April 7th 2022
The Munden family began buying Peerless trailers for log hauling in the 1960’s and that relationship has continued to strengthen over the years. Andy McEachern, Senior Vice President, Peerless, has been hands-on in that relationship for almost 30 years.
On a recent trip to the Peerless Manufacturing facility Andy shared some of that history; “Mike Munden and Jim Munden worked with our team to come up with some clever ways to haul logs. Peerless designed a quad axle short trailer with an expandable length sliding frame and some long log/short log applications on tandem logging jeeps for the Mundens. Both Mike and Jim were exceptionally thoughtful and keenly interested in how to make new inroads in traditional logging methods.”
Trust, honesty, and shared values have been the pillars of the business relationship with Munden Ventures, and continues with the recent merger to become LOTS Group Canada. “We are watching our partnership with Peerless grow to the next level as we rapidly expand our forestry transportation footprint throughout BC,” said Greg Munden, Managing Director, LOTS Group Canada.
“They just pull better” is a common phrase from our professional drivers when they talk about Peerless trailers compared to other trailers they have towed during their log hauling career. A driver might not understand all the engineering that has gone into the trailer design, but they are certainly experts in understanding the differences in performance from one trailer to another.
Peerless prides itself on the design and construction of the frame rails which, in essence, are the foundation of the trailer. Andy McEachern states, “We take great care in understanding how those frames react under all the loading conditions that they're going to see. So turning forces, rollover forces, scrub forces, torsional forces, and fatigue loading -we look at all those things in the design of the frame rail.”
Peerless uses proprietary fabrication methods to ensure rails are perfectly matched “left and right” and that the flanging is flawlessly aligned. If you don’t get the rails just right during the build, you’ll never have a trailer that pulls correctly.
According to Greg Munden, “I think the quality of the Peerless product is demonstrated when you can put them through twisting, turning, and pushing that our sector endures. These trailer units go through mud, snow and sometimes incredibly steep terrain every day, over and over, for years and years, and that’s how you know a Peerless trailer is really built for the job.”
When most people think of log hauling, technology and data are not the first things that come to mind, but this industry is changing, and it needs to change in order to improve efficiency. LOTS Group is all about innovation, efficiency, reduction of waste, and making decisions based on data. This is why working with a partner supplier like Peerless is such a strong fit. Peerless also believes that this is the direction the industry is headed.
LOTS is all about tracking everything right down to the finest detail so we can better understand how to make improvements. Improvements are not just about operational efficiency; improving professional driver quality of life is one of our key priorities. Sharing data with a trusted partner like Peerless means that both our businesses can realize benefits.
According to Andy McEachern; “We see IOT applications and Smart Trailers in our future. Traditionally there hasn’t been much data available in our industry, but now we are seeing more data being shared, and this will help guide decisions. We see that technology and data will be the future.”
After 50 years of working together with a common alignment on values we are very excited for what the next few years will mean for the partnership between Peerless and LOTS Group Canada. It’s fair to say that in the past several years both businesses have been focussed on lean processes, removing waste, adding technology, and improving the overall business cycle.
A huge opportunity that comes out of the merger between Munden Ventures and LOTS Group is a global perspective on transportation. Not just forestry, but also a wide range of industries including mining and agriculture. Greg Munden is looking forward to visiting LOTS Group operations throughout South America and Europe and looking for new methods and processes that can be applied in the Canadian transportation sector with innovative manufacturers like Peerless.
Like Munden Ventures’ merger with LOTS Group, Manac, Canada’s largest trailer company and #1 in the forestry market, purchased Peerless 8 years ago with a long-term strategy in mind. Peerless shares with Manac, among other things, engineering expertise, supply chain buying power and lean manufacturing methods. Manac has invested significantly in Peerless over the years to improve production flow and to build efficiencies.
“When you have 50 years of history innovating together with a partner like Peerless, the chance to experiment with new ideas from different parts of the globe is really interesting,” says Greg Munden who is getting ready for a trip to Brazil to have a look at eucalyptus harvesting techniques at one of LOTS Group’s South American operations.
Sustainability is most often defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Peerless Trailers fit this definition to a tee, not only by the design and manufacturing of trailers that can withstand decades of continuous use in on-road/off-road conditions, but in the way Peerless supports the continued maintenance and repair of their trailers. In a recent tour of the Peerless manufacturing facility, I was shown a room by Andy McEachern that contained the blueprints and manufacturing data of every Peerless trailer ever manufactured, meticulously filed for easy access.
