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Hanor Company Keeps the Pork Industry Moving with Ledwell Bulk Feed Trailers

Here in America, we love our pork. 

We eat an average of 264 pounds of meat per person each year, and 67 of those pounds are pork products. Back in 1978 when Hanor Company’s roots in commercial pig productions started, the average person ate just 191 pounds of meat per year. As demand for pork grew, so did pork farms across the country.

What started as a single 1000-sow farrow-to-finish operation—which includes all stages of pork production from breeding to market—has expanded to seven states and now sells 1.4 million market hogs each year. 

Hanor Company now has farms in Wisconsin, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Iowa, and Illinois, and their genetic breeding program supports an integrated pig production system that processes 9 million pigs annually. Neal Jordan, transportation environmental manager for Hanor Companies in North Carolina, said it simply: “We raise pigs for a living.” Jordan, one of the company’s 650+ employees, has been at Hanor for 20 years. 

Raising pigs is anything but simple, though. In July, Hanor veterinarian Jon Tangen told FarmJournal’s Pork that the industry faces global threats like African swine fever and the war in Ukraine with Russia impacting grain prices and thus impacting the cost to raise meat. 

Despite global challenges and those that hit closer to home—like inflation, oil prices, and finding and retaining employees—Hanor Companies employees are dedicated to maintaining high standards when it comes to their hogs. Hanor supports the Pork Checkoff’s We Care initiative, which includes acknowledging a farm’s responsibility to produce safe food, protect and promote animal wellbeing, and ensure practices to protect public health.

“It’s of our utmost interest to make sure our pigs are well taken care of the entirety of their lifetime, until we utilize them for a nutritious protein source to feed our neighbors,” Tangen told FarmJournal’s Pork in July.

Tough bulk feed trailers with high standards for safety, sanitation and biosecurity are key in the pork industry. And while farms spent roughly 60 percent of the cost of raising pigs on feed in 2017, farmers have seen those prices jump to 70%-80% over the past few years.

That makes efficiency in feed transportation even more important. 

“I’ve been here 20 years, and Ledwell bulk feed trailers were here before me,” Jordan said. He said he’s still running a 1996 Ledwell trailer in his fleet. “Usually one that’s pulled every day, 300-400 miles a day, I try to move them out of the fleet in about 12-13 years.”

In North Carolina, Jordan is responsible for managing a fleet of about 10 tractors and 30 trailers. With skyrocketing feed costs, they have to choose transportation equipment that reduces waste and lets them get the most out of their feed.

“Ledwell bulk feed trailers are good equipment,” he said. “They’re reliable, not expensive to maintain. They’re always willing to help. They always make accommodations for what we need.” 

Ledwell works with Hanor to customize their stock bulk feed trailer with modifications specific to the needs of Hanor’s farms.

In a business with lots of rough gravel roads that can be harsh on even the best equipment, drivers don’t have time for downtime. 

“If we have a major breakdown, Ledwell is normally Johnny-on-the-spot as far as getting us what we need to get the repair done,” Jordan said. Ledwell can respond quickly to those requests because they manufacture more than 80% of their parts in-house, meaning they don’t have to wait on other suppliers. 

That’s by design. The Ledwell Made Guarantee, which backs every product, promises swift support that helps you get back to work quickly and tough-built products that last for decades with proper maintenance. 

And that’s exactly the kind of equipment that Hanor Company, one of the nation’s premier pork producers, needs to keep producing safe food for our communities.

ASME Certification Continues

Ledwell continues ASME certification

In 1916 ASME began its program for certification to companies in the pressure equipment industry. This program was developed to certify quality control systems for the design, fabrication, assembly, and inspection of boiler and pressure vessel components during construction.

Products manufactured by ASME BPVC certificate holders include a certification mark in accordance with the applicable certified section also known as a “U” stamp. A company can also be certified to make repairs or alterations to pressure vessels under the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors under an “R” stamp.

Ledwell began building pressure vessels, or in our case DOT Cargo Tanks, in the spring of 2010. This past May, we successfully completed our 5th joint review for ASME and National Board certification.

The purpose of the review is to evaluate the quality program and ensure the implementation for each product manufactured for fabrication, alterations, and repairs. Each assessment ensures the applicant’s quality program is implemented successfully and complies with requirements based on the ASME standard.

Certificates are granted after a review of the previous 36 months of work, verification of record-keeping requirements, personnel training, and required knowledge of pressure vessel design and fabrication rules.

DLA Distribution Red River Team Increases Performance to 98% On-Time from 87% Thanks to Custom Gull Wing Delivery Trucks

Ledwell serves the material handling industry - Gull Win unloading

The Opportunity

During his 25-year career in the military, Seth Olmstead traveled all over the world—including Japan.

