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Podcast

How to Get Your Cables Repaired Quickly and Get Back on the Road

Learn about F.A.S.T, and how it can get your cables repaired quickly. 

Episode 228: It is frustrating when you start hauling a load and break down because of a broken cable. In this episode, we are going to talk about a program called F.A.S.T. which is getting trucks back on the road faster than ever before.  

My guest today is Jerry Frans the Distribution Segment Manager at Orscheln Products. 

Jerry Frans the Distribution Segment Manager at Orscheln Products. In this episode, learn about F.A.S.T, and how it can get your cables repaired quickly.

Jerry Frans is the Distribution Segment Manager for Orscheln Products LLC has been with Orscheln for nearly 32 years in various capacities and has managed the Orscheln F.A.S.T. Cable Assembly Program since 2009, assuming responsibility for the Distribution Segment in July of 2021. 

Guest Website: OrschelnProducts.com

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Transcript of Episode:

Jamie Irvine:

You’re listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And this is the show where you get expert advice about heavy-duty parts that keeps trucks and trailers on the road longer while lowering cost-per-mile.

Okay, let me paint you a picture. You’ve been working quite a few hours in your truck. You’re heading out to just finish a load and your truck breaks down. Is that frustrating when something like a cable or something small like that breaks, and it stops you from doing your work. It can be quite costly to have unscheduled downtime. So if you have a problem with your cable, with a cable, a shifter cable, or some other cable, what do you do? Well in this episode, we’re gonna talk about a program called fast F.A.S.T., which is getting trucks back on the road faster than ever before. And to talk about this program, we’re going to talk to Jerry Frans. Now he’s the Distribution Segment Manager at Orscheln Products. And Jerry has an extensive background in our industry, 32 years in various capacities, both production, scheduling, customer service, inside and outside sales. So he’s seen and done it all. He’s worked for manufacturing companies and he’s managing this F.A.S.T. cable assembly program since 2009 while sorry, the program was established in 2009 and he’s been responsible for the distribution segment in 2021. So that is our guest’s background. Jerry, welcome to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. So glad to have you here.

Jerry Frans:

Hi Jamie. Thank you. Thanks for having me on.

Jamie Irvine:

So I’m in interested in talking to you about this program. I know when we were preparing for today’s interview, I saw a lot of correlations with some of my experience in the past with a program similar, but it was for just a different product, but very similar. So I was excited to talk to you about it. Let’s get into it right away. What kind of cables often need to be repaired or replaced? And is it one kind of truck? Is there various vocations? Just give us a kind of an overview of what this program helps people with.

Jerry Frans:

Sure. I’ll paint it in the picture of work trucks. You know, we’re all in that work truck type industry and it could be anything like a mixer truck to a fire truck to dump truck. Maybe even the step van delivery vehicles that’s running around our neighborhoods, delivering packages every day. Anything that’s doing, some kind of a vocational type of work is the type of thing we would call a work truck and all these work trucks have some type of a cable. The types of cables you might find on them is maybe a transmission shifter cable or a throttle control cable, and even brake cables or PTO cables. And if you think about it, even the valve controls and everything on these types of equipment have valve controlled cables at times, if they’re needing to be remote operated.

Jamie Irvine:

Right? So that gives us an idea of the kinds of vehicles that use these cables. Now is things trending, which way is it trending? Like as equipment gets newer and there’s a lot more electronics, are we seeing less cables or more, or what’s the situation there?

Jerry Frans:

Well, you do see some technology advancements where you’re using more air or hydraulics on vehicles that’s been going on for years. Interesting enough though, the cable industry has stayed very steady. I’ve done some research over our numbers over the past decade or more, and our cable numbers aren’t decreasing, although everyone would agree maybe those other things are taking some precedence, but there’s lots of applications. And probably the thing to think about is these trucks are run on the road or are being used for years and years. And so the service side of that is something that will continue for years. And I know we’re talking about trucks, but we, these things go on everything from combines to industrial pieces of equipment and agriculture stuff as well.

Jamie Irvine:

Yeah. I’m thinking of, you know, I’ve got a low bed and I’m towing out a piece of cat iron, and I might have a cable going both of those vehicle, both of those pieces of equipment on the same day. So, that would be a bad day. So when you go to repair a cable or replace a cable, what can happen if it’s not identified correctly?

Jerry Frans:

Well, identifying the cable is kind of the place to start. It gets, you know, everybody talking on the same language. So we’re all speaking the same thing. Now, control cables. There’s really only four or five different pieces of information. You need to identify a cable. And if you know that you can put into one of our part number formats, which is kind of a very logical numerical number that you could look at it and tell what the cable is, if you understand it. So that’s where we start identifying it. You know, you need to know what size it is. You need to know kind of what the range of motion or what we call the travel of the cable is. And then you’ll need to know the, how it mounts up and then finally length, how long is this thing?

