and really enjoy driving them because they are so comfortable and user friendly with the automatics,” he added. “Automatics are the way of the future; I just wish I had realized that sooner.”

Santalucia said he has also noted fuel economy gains over manual trucks, shattering the myth that automatics use more fuel.

“That is definitely not correct anymore, thanks to the electronics and other innovations in the transmissions,” he said.

The company draws 80 percent of its business from professional builders and the remaining 20 percent from owner builders and home renovators. Operating a business where reliability and dependability is everything, Santalucia demands the same from his trucks to ensure he delivers for his customers.

“We service the building industry and they need to know that a bin will be delivered and picked up, on time as promised. If a truck fails, it really causes some headaches and the automatics have been totally reliable and dependable since joining our fleet,” he said.

Using automatics also means DC Bins can recruit from a wider driver pool.

“Highly skilled drivers are hard to find, but the automatics allow us to hire less experienced personnel who can concentrate on steering and stopping the truck without worrying about changing gears,” Santalucia added. “It is easier to get drivers who can drive an automatic than manuals, and the intention is that we will only buy automatics so that we have a uniform Fuso fleet in the future.”

Santalucia also said the automatics mean less driveline problems without the need for clutch or gearbox repairs and replacements, which is a considerable expense with manual trucks.

“Obviously we were very happy with the run we had from the first Fuso and decided to buy two more. However with the next two, we decided to move to the automatics because they offer real advantages, with both better efficiency in traffic and also because it makes it easier to find drivers.”

Two of the DC Bin trucks are equipped with hook lift set-ups and the other uses a Morell hoist. Operating almost 400 bins of varying sizes, the trucks are on the road from 5:30 a.m. every day dropping off empty bins and picking up those that are filled for transport to dumps and recycling centers.

“The bin business has become more competitive and professional since I started 20 years ago. Only the professional operations have survived and flourished. My philosophy is to have good trucks and equipment, and communicate with our customers. That has paid great dividends for me,” Santalucia concluded.

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