“Japan has a very narrow road network,” he said. “They have to maximize the space they have. One of the things I saw while I was in Japan was delivery trucks that opened on the sides to allow for quick, easy unloading.”

Fast forward to 2020, when Olmstead served as the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Distribution Red River Commander.

He was helping his team troubleshoot moving inventory in inclement weather. DLA services the Department of Defense and State throughout the world, Olmstead said, and when a requisition comes in for material, they fulfill it.

“We were having trouble moving material due to the rain,” he said. “We had $13 billion of inventory, but most of it was stored in cardboard boxes. When it rained, the only thing we had to move the material between warehouse and shipping locations was a flatbed trailer, but you can’t move cardboard boxes on a flatbed in the rain.”

Frustrated with the rain’s impact on his team’s performance metrics, Olmstead knew they needed a better solution—like what he’d seen in Japan.

Ledwell Gull Wing

The Solution: Ledwell Gull Wing

“I told my team to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to get one of those trucks,” he said.

His team researched trucks in Japan and began reaching out to vendors, but those companies would not export them to the United States.

Then, Olmstead’s equipment specialist came to him with good news: not only had he found that type of truck here in the U.S., but it was also made locally at Ledwell.

A meeting was immediately set for him and his team—including a driver and safety personnel—to visit Ledwell and see a Gull Wing, Ledwell’s version of the trucks Olmstead had seen in action in Japan.

Originally developed as a custom product for Wholesale Electric, Ledwell’s patented Gull Wing helped the electric wholesaler revolutionize its distribution model. Its watertight side doors keep valuable cargo dry and make it easier for delivery drivers to unload specific pieces of equipment quickly.

“Steve [Ledwell] and his team were very accommodating,” Olmstead said. “They answered every question we had no matter how crazy or off-the-wall it was. We figured out in about an hour that these vehicles would make a difference. DLA Red River purchased three of the vehicles.”

Adapting the Gull Wings to fit DLA’s unique needs is a process Ledwell is familiar with. Engineer Gary Gathright said several changes and safety features were incorporated into DLA’s Gull Wings, including a safety feature that prevents the truck from moving if one of the wings is open.

“We did the controls differently. We’ve since added those upgrades to all of the new Gull Wing units, whether it be for them or another client,” Gathright said. “We changed how things are operated in the cab, incorporated a greaseable hinge that makes the service life better for the whole unit. A lot of our improvements are customer-driven. We end up incorporating those not just into a unit for that particular customer, but into the unit as a whole, so we ultimately make our entire product line better.”

The Results

With its new Gull Wing units, Olmstead’s team was able to deliver efficiently no matter the weather.

Their performance metrics lifted from 87% on-time to 98% on time in a matter of weeks.

It’s hard to argue with that kind of success. Seeing DLA’s numbers inspired Anniston Army Depot to make their order, which Ledwell is customizing to accommodate Anniston’s lower awnings.

“It was almost seamless,” Olmstead said. “Gary was able to do the calculations for those changes on the fly, and Anniston immediately found confidence in the truck because the engineer gave them the nod that this equipment would work for their needs.”

Founded by a veteran, Ledwell has always had a soft spot for projects that help our military succeed.

“Just being a local source to provide a solution for what is ultimately a local portion of a worldwide provider of support services for our warfighters could, in the future, open up a lot of doors for us to continue our reach as a worldwide company,” Gathright said.

Truck Body Manufacturer Ledwell patented Gull Wing
Ledwell serves the material handling industry - Gull Win unloading

Do you have a unique, custom truck or trailer need? We'll help you find a solution! Submit the form or call us at 888-533-9355 to get started.

Strategic Partnership Helps Lonestar Truck Group, Ledwell Grow Together

Ledwell Water Tanker Truck For Sale

With 24 dealerships in eight states, Lonestar Truck Group isn’t your average truck dealership. If you ask Adam Arrington, Executive Vice President of Sales, there’s one central reason why the company has seen growth and success since it opened in the early 60s: people.

“We have a great team of people that live and breathe this business,” he said. “The culture of this company empowers our people to do their jobs, provide feedback, and make it a nurturing environment where everybody succeeds. Everybody says that, but when you can actually do it, it’s pretty impressive.”

Lonestar Truck Group is one of the largest Freightliner dealer groups in the country, and it counts third-generation family members among its leadership. With 1,200+ employees at its 24 dealerships, the company provides parts, service, new and used truck sales, trailers, finance and insurance, body shops, and more to its customers.

“We sell new and used trucks and trailers to a single owner-operator buying one truck, and we sell to some of the largest public companies in the country when it comes to procuring equipment and parts and service,” Adam said. 

And at Lonestar, every task is important, no matter how big the order.

“You’ll never hear someone at Lonestar say, ‘That’s not my job,'” Adam said. “Everyone is willing to roll their sleeves up and get involved, whether it’s working after hours to get a customer a part or getting a truck delivered on time. It’s all we do. It’s our livelihood.”