Jamie Irvine:

Right? So if you get some, one of those things wrong, it might look like it’s gonna work, but then what can happen?

Jerry Frans:

Yeah. I mean, basically it’s not gonna work in your application. If you’re gonna be frustrated, the customer’s gonna be frustrated, but it may not fit. It may not bolt up. It could not actually travel far enough to allow whatever it’s connected to function properly. And then, I mean, it could even be too short or too long and ultimately, you know, it’s either gonna fail prematurely or not gonna work at all. So it’s important to kind of identify that upfront.

Jamie Irvine:

So when you have a broken cable, you wanna take it to somebody who knows all this and has the training and everything to be able to identify it correctly. Now, when you’re repairing these, walk us through, like, how does it work because specifically I’m thinking about getting like the access to the right tools. So you get a good crimp and all that kind of stuff. So when you’re trying to fix the cable, is it a replacement or are we actually building these cables for the customer so that they can go and install it on their vehicle?

Jerry Frans:

They’re actually building the cable system or the cables on the cable line, behind me is kind of an image of what a cable line looks very similar. So they have all the equipment necessary to build the cable right there. It’s not a repair job. You wanna replace it completely cuz usually it’s some kind of a broken part or a worn part or, you know, threads got messed up, so you need to replace the whole cable.

Jamie Irvine:

Right, right. So, okay. So it’s actually a new cable, but it’s assembled right there at maybe at the store or at the shop for you. So that, uh, that’s very, that’s why I mentioned it’s very similar to a program I used to do with hydraulic hoses and even the equipment and the bins and everything look kind of the same so that I think people who are familiar with that would get the concept. So how can the quality of the cable supplied impact the customer? You know, we’re always talking about lowering total cost of operations. So the last thing you wanna do is buy a part that then fails prematurely, adding additional cost. So what kinds of factors go into making a high quality product?

Jerry Frans:

Well, you know, time is money, right? So it is important to have a good quality cable things that go into it. You know, I like to mention is that the component parts that these cable lines use are the same components we use at the factory to build it for the original equipment manufacturer. So you’re not getting an aftermarket, a lesser quality, a cheaper thing. It’s the same thing we use and they build it in the same manner we do, always like to say, it’s just kind of on a mini-me system, you know, where you have a big factory doing it. They have an individual line that they work.

Jamie Irvine:

Right. So getting that high quality replacement part from Orscheln is so important because it’s an exact fit replacement, same quality as the OEM. So you’re gonna get the same kind of performance. Is that right?

Jerry Frans:

Exactly.

Jamie Irvine:

All right. We’re gonna take a quick break. And when we get back, we’re gonna talk more about the actual program that they offer and we’ll learn about that. So we’ll be right back. Don’t have a heavy-duty part number and need to look up a part? Go to parts.diesellaptops.com or download the app on Apple or Android to create your free account. Looking for high-quality fuel injection for heavy-duty applications? Having one supplier for fuel injection allows you to better serve customers by providing them with a complete line, which increases your sales and profitability. Learn more at ambacinternational.com/aftermarket. We’re back from the break. And before the break, we were talking about the importance of getting the right kind of equipment and the tools to be able to assemble a cable, making sure that you’re using the right kinds of quality OEM procedures and products to put that cable together and give it to the customer and have confidence that it’s going to work for them. Jerry let’s talk about the fast distributor program. First of all, what is it? How does it work?

Jerry Frans:

Well, the fast distributor program I’m gonna call it. It’s a turnkey system. It’s something we’ve been doing for actually over 30 years. We’ve had these cable assembly programs out there. We have over a hundred around the world, do this for us, but it’s a turnkey system, which means, you know, we provide you with the equipment and the tooling to do the different size cables and also the component parts, the stock and the bins that you see on the counter behind me there. Not only that is when we ship that in, we come in, we set it all up, we calibrate all the equipment, make sure it’s working properly. And when you train your cable builders right there. And so there’s instructions and build sheets and all the technical data that goes with it will be available and we’ll teach you how to use it.

Jerry Frans:

And then we certify that and then we head out and you get all kinds of support. You can always reach us and call us any time. We offer training videos, you know, with the distributors that have a link to a YouTube channel that has a list of questions. You know, I do that all the time about how do I wire this outlet or something in the house. They can do that with a F.A.S.T. System. If you have a newer assembler that’s trying to build a cable, he can come on and take a look and see how that’s done.

Jamie Irvine:

Right. So what kinds of companies do you typically talk to when you’re looking for a new partner for the program?

