Learn about Talbert and their high-quality trailers that are built to last a lifetime.
Episode 232: When a fleet needs a trailer for heavy haul, finding the right trailer for the application is critical. Talbert has been a leader of the industry for decades and offers a wide range of trailers to fulfill the needs of any fleet. Anything from 10-ton tagalongs to 500-ton lowboys, they’ve got owners, and fleet operators covered.
Troy Geisler the VP of Sales & Marketing of Talbert Manufacturing.
Troy has over nine years and has spent over nineteen years specializing in the trailer industry with experience in OEM and retail sales and operations.
Guest Website: TalbertMFG.com
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Transcript of Episode:
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.
I’ve worked in the trucking industry for about 25 years now, and the one thing I know about the trucking industry is there are many different vocations and sectors inside of this industry that we all love to be a part of.
Today I’m really excited to talk to a trailer manufacturer that focuses on one specific sector inside of the trucking industry. We’re gonna learn about their trailers. We’re also gonna learn about their parts program. So I am very happy to invite Troy Geisler, the VP of Sales and Marketing of Talbert Manufacturing to the show. Troy, welcome to The Heavy Duty Parts Report. So glad to have you here.
Hey, good day. And thank you for allowing me to join your podcast. Thank you for being an advocate for our industry. It’s well needed.
Well, I appreciate that, sir, and we’ve been trying to get together for a while. I’m glad to have you here on the show. So let’s get started right away and talk about Talbert Manufacturing. First of all, what sector of the trucking industry do you focus on with your trailers?
There’s a lot of spillover with Talbert. It’s amazing in the industry. You’ve been around for quite some time, Jamie, well over 25 years. I’m getting closer to my 20 year in the industry. One thing that I find is it’s fascinating, the usage. We get so blinded with trailers are just for, you know, construction.
They’re just for, you know, a certain segment and all of a sudden we get out in across the country and we find that our trailers are used in multiple applications. But today, let’s focus on just the construction piece to keep it more simple for Talbert and our bread and butter, which is the hydraulic detached low boy trailer.
Okay, great. So when we say construction, what’s the range of construction that we’re talking about? Because, you know, you could go from like a small little paving crew, maybe that’s working in an urban center all the way up to something much, much larger than that. So give us a little bit of a background on the actual trailer that you make for that sector.
Well, it’s trailers plural. You know we build our book of business over the years listening to our customers. And, you know, the simple thing is we’re here to fulfill a need and the needs can arrange vastly. For example, for us, we offer a 10-ton tag along trailer that pulls behind a dump truck used by, uh, various con uh, contractors, uh, from digging a hole in a backyard and a residential area to, you know, on the job, uh, or, or for personal usage.
We can go up to a 500-ton little boy that could be used to move very specialized equipment throughout North America. And so the range sounds drastic going from a 10-ton tag-along trailer to a 500-ton low-boy trailer. But when you have the experience, you have the background, and you have the support within the walls of Talbert, it makes the job that much easier, you know, from not only the engineering, the sales production, you know, all that’s needed to make a good quality product.
Right. So, you know, when I think about your ideal customer profile, right? Oftentimes with companies in manufacturing you’ve got many, and like you said, you’ve got this big range. So when somebody comes to Talbert and says, you know, Hey, we have a need, How do you, how does your team go about assessing that need and then putting them in the right product?
Great question. Again it’s about partnerships. And Talbert has partnered with some of the best dealers in North America, including Canada. And so what we have is we have a wide array of salesmen that go out in their areas of coverage. And so when there is a customer that has a need for heavy haul, a lot of times a salesmen on our dealership, they’re well versed or well trained, they’re professional enough to navigate them through to the other side.
However, when it comes into some questionable moves, some questionable product, or, Hey, we’re thinking about this and it’s new for everybody, that’s when they get us involved. I have a good group of experienced salesmen that have been in the industry for quite some time.