Andy explained that unlike so many products manufactured today with built-in engineering to be “disposable”, like appliances and electronics, Peerless trailers have always been designed knowing that they may have multiple owners during their lifespan who are expecting to be able to obtain, parts and knowledge from Peerless to keep their investment working and making them money for years.
Greg Munden explained that in their operations a trailer will typically be upgraded every 8 years or so, and what is so valuable to the Munden LOTS business model is that when it comes to resale time on a trailer, the Peerless trailers are always in demand with a lineup of customers wanting to buy the well-maintained trailers and put them through many more cycles of use. “A new Peerless trailer makes sense for our business model, and we know that our used trailers continue to represent strong value for their new owners,” says Greg Munden.
It’s often said that a product is only as good as the people that represent it. People make the difference at Peerless. Greg Munden describes Peerless staff as a “Culture of Problem Solvers”. Whether it’s the parts and service team, or sales and product development, Peerless staff take on the challenges of their customers as if it were their own.
Greg talks about Matt Sigston, New Product Development and Sales Representative at Peerless, as a prime example of someone who always goes above and beyond to make things happen. “Just recently when we needed a couple of new trailers to accommodate a new contract that we were looking at on really tight timelines, and knowing there was no inventory available, Matt juggled, and did what he had to do on the back end to get us what we needed. He found a way to make it work and we’ve seen this again and again from Matt and the Parts and Service team at Peerless.”
Matt Sigston, who has grown up in the trucking industry, says that typically, manufacturing is big on “just in time” but the logging industry is about “just in case!” At Peerless they realize you can’t have inventory on every unit, but it’s about having the “right (smart) inventory”, that you can work with to accommodate the needs of their customers.
According to Greg Munden; “It doesn't matter if it's a trailer with a walking beam broken or some other thing that would otherwise put you down, Matt and the Parts team at Peerless really have proven again and again that they'll go out of their way, even if that means throwing a part in their own pickup and meeting us halfway between Penticton and Kamloops to make sure we have it, so we can get that rig back up and running for the next day. You know, that's the difference, that's the difference between just a supplier and a partner.”
Founded in 1944, Peerless designs and manufactures highly specialized trailers for a variety of industries including oil and gas, forestry, construction, super hauling, and mining. Peerless has built its reputation on innovation and quality, offering market-leading models, and consistently launching best-in-class designs.
Peerless engineers its equipment to maximize payload while minimizing tare weight for an ‘On/Off’ road environment. What sets Peerless apart is their decades of experience working with industry leaders in each of our markets to optimize designs. There is exceptional attention to detail in every Peerless trailer frame rails resulting from careful analysis of stress, strain, fatigue, deflection, and stress-riser avoidance. It is from years of successful off-road experience that Peerless can advance its product lines to help Peerless clients win in their markets with lower trailer tares, lower total-cost-of-ownership, and higher resale values.
The Peerless production facility is located on ten acres in Penticton, British Columbia, and has been transformed and equipped to accommodate Lean Flow production lines configured for the needs of varying trailer models. Peerless offers premium submerged-arc frame rail weldments, fixtured sub-assemblies, two paint facilities and exceptionally experienced staff. Peerless’ production team members have an average seniority of 15 years of service with Peerless. In addition, they hold over nine hundred years of combined Peerless service for the entire production team.
Peerless offers trailers under two well-recognized brands: Peerless in Canada and Scona brand in the United States. To learn more about Peerless you can visit their website: https://peerless.ca/
The Munden family have provided transportation services to the forest industry for three generations beginning in 1966, in Savona, BC. During the past two decades their business expanded to include third party commercial vehicle maintenance and a forestry division.
Innovation, efficiency, and safety have been at the core of the Munden business values. As they continued to implement technology into their trucking fleet and streamline the processes for transporting forest products to mills, the opportunity to partner with LOTS Group from Sweden became a natural fit.
In the spring of 2021, the Munden family took a positive step in securing a new legacy for future Munden generations through the merger with LOTS Group. With a continued financial interest in LOTS Canada, the Munden family, management team, and employees have transitioned their successful forestry transport business into a sustainable globally aware company that prides itself in making sure drivers have a good working environment.
Under the leadership of third-generation Greg Munden, and fourth-generation Nolan Munden, LOTS Canada is quickly expanding their footprint in the Western Canadian transportation industry to include mining, agriculture, and heavy intermodal transport with a laser focus on supplying industry leading transport services by blending the latest technologies with a Lean approach. LOTS Group is a fully owned subsidiary of Scania, providing future-proof sustainable transport solutions. Learn more: https://www.lotsgroup.com/
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