Jerry Frans:

Well, what we’re looking for is if you can imagine that go-to guy, that company that you think about that you always go to because they seem to always be able to solve your problem. That’s who we’re looking for. You know, these type of folks are always ones that, you know, they’re the type of people that would say something like whatever it takes is what we do or you can’t sell it, if you don’t have it, or, you know they don’t wanna let a cable walk out the door or anything they’re doing walk out the door. So those are the type of people we’re looking for. And the good thing about it is they come in for a cable, but they may see other things you do, like whether you’re selling batteries or fixing drive shafts, or it’s vice versa, they’re coming in for a brake job or have their truck worked done. And they realize you build cables in house. So it compliments all that. You mentioned hoses earlier. It is a lot like building hoses, just a few more cuts and crimps and a little bit more precision on the tape measure. But it’s a very similar technology and a lot of our assemblers are also a hose assembler.

Jamie Irvine:

Right. That makes sense. So these are the types of people that never say, oh, I’m sorry, I don’t have that in stock. They might say, I don’t have that in stock, but I will go get it for you.

Jerry Frans:

Yeah, yeah. Or I’ll go in the back and build it.

Jamie Irvine:

Yeah. Yeah. I’ll build it. I’ll find it. I’m gonna get that part for you no matter what. Okay. That sounds good. So what kinds of rewards can distributors who join the F.A.S.T. Program expect to get? Because you know, you already mentioned some of those little add-on benefits while the person’s already at your store, they might see something, but what other kinds of benefits would they, would they get being part of the program?

Jerry Frans:

Well, you, you think about the business that they’re gonna be getting into. You’re basically for a really small investment. You’re getting into building cables. You already have your storefront, but this is an add on. So it does add extra capability to what you can offer your customers, but it gives you a really good flexibility. You’re not just at a low inventory cost because you’re, you’re storing your components at a component level or your cables at a component level instead, a finished good level. You know, you think about, you walk into a parts store and they have every size, but the one you want, well in this situation, you just go back and make the size they want. And you know, what you’re doing is you’re really solving your customer’s problem because when they’re unit down, they need something up and running, you can do it quickly with a very high quality cable. So you’re solving their problem and they’re gonna come back and, and at the end of the day, just, you know, we’re all in business to make money. It is a very, very profitable business for, you know, that convenience.

Jamie Irvine:

Yeah. And I think that’s so important on the service side, because once people start to look to you as like a go-to resource, when they have problems, it opens up all kinds of other opportunities to sell additional parts and service. So like you said, whether they find you because of your cable program or they’re already there for something else, and then you can add on the cable program to solve another problem that they have. They’re just looking to you as a resource. And that creates good business for you. So for fleet operators, vehicle owners, why can they trust F.A.S.T. Distributors to provide them with a great product and a great service?

Jerry Frans:

Well, you know, we were talking earlier about the equipment and the training that goes into it. You know, these are factory certified assemblers, you know, and they’re working on their particular line. They’re very vested in taking care of you as a customer. So, you know, they’re gonna do a good job for you. We come around and we do what we call cable line audits from time to time, on a regular schedule, try to come in and check the equipment out and make sure it’s working, certify any new builders that have been training and then train new ones if we need to so we can keep a good pipeline. So these guys are the type of go-to guys that are gonna be ones to solve those problems. And that’s where you can take a high degree of confidence that they’re gonna take care of you because they’re again, using factory certified parts and build procedures to get you a cable that’s gonna last.

Jamie Irvine:

Yeah, this isn’t just a one and done for Orland. You’re looking for partners, not just customers,

Jerry Frans:

Right? The ones who really succeed in this are the ones that can think a little bit outside the box. And they have those qualities that I mentioned earlier about just really focused on service. Those those guys really do well. And, and I wanna mention also that when you’re a distributor, you’re on our website. So when people are looking for a control cable, they can find where a local distributor is and if they catch up with us and, and maybe it’s a timing thing, you know, factory has lead times and minimums and things like that. We forward business to our distributors all the time. So whether it be a smaller account that they can handle routinely, or if it’s a particular order we’re just needing them to help out with that. You can get business referred as well. You don’t have to go find it all yourself.

Jamie Irvine:

You’ve been listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And we’ve been speaking with Jerry Frans, the Distribution Segment Manager at Orscheln Products. To learn more about Orscheln Products, visit Orschelnproducts.com, links are in the show notes so that you can just do one click and you’ll be right there. Jerry, thank you so much for being on The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. And it was really cool to learn about the program that you have for cable. I think that was awesome. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Jerry Frans:

Well, you’re welcome. And thanks for having me. I appreciate the time and being able to explain the F.A.S.T. Program and how it can help the folks that are in our field of truck, parts, and service. So thank you very much. And if anybody has any questions, Jamie’s got the information on how to contact us, reach out, and we’ll be glad to help.

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