Adam said that between supply chain and staffing issues, this year has thrown its fair share of challenges at Lonestar. 

“This is my 21st year on the Freightliner/Daimler dealer side of the business,” he said. “I’ve never seen supply chains so broken. It’s been a huge disruptor.”

Bulk Haul Feed Trailer for sale by Ledwell with Lonestar Tractor
Ledwell Vacuum Truck DOT Certified

Relationships with longtime customers and partners like Ledwell have helped Lonestar weather what has been a challenging year for the manufacturing industry.

“For our true partners, like Ledwell, they know we’re doing everything we can to get them what they need and when they need it,” Adam said. 

He said his relationship with Ledwell began 20 years ago when he first met Steve Ledwell.

“I always heard stories, but aside from dropping a truck off, I didn’t know who they were or what they did,” he said. “My relationship with everyone at Ledwell has changed drastically over the last six years. Steve and I talk every day except Sunday. Lesley and I talk weekly. I talk to every salesman and engineer in the building at least once a week, whether it’s about inventory, or a project, or trucks that are being upfit for our customers.”

Lonestar Truck paired with Ledwell Feed Trailer
Crash Attenuator Truck for Sale Ledwell

Adam said it’s not just business—it’s personal.

“Ledwell is our largest customer, but on the flip side of that, they’re also our friends,” he said. 

Ledwell buys a lot of trucks from Lonestar, but they count Lonestar as a customer as well—Lonestar buys truck bodies, rigging, PTOs, wet kits, trailers, and more from Ledwell. Lonestar also provides secure financing and lease options for Ledwell customers when needed.

Adam said his customers love Ledwell products because of their exceptional quality, endurance, service, and parts accessibility.

“They just take care of things,” he said. “We’ve had issues before, but every time, without fail, the first thing they say is, ‘Where’s the truck?’ No arguing, no complaining. They exhaust every single resource at their fingertips to get that truck, or trailer, or body fixed in a way that’s hassle-free for the customer.”

Adam hasn’t just worked with Ledwell in his current role. When he sold trucks, he said, he had the opportunity to see Ledwell’s hard work in action.

“It was New Year’s Eve in 2003,” he said. “I had a logger call me from Mena, Ark., who wanted to buy a couple of trucks and had to buy them that day because of tax reasons. Installing logging-specific equipment like trailer rides, headache racks, and digital load scales takes eight to ten hours. I called Ledwell at 10 a.m., and they said, ‘Bring it on.’ They had a team of people waiting for us, got it finished, and got it delivered. The customer was happy. I was happy. That’s the way the Ledwell culture is.”

When you work with Ledwell, he said, you aren’t just a customer—you’re becoming part of that family. 

“At the end of the day, they’re just good people,” he said.

Add Time Back to Your Day – Efficiency in Feed Transportation

Ledwell Feed Trailer Manufacturer Test Every Bulk Haul Trailer

Ledwell built its first steel bulk feed body in the late 1950s. A couple of decades later, we moved into manufacturing aluminum feed equipment, and we even made a few chicken hauler trailers along the way. We’ve learned a thing or two about the poultry industry over the past 75 years, and we’ve compiled some of our top efficiency in feed tips in this article.

Ledwell Original Chicken Transport Cages
Early Ledwell Feed Truck

Incorporating some of these practices and equipment add-ons can help you improve efficiency in feed delivery, adding valuable time back into your day. In this book, we’ll cover technology, delivery systems, hydraulics, safety, and service.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us we’re happy to answer any questions.

TECHNOLOGY

In recent years, technology in automated unloading systems has allowed operators to reduce unloading times and be more attentive to their surroundings while minimizing human error while unloading. An
automated system maximizes efficiency in feed delivery and allows the trailer to run at peak performance. You aren’t relying on the driver/operator to adjust the floor to keep the pressure where it needs to be.

Most variations of an automated system are measuring pressure in the hydraulic circuit and making adjustments to the hydraulic flow, keeping the system running at optimal potential throughout the entire unloading process without the operators’ need to make these adjustments manually. This allows the operator to step away from their valves and gauges to be more attentive to their surroundings, open bottom floor gates, or watch a feed bin while unloading.

By continuously monitoring and maintaining the hydraulic circuit to run at maximum potential, you will see improved unload times, reduce the chances of plugging up the system, and extend the life of all
hydraulic components.

Ledwell Feed Trailer Manufacturer Test Every Bulk Haul Trailer
A benefit of Ledwell’s automated system is that it is easily retrofittable to any existing trailer.

DELIVERY SYSTEM

The two most common floor delivery systems in the marketplace are the auger and drag chain systems.