A lot of them have engineering background, which really helps to understand some of the obstacles that our customers can face, because let’s face it, you know, not only on the truck side over the years with all the requirements, the trucks keep getting heavier, but also the loads keep getting more challenging not only with the weight, but also the height, the width, the length, all of which matters, you know, when moving product from point A to point B.
So we just have to listen to what their wish list is and then kind of narrow it down because just like everything, we don’t have the Swiss Army knife of trailers that can be a one fit, one solve all, and we’re done. Instead it’s listening to what their needs are, not only today, but trying to anticipate what the needs may be in the next, you know, 5, 10, 20 years so we can maximize their investment. And that’s quite simply what it is.
And then listening to see what their needs are and maybe we can help to design and deliver a trailer that’ll accomplish the vast majority. And, you know, just kinda listening to see what some of their challenges are, any sort of regulatory changes that might affect them, both positively and negatively. And then also the ever-changing load and not only with the load, but also with the truck, you know, that trailer and the load attaches to.
So it’s a never-ending story problem going back to math and going to the story problems. But, you know, we’re up for the challenge. And the niceness too is in our bag. You know, we have the history and the experience that we can pull from.
Right? And, you know, when it comes to working with a customer and trying to find a solution for them, you know, I think you’re absolutely right. If you have like a one size fits all, it’s very generic. It’s really hard to solve a big problem because you know you’re gonna be sacrificing something on one end of the spectrum or the other with that kind of one size fits all.
Whereas with your lineup of trailers, you can look at their specific situation, say, Okay, like, what problem are you having? So let’s just walk through like one example to give people a, a feel for what that looks like. So let’s say I’m, I’m someone who’s kind of middle. I’m not the heaviest, I’m not the lightest, but I’m finding that the trailer that I’m using, you know, it’s not been up to the task.
So if I get this wrong, what are some of the things that are going to impact me economically if I choose the wrong trailer for the application I’m trying to use it for?
That’s a great question. You know, and it doesn’t even just boil down to money. Is this trailer gonna do the job? It’s a simple question, you know, is this trailer designed to do the job, or do I have to make certain sacrifices? And hopefully safety isn’t one of them, You know, because we have three core values at Talbert, safety, durability, and resale value. Safety is, we all share the same roads with, with our customers. And, you know, I always say, I don’t wanna put out a product that would threaten the jeopardy and safety of my own family.
So, you know, that’s been the cornerstone Talbert, the durability piece is, you know, how can we get the most bang for a buck and then the resale value, That’s the proof in the pudding there. I don’t control pricing on the used side when it comes to resell or auctions. So that’s what we’re mindful of. But the first one, you know, is safety. And we start our day every day, going through the plant in our meetings, and we focus primarily on safety. So, you know, that that’s the cornerstone right there.
I agree with you. And the economic impact of something going wrong, like, I mean, obviously the impact on people’s lives is the most important thing, but there’s an economic impact when things go wrong for the company, right? Like it’s a big deal. It could be the end of your company if you don’t, if you don’t take that seriously.
We always try to, you know, rope back in and understand is when we build a single trailer, that could be the cornerstone for that particular customer. Because, you know, not a lot of people have fleets, you know, especially in heavy haul. So a one off trailer is very important to the customer. In turn, it’s very important to us.
So if a customer doesn’t fully understand what they’re getting, that can pose challenges down the road, especially when they’re investing a hundred thousand dollars in a piece of equipment. And we have many, many memories of such matters where a customer thinks they’re getting something and, you know, we lose a deal over thousands of dollars, but then over time, you know, they have to limp along until they can either regroup or they have to settle.
And, you know, it’s just a headache during that time that they’re operating. So not only could the loads be rejected from the carrier and they lose the money, but also just navigating them on the road. You know, that trailer may not be designed fully for that load, whether it’s a concentrated load issue or it’s a width issue, a length issue, what have you.
Or it doesn’t simply have enough axles to support the load legally, you know, due to the regulatory road and bridges, you know, to, to make sure that with within that lane that they’re traveling, you know, they’re gonna be safe, they’re not gonna be ticketed, and you know, they can again, just safely navigate from point A to point B.
$5,000 saved on the purchase price could cost you tens of thousands of dollars downstream. We’re gonna take a quick break. When we get back from the break, we’re gonna talk about the support that Talbert gives all of its customers after they’ve bought a trailer. We’ll be right back.
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We’re back from our break and before the break we got a real great introduction to Talbert Manufacturing and the trailers that they make and how they go about servicing the industry. I love your three pillars, right? Safety, durability, and resale value. Those are guiding principles for your company. Troy, I have not come across the company that has a better three than that. I think that is so dialed into exactly what your customer’s needs are. So I think that’s fantastic.
A real testament to the high-quality organization that you work for. Troy, let’s talk a little bit about when customers, after they’ve bought the trailer, like it’s not an easy thing to manufacture engineer these kinds of trailers but then after they buy the trailer, they’ve gotta support it. And, you know, that durability factor is where this really comes in. But I’d like to talk to you about your after sales support. So first of all, give us an idea of how you work with your dealers and how that all works, and then we’ll talk about some specifics.
Absolutely. So, you know, just one of the challenges that we have, again, is the longevity of our trailers and the fact that there’s a lot of customization to our trailers. So when a customer calls in and they have an axle or they, you know, there’s a frame, they’re wanting to refurbish the trailer. There’s time there. So there’s the time element of digging through, you know, some of these trailers that are, you know, 25, 30, 50 year old trailers and trying to help the customer, you know, bridge the gap and get them, you know, back up and going.
But we do have a dedicated team here for aftermarket parts that can help our dealers with the support for the structural and for other complimentary products. So we like to look at it almost as a three prong approach with our dealership is number one, you know, we partner with reliable upstanding dealers that are recognized, they’re respected, and so we built our book of business again over the years, hitching our wagon to them.
And so these companies anymore, you know, it isn’t just a trailer on a gravel lot, you’re talking actual trailer dealerships that mirror automobile dealership. So they’re the full service, they can help you with new and used rentals leases, and then they have the complementation of the parts and service that they can go out and support their customers. They can also work on the trailers. And so we offer the technical support behind the scenes working with them to help them, you know, with any repair or any needs that they have, you know, to get, get our customers back up and going.
Well, I know just from looking at some of the material that you’ve got publicly available about your product, in many ways you’re engineering these trailers almost in some ways because of the durability factor. You’re trying to overengineered make sure that these things are gonna last. But let’s face it, when you’re working heavy and you’re working out there in the field, things happen. Things are gonna break.
So having that direct interaction with clients and customers of your product through your dealership network, isn’t that so important? Like when I sold parts, having a manufacturer like you come out and work with me in the field and talk to customers direct one on one and hear the stories and see the problems they’re having, this is a big part of providing that total support, not just trying to sell them a trailer, but making sure that you’re there for the lifetime of the use of that trailer. I’m sure that that’s the approach that you’re taking.
Yeah, it really is. I mean, you know, nobody wants to go down, nobody wants bad, you know, everybody wants to just operate in with the understand that, you know, we can go forward, we can be profitable, but, you know, things do happen and things do go bad. Emotions may heighten, but you know, you just have to take the approach that I would act the same way if I own that piece. And, and so then again, it’s just, okay, how can we get to the other side and what is the other side?
You know, so let’s determine what that is. And one of the obstacles we have in the heavy haul industry is terminology. There’s all sorts of various slang that could be regional or just down to that company where they referred to a part as a widget, and they’re trying to convey that. So
Could I tell you a funny story about that?
Okay. So when I was selling parts, you know, I think of a kingpin as a kingpin on a trailer, right? It’s what goes into the fifth wheel. So I moved from Vancouver to Northern Canada here where I live in Alberta now. And, we always just called it a kingpin.