Over the years, the drag chain floor has proven to be extremely dependable and less maintenance, over time, than an auger floor. The chain and crossbar design of a floor chain simply outlast the flighting of an auger screw. In the event that the chain or sprockets need to be replaced or repaired, the repairs are typically quicker and easier to access than a floor auger and bearing system. This results in less downtime for maintenance and repairs.

The 5:1 Gear ratio used to drive the drag chain floor provides exceptional torque for unloading the heaviest of feeds and the depth of the chain pan allows for more volume of feed to be carried to the rear, in comparison with an auger floor, resulting in a higher rate of offloading. Pit dumping with a drag chain is easily achieved by shutting off the discharge leg of the hydraulic system and unloading from the rear of the trailer.

When pellet quality counts, the drag chain floor is the answer. Studies show that a drag chain floor reduced the destruction of pellets through the unloading process by over 60% in side-by-side comparisons to two other auger floors. This can play a huge factor in feed conversion rate with poultry.

Ledwell’s drag chain floor features flat rack and pinion bottom doors that allow for virtually 100% cleanout and no residual feed left after unloading, which may otherwise require downtime for flushing between loads or products.

HYDRAULICS

Traditional wet kits required a large volume hydraulic oil reservoir to run a feed trailer, typically 60 gallons or more. This volume was required due to heat buildup during the unloading process of the feed trailer. The added weight of such a large volume of hydraulic oil makes a direct impact on the amount of payload you could haul in each load.

With today’s advancements in hydraulic oil coolers, you are able to operate with a much smaller oil reservoir, around 10 gallons, while more effectively controlling the oil temperature. This can result in 400-pound weight savings that translate directly to the added payload in each load, greatly affecting your bottom line over the life of your equipment.

There are several other advantages of reduced volume. With less oil, it takes less time to bring the oil up to operating temperature in cold weather. This reduces the time required once you reach your delivery destination and gets you back to reload quicker.

These oil coolers directly affect your bottom line and are also more environmentally friendly. For example, you could completely drain and replace a 10-gallon system six times more often for the same cost as replacing your fluid one time in a 60-gallon tank. This keeps better oil in the system throughout this duration, extending the life of all hydraulic components it is running through. In the event of an oil spill, you are potentially losing six times less oil to clean up and replace.

Hydraulic oil cooler

SAFETY

Times have changed since we first started building feed trailers. Working smart and efficiently also means being safe. Here are a few features we think are important to implement to enhance safety.

If you have access to the top of the trailer via a ladder, we strongly recommend a catwalk system that incorporates a handrail and/or a tram. With these safety features in place, it makes it much safer when access is needed on top of the trailer. For Ledwell, we have made that a standard feature on all our trailers unless otherwise requested by our customers.

There are also disabling devices and alarms available to notify an operator and/or prevent them from moving their trailer when their boom is not saddled. This can be as simple as an amber strobe light and audible alarm in the cab to a device that disables the tractor from moving without the PTO disengaged and boom in the saddle.

Ledwell Classic Feed Trailer - Drag Chain Feedbody
Hand rails for added safety

Those of you who have been in the industry for a while understand the shoulder fatigue involved with opening and closing bottom floor gates day in and day out. To combat that, Ledwell offers Air-Operated Doors that allow the operator to open and close floor gates with the flip of a switch or the push of a button on their wireless remote. Not only does this greatly reduce shoulder fatigue, but it also allows the operator to stand at their controls and monitor their gauges without having to go back and forth opening gates. Pressure gauges can clearly indicate when a bin is near empty and it’s time to push a button and open the next gate.

Incorporating an on-board bio-security system will save the operator time and energy by not requiring them to get out and spray down your equipment manually. This option allows the operator to disinfect their equipment with the flip of a switch in the cab before leaving a farm. Spray points strategically located around the tractor and trailer provide direct application of disinfectant agent via an onboard pump and reservoir, typically located on the front fender of the feed trailer. This is common practice to minimize the chances of cross-contamination between farm to farm.

Stability and center of gravity is another factor to consider when spec’ing your next bulk feed unit. Anti-Lock Braking Systems and Roll Stability Support is a standard feature on any new Ledwell feed trailer. This helps mitigate the loss of control and roll-over situations. Taking stability a step further, we also offer a drop-deck keel design in our bulk trailers that have successfully lowered the center of gravity of the load by up to 30%.

SERVICE

Lastly, the last tip to improve efficiency in feed is often not considered on the front end of a purchase decision, but can quickly become a major factor in the productivity of your delivery program. Service and parts availability after the sale.

Before purchasing equipment there are a few questions you should ask your potential supplier. Ask about parts availability, same-day shipping availability, service, and support after the sale. Ask for references or ask others in the industry for their experience.

Downtime can be extremely costly, and in many situations, you simply can’t wait days or weeks for parts. Same-day shipping on most parts is something Ledwell prides itself in and is known for in the industry.

Download your free Efficiency in Feed Transportation E-Book (.pdf)

From the ’50s to the 2020s, Rental One Grows with Ledwell Equipment

Truck body manufacturer - Ledwell and Rental One partnership lasts over the decades

Rental One is a Texas-sized success story. From its origins as a single store called A1 Rental in the mid-’50s, the company was sold to a national brand in 1998 and then reopened as Rental One in 2004 under third-generation family leadership.

“The core of our business is commercial and industrial contractors,” said Mark Lemons, Executive Vice President of Rental One.

Today, Rental One has 17 locations in North and Central Texas, with a service area stretching from the Red River to south of San Antonio. The company’s decades of renting equipment give them solid expertise that its customers can rely on.

“The knowledge level and industry experience we have at Rental One is unmatched, that I know of, anywhere,” Lemons said. “The years and years and years of experience—that’s what makes Rental One special.”

The original founder of A1 Rental, Ray O’Neal, knew Ledwell founder Buddy Ledwell, and the two started doing business in the late ’50s. 

Truck body manufacturer - Ledwell and Rental One partnership lasts over the decades

“When we started back up as Rental One in 2004, it was just natural for us to buy Ledwell equipment,” Lemons said. “There was already a relationship and a partnership we had built with Ledwell.”

Getting equipment to customers on time requires dependable transportation. That’s where Ledwell comes in.

“We purchase delivery trailers, delivery rollbacks, stake bed delivery trucks, and we’ve purchased some Lube Buddies and water trucks,” Lemons said. “We rent out the water trucks, but everything else is used for our own internal delivery fleet.”

Lemons said Ledwell’s stock of chassis and upfitting capabilities as a truck body manufacturer helped streamline Rental One’s truck purchasing process.

Rental One Equipment and Ledwell work together
Ledwell - Building relationships with Rental One

One of the challenges in the past was that you had to buy chassis from a dealership, and then you'd have to arrange transportation to take it to the body up fitter," he said. "That created issues with weight ratings and warranty issues. With Ledwell, we can just purchase a truck and have it upfitted, which basically saves you from dealing with the issues and headaches of dealing with two different entities and risking mistakes with vehicle rating, warranty issues, and those types of things.

Mark LemonsExecutive Vice President, Rental One

Lemons said working with Ledwell has been an all-around good experience.

“I would rank Ledwell very highly,” he said. “One of the nice things about Ledwell is that they listen to us, they understand our operation, they understand what our use is for a given trailer or truck, and they’re flexible and tailor things based on our individual needs. They understand the product and what they’ve built for us. And if we have issues, they’re quick to respond and rectify those issues. They’re top-notch.”

He said Rental One values its relationships with vendors.

Ledwell and Rental One Equipment working together since 1950

“Sometimes it’s not all about price; it’s just about having a great relationship,” he said. “We truly look at our vendors as partners in our business. Ledwell is in the top tier of folks we deal with as far as relationship, fairness, willingness to look at a situation and help us out when needed. We want our vendors to view us as a company that has integrity, that is willing to work with them and look at the big picture, not just chasing the cheapest deal.”

Lemons said Rental One has a reputation of not changing vendors a lot.

“We really value that relationship,” he said. “We look for the top vendors, and when we build that relationship, we don’t move around. We’re proud to have a relationship with Ledwell that started in the 50s.”

Ledwell and Rental One Equipment Rental grow together

Booth Machinery: Supporting Agricultural Customers During Challenging Times

Booth Machinery delivery ag equipment

Most businesses experience slow spells from time to time. Booth Machinery, which focuses on ag equipment sales and rentals to agricultural customers in Arizona and California, is an exception to that rule.

“Our customers farm vegetables, orchards, vineyards—they farm year-round,” said Bobby Creason, President and CEO of Booth Machinery. “We put a high amount of hours on the equipment we provide these folks. It’s always moving. It’s very important that they have their tractors, water trucks, or whatever they need at their fingertips at all times.”

Booth Machinery started as a single location in Yuma, Arizona, more than 30 years ago. It originally opened in the 1940s under the name Caldwell Equipment, and it has served customers in California and Arizona for nearly eight decades. Over the past seven years, Booth Machinery has expanded into seven different counties in California through acquisition.

“Our agricultural customers are running every day of the year,” Bobby said. “This isn’t your typical row crop farm, where they farm part of the year. It’s going all the time.”

He said the COVID-19 pandemic created new and unexpected challenges for his customers. 

“Just imagine that you sold lettuce and your main customers are schools and or restaurants,” Bobby said. “One day, you wake up, and those businesses are closed. What do you do? You can’t just change your packaging overnight. That really presented a bit of a challenge for our customers. Some were able to adjust and come out on top.”

One thing is for sure, according to Bobby: the Booth Machinery team stepped up.