And so this woman is ordering up a bunch of parts from me, and she says, I need a horse and then put in the expletive for its male member. And and I was like, Okay, you gotta help me with that one. What are you talking about? And she’s like, you know, a kingpin. I’m like, Oh, okay. I get it. So you were absolutely right about slang for regional areas.
Right? So thank goodness for technology because a picture can just, I mean, bridge that gap to where we’re scratching our head. We’re trying to identify what that is.
I would’ve been scared to ask her for a picture just in case of what I was gonna get.
Well, but you’re absolutely, hopefully nobody’s listening to you within the room.
Yeah, in the parts world, when I sold parts back when I first started, like there was no cell phone cameras or anything, so everything was verbal description, and it was difficult. You’re absolutely right, though. A picture it tells a thousand words, right?
And it does. And a lot of times, you know, there’s a little bit of like, how can you not know what this part is? But then, but then you get through that obstacle and then it’s okay, get back to work. You know our aftermarket parts team, they do a wonderful job of working and servicing our dealers, our customers, and then, you know, in the event that engineering’s needed, they’re there as well as our sales team that can help.
You know, it’s just a really team approach. And that’s what it boils down to. A lot of things we can do on our own. But let’s face it, there’s so much out there, there’s so much variety and variability and change that, you know, a lot of times you gotta investigate what it is.
You can’t make assumptions because boy, Murphy’s law just applies 10 times outta 10 when you go to that. So, so you can’t short change things. You just have to go through the process and just make sure that you’re gonna get them what they wanted. That’s number one, especially in heavy haul, with everything that we covered. But then also just to make sure that you’re working with your partners within, not only here internally, but our, our partners, the suppliers to make sure that we can, can all come together to ultimately give our customer what they need.
That reminds me of one of my parts mentors. He always said, Jamie, sell ’em what they need, not what they ask for. So you gotta get to the bottom of what the problem is. If somebody wanted to take that first step and look at one of your products, what’s the best way for them to do that?
I’ve maintained an old school approach, you know, good, right or wrong, word of mouth is just so wonderful. And we have so many advocates in and around the country, in and around North America, let’s face it, that are just advocates for us. And it goes beyond the Coke versus Pepsi, because, you know, that’s a taste, you know, you’re just tasting it, you know, we’re proven, you know and I can boast that. And so one of the things is don’t just believe me. Go out and ask and investigate.
You know, if you’re in a certain area and you’re wanting to get into something, you know, there’s certain people that’ll share with you. And then there’s others that are just totally off and close guarded to things. But at the end of the day, you know, if you don’t ask, you’re never gonna get what you want.
Troy, that is a, I think that’s a testament right there to how confident you are in the products that you’re manufacturing and the solutions you’re providing your customers. Because if you have so much confidence that you’re just like, Hey, just go ask somebody who’s used our product, and that’s what you, you know, you’ll get the information you need. I think that’s a great first place. We’re in a minute, we’re gonna give you the website for your company. I assume on that website there’s a dealer locator?
There is, yeah. We have dealer locator within our website and if not there’s a Contact Us section. I’m listed as well as the rest of my team, you know, reach out our way. You know, this is what we’re here for. We’re here to support the industry.
You’ve been listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine, and we’ve been speaking with Troy Geisler, the VP of Sales and Marketing at Talbert Manufacturing. To learn more about Talbert Manufacturing, go to talbertmfg.com. Links are in the show notes. Troy, thank you so much for being on The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I really, really enjoyed our conversation and I look forward to having you back.
Well again, Jamie, thank you. And also thank you fellow listeners. You know, this is a wonderful, vital industry, it’s the lifeblood of the world and, you know, without us moving it, it can’t be built. So, you know, this is an industry I’ve grown to love. Our family’s grown to love it, you know, it just doesn’t get any better than to, you know, help be a part of, you know, making this world the way it is.