“I’m extremely proud of our team for staying in the workplace as essential workers,” he said. “It goes without saying how important ag is to the entire world. It’s not something that could have just stopped. I’m extremely proud of our team and the steps we took to stay open following CDC’s guidance for social distancing and masking.”

When it comes to agriculture, having dependable equipment, such as water trucks, is crucial.

“One particular challenge our California customers have is drought,” Bobby said. “They have to transfer water, and they also need to be able to get the ground wet to transplant products such as tomatoes. Dust control is also big out here. There are so many things water trucks are used for.”

Bobby said he has been buying Ledwell Water Trucks for 15 years, starting at his previous jobs in Hawaii and Colorado.

“These sales didn’t go through some big fleet manager,” he said. “It has been me personally dealing with Lesley and Steve [Ledwell]. The challenges we face with lead time, quality, and post-sale support—Lesley and Steve have always taken care of me.” 

That’s why Ledwell has an excellent reputation in the West, according to Ledwell Regional Manager Mike Brackins. Mike has represented Ledwell in the West for the past two years.

“I remember the first time I visited with Steve,” Mike said. “I’d been on board for a month. There was a minor issue, and he was ready to move heaven and earth to get it fixed. Our service, compared to our competitors, is unparalleled. Ledwell will make it right.”

Booth Machinery both rents and sells Ledwell Water Trucks. Bobby said Ledwell’s tough build and swift support have made a good impression on his customers.

“When we need something, we get it, and we get it fast,” he said. “We feel like we’ve got a lot of up-front support, as well as the parts and service side post-purchase. For some of our parts and service, we’re dependent on the dealers that handle the chassis, but I’ve always appreciated Ledwell’s ability to nudge those folks at times to help get us moving.”

He said there are less expensive water trucks and manufacturers that are closer to the market where they’re needed, but they don’t provide the value and support that Ledwell does.

“A cheap deal to me is only good until you need help, or you need availability, or you need trucks that are built and ready to go,” Bobby said. “Ledwell brings us so much value. We get the right advice up front. We get market intel. We talk about the different options we need on the truck. We get support afterwards, and communication throughout.”

He said the relationship, quality, and immediate support if you do have a problem presents a good value for Booth Machinery.

“The only problem I ever had was not listening to Ledwell and letting me buy the wrong trucks years ago,” Bobby said. “A topic that still comes up from time to time with people who had to work through those challenges.”

A cheap deal to me is only good until you need help, or you need availability, or you need trucks that are built and ready to go. Ledwell brings us so much value. We get the right advice up front. We get market intel. We talk about the different options we need on the truck. We get support afterwards, and communication throughout.

Bobby CreasonPresident & CEO, Booth Machinery

Custom Truck Design Helps Wholesale Electric Speed Up Daily Deliveries

Ledwell Gull Wing truck ready for delivery

The Company

Wholesale Electric is a Texarkana-based family-owned electric wholesaler that has grown to 59 branches and counting since it was opened in 1947.

The Challenge

Box trucks and stake bed trucks with tarps were inconvenient and time consuming to load and unload, and they didn’t adequately protect products from rain and moisture.

The Solution

The patented Ledwell Gull Wing Truck, a truck custom designed for electric wholesalers with aluminum sides that lift with the push of a button. The Gull Wing can be loaded from the sides via forklift and protects products from rain and moisture.

The Outcome

Wholesale Electric now has nine Gull Wings in their fleet that make multiple deliveries per day. On average, the Gull Wing truck saves 30 minutes to one hour of loading and unloading time per work day.

“We sell electrical distribution—so, as I like to describe it, anything from the light to the switch and everything in between, we sell. One thing that sets us apart from the competition is that we run trucks to every branch every single day.”

Chris McCullochVice President, Wholesale Electric

The Company

Wholesale Electric, a family-owned electric wholesaler that has grown to 59 branches and counting since it was opened in 1947.

When Amos McCulloch Sr. opened Wholesale Electric Supply in 1947, he intended to run just the one store in Texarkana, Texas.

“My grandfather and grandmother started Wholesale Electric Supply,” said Chris McCulloch, Vice President. “My grandfather was the warehouse manager, counter sales, inside sales and delivery. My grandmother was the accountant. They started the company together, and when they started having children, she stayed home, and he kept the business going.”

More than seven decades later, Wholesale Electric has grown to 59 branches and counting in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Missouri. Second and third-generation McCullochs provide the company’s leadership. They serve customers in the residential, commercial, industrial, and utility fields. 

 “We sell electrical distribution—so, as I like to describe it, anything from the light to the switch and everything in between, we sell,” Chris said. “One thing that sets us apart from the competition is that we run trucks to every branch every single day.”

At 4 a.m., Chris said, trucks leave Little Rock and Texarkana to deliver inventory to each one of the company’s 59 branches.

“The way we look at our inventory is that it isn’t just one branch’s inventory,” Chris said. “It’s Wholesale’s inventory. So unless it has already been sold, everybody in the company is entitled to that inventory. Some companies sell materials to their branches—we do not do that.”

If one of their branches needs something, they all work together to ensure that branch gets it.

“If Little Rock has something and Dallas needs it, they might meet in Texarkana,” Chris said. “That’s just our mindset. “When a customer calls on a Saturday night, our people answer the phone and make sure they are taken care of–even if that means making an out of town delivery on a Sunday morning.” 

“For us, obviously, electrical and water don't mix very well. Or actually, they mix too well. That's the problem. And we can't use box or van-style trucks because of conduit. It's tough to load 10 feet of conduit from a forklift to the back of a box truck.”

Chris McCullochVice President, Wholesale Electric
Wholesale Electric Gull Wing

The Challenge

Box trucks and stake bed trucks with tarps were inconvenient and time consuming to load and unload, and they didn’t adequately protect products from rain and moisture.

Over the decades, the Wholesale Electric team has tried different methods of shipping products to each branch. 

For 25 years, their solution for keeping their products dry was to use stake bed trucks and tarps. Each time they had to load or unload, they would remove the rails from one side of the truck, secure a heavy tarp, and then put the rails back. Chris said the rails were heavy and prone to breaking, and the tarps were expensive and didn’t always provide adequate protection from moisture.

“It’s very easy on a two or three-hour drive for a tarp to get loose and start flapping,” he said. “And in a heavy downpour, a tarp is not going to cover everything.”

The Solution

The patent pending Ledwell Gull Wing, a truck custom designed for electric wholesalers with aluminum sides that lift with the push of a button. The Gull Wing can be loaded from the sides via forklift and protects products from rain and moisture.

Buddy McCulloch—the company’s president and Chris’s father—started looking for a better way to transport products to Wholesale Electric’s branches. He found it on a cocktail napkin. 

Buddy had known Steve Ledwell his entire life. Wholesale Electric and Ledwell & Son had grown alongside each other since both companies were founded by Buddy’s and Steve’s fathers after World War II. One evening, they sat at the bar of a local restaurant, Twisted Fork, and discussed Wholesale Electric’s transportation challenges. 

“They drew it up on a cocktail napkin,” Chris said. “That’s the story.”

Wholesale Electric’s team’s requirements included 24 feet of internal loadable space, the capacity to load six 4-foot pallets on each side, opening on the sides, and protection from moisture.

The result? A truck bed with hinged aluminum sides that lift and lower with the push of a button thanks to a central hydraulic system.

“Working with our customer, we produced several early trucks that were essentially R&D,” said John Crisp, Ledwell Regional Manager. “They’re all different—we tested the cylinders, lifted the doors at different angles, used different hinges, a different waterproofing system. We built this with a lighter structure, but still tough. In the delivery business, the trucks are stressed to their limit every day.”

Chris said the Gull Wing’s lifting aluminum sides were a game-changer for Wholesale Electric. 

“When you have that 4 a.m. truck and you’re having to unload, re-load, then tarp everything down and put the rails back on—well, now we just open the Gull Wing and load it up from the side,” he said. “Unloading is quick and easy. You open it up, and the forklift pulls the material off. We can’t load conduit from a forklift to the back of a box truck, and the rail trucks were so cumbersome to load and unload and had the added expense of replacing the tarps. The Gull Wing is the best of both worlds.”

“Ultimately, I know that with one single text or phone call to Ledwell, I can get whatever I need done, done. That matters more to me than anything else.”

Chris McCullochVice President, Wholesale Electric
Wholesale Electric Gull Wing Truck

The Outcome

Wholesale Electric now has nine Gull Wings in their fleet that make multiple deliveries per day. On average, the Gull Wing saves 30 minutes to one hour of loading and unloading time per work day.

“If you think about it, that’s a lot of time over a year for nine trucks,” he said. “Thirty minutes to an hour per truck per day is a huge advantage for us. We’re not having to stay until 6-7 p.m. loading these trucks. Time is the most valuable thing out there. Whatever can save time and get things quicker is always going to be what we choose.” 

He said speeding up the delivery process makes it easier for Wholesale Electric to fulfill their customers’ needs.

“We want to be known for providing the best service,” he said. “Electrical suppliers all sell the same stuff. What matters most is, do we have it? And can we get it to you quickly with a smile on our face?”

The Gull Wing doesn’t require a CDL to drive, which Chris said makes it easier to hire drivers. And unlike tarps, the aluminum sides can be wrapped with vinyl, turning them into moving billboards.

“They’re excellent advertisement,” said Blaire Barlow, Wholesale’s Marketing Director. “One of our locations is on a road that gets about 180,000 cars per day. So when we aren’t using it, we park it right in front of our building. It’s an outstanding billboard.”

Wholesale Electric has recently expanded into the Dallas/Fort Worth market, and the company has seen significant growth over the last decade, Chris said.

He said Ledwell has been a valuable resource for Wholesale Electric since the beginning. 

 “My granddad was a longtime resident, and Mr. Ledwell was a longtime Texarkana resident,” Chris said. “My father and Steve grew up here, and I went to high school with the Ledwell kids. This is three generations of family business working alongside each other.”

But the companies’ shared history isn’t the only reason Wholesale Electric continues to buy Ledwell trucks.

“Ultimately, I know that with one single text or phone call to Ledwell, I can get whatever I need done, done,” Chris said. “That matters more to me than anything else.”

Do you have a unique, custom truck or trailer need? We'll help you find a solution! Submit the form or call us at 888-533-9355 to get started.

Maximum Versatility: The Ledwell MaxTilt Trailer

tilt deck trailer with Ledwell maxtilt

The patent-pending Ledwell MaxTilt Trailer is the powerful, versatile trailer you need in 2021.

When a rental client told us they needed a trailer that could more efficiently haul containers, we re-engineered our patent-pending HydraTilt Truck to take it to the next level. The result? One of our most powerful, versatile hauling solutions with the added benefit of little to no breakover.

tilt deck trailer with Ledwell maxtilt

Highest Tilting Main Deck

Whatever angle you need, the Ledwell MaxTilt Trailer can handle it. This trailer goes higher than ever before with a main deck that tilts up to 32 degrees. But if you don’t need that much height, don’t worry —this trailer can stop at any angle along the way.

Unmatched in Hauling

The Ledwell MaxTilt Trailer is a powerful solution for transporting containers, trucks, and other large equipment. It’s perfect for anyone who plans to use their trailer to carry a wide range of loads, such as rental and construction companies.

Unified Hinge

We introduced our patent-pending unified hinge with the Ledwell HydraTilt Truck, and it makes an appearance in the MaxTilt Trailer, too. This single unified hinge enables you to load and unload low clearance equipment thanks to little or no breakover.

And as always, we can customize your Ledwell MaxTilt Trailer to meet your specific needs.

“Our new MaxTilt Trailer is ideal for unloading containers or dead equipment. It extends up high enough to allow containers or equipment to slide off easily. Everyone needs a MaxTilt Trailer in their fleet.” –Jill Launius, Sales Coordinator

Top 5 Qualities to Look for in a Water Truck

4000 Gallon Water Truck by Ledwell

Water Truck Buying Guide

2000 Gallon Water Trucks For Sale

Are you thinking about buying a heavy-duty water truck?

Shifting from renting to buying is a significant investment, and the vast options available on water trucks can be daunting. Whether you need a customized water truck or a stock water truck, you must consider several important qualities before you buy. Our water truck buying guide has the top 5 things to consider when purchasing a heavy-duty water truck.

1. Tough keel
Opting for a quad-bent design in the tank’s foundation ensures you’ll have a heavy-duty, stout truck. Also look for scalloped, interior-welded seams. This makes it harder for the seams to crack, making the tank last a very long time—possibly longer than the chassis it sits on. Internal piping should be welded before the tank is installed, and your manufacturer should test it to 120 psi before it leaves the plant.

2. Heavy-duty liner
The thicker the liner, the better. Our standard is a 30-millimeter finished thickness, which is the thickest in the industry. A good liner protects the tank’s interior from corroding, so the thicker the liner, the longer your tank will live. Look for a tank that’s blasted inside and out for a smooth finish. And pay attention to the type of liner you’re getting. If you’ll be carrying drinking water, your tank needs to have a potable compliant liner.

3. Strong pump and valves
A water truck’s pump is like the heart of the truck—it keeps everything moving. Selecting a water tank with an American-made two-bearing system with at least a 1.25″ input shaft and 3″ diameter driveline will help to keep water flowing. Incorporating in-cab air-operated controls is the best choice to work in tandem with the pump for maximum spraying.

Ledwell Water Tank Trucks For Sale
4000 Gallon Water Truck by Ledwell

4. Sturdy, well-protected hose reel
Keeping your water truck’s hose protected is key to making it last longer. A good water truck will have a rear internal hose reel mounted inside a frame that protects it from the elements. Mounting the hose reel inside of a frame also reinforces the reel to be sturdier. When it comes to your reel, extra storage is always a plus. Look for a water truck that has a storage box for side nozzles, suction hoses, and other accessories right where you need them.

5. Dependable service
Ask about the water truck’s warranty, and ask about service after the warranty runs out. Will you be able to get parts quickly? Will the company be able to repair your equipment at a reasonable cost? Will the service team continue to help you troubleshoot issues with your equipment for the duration of your ownership? These are essential factors to consider when you’re talking with references and peers in the industry.

We hope these top five qualities will help you when looking to purchase your next water truck. If you would like more information on a Ledwell Water Truck reach out to us here.

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