[Company Profile] Customized Caps Drive A.R.E.

Features - Business Strategy

Design flexibility and the ability to quickly turn around orders have helped the Ohio-based truck cap manufacturer thrive in the pest control industry.

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June 24, 2014
Brad Harbison

It’s been said that no two pest control businesses are the same. The good ones stand out from the competition by offering customized solutions utilizing a variety of products and equipment — a strategy that benefits from well-equipped and well-organized service vehicles. It’s for this reason that A.R.E., manufacturer of truck caps, has found a home in the pest control industry.

“Our caps are totally customizable,” said Jose Reyna, national fleet sales manager for A.R.E. “We can configure the dividers any way PCOs want.”

Why is this important to PCOs? Let’s say company XYZ launches a wildlife division. This work involves the use of large and sometimes odd-shaped cages.

A.R.E. can customize a truck cap to accommodate these cages. A.R.E.’s manufacturing facilities are located in Northeast Ohio and all of its products ship — either directly throughout the East Coast, Midwest and South, or to the company’s western distribution facility (in Nevada) — from A.R.E.’s main facility in Massillon, Ohio. This location, with easy access to major U.S. transportation routes, combined with A.R.E.’s extensive network of dealers, enables A.R.E. to quickly fulfill orders, thereby reducing downtime for PCOs.

“We’re a build-to-order company and we do it quickly,” Reyna said. “It usually takes 10 to 14 days from order to delivery. A lot of companies have gotten away from offering a high degree of customization, but we’ve taken the time to put the people and processes in place to do it efficiently and effectively.”
 

A Brief History.

A.R.E. was founded in 1969 by friends Sal Gatti and Jonas Yoder, plus first employee Aden Miller, to manufacture high-quality aluminum frame truck caps that fit the needs of truck owners. As the company grew, Sal’s son, Ralph Gatti, joined Miller to focus on production, and in 1979 they designed their first joint product, the Deluxe Commercial Unit (DCU). In 1982, Miller and Gatti introduced the first fiberglass truck cap into A.R.E.’s product lineup.

On the commercial side, telecommunications (such as cable companies and public utilities) is A.R.E.’s largest market, but Reyna said that delivery companies and service industries (particularly the pest control industry) are significant as well.
 

Recent Expansion.

A.R.E.’s Massillon facility, where its fiberglass caps are manufactured, remains the company’s main hub, but in 2012 the company opened a 70,000-square-foot facility in nearby Dundee, Ohio, to handle the aluminum fabrications operations for the company’s Deluxe Commercial Unit line. The move has helped the DCU manufacturing process become more efficient and provided opportunities for expansion, said Myron Miller, quality engineer of A.R.E.’s DCU.

“We were crammed in at the [Massillon] location, so the added space not only makes for a more efficient facility, but a safer one. It’s also allowed us to bring engineering in here that focuses solely on DCUs instead of everything else,” said Miller, who cited as an example A.R.E.’s recent redesign of the DCU rear door-locking mechanism.

Additionally, the Dundee facility features a state-of-the-art, water-based paint system that is environmentally friendly and offers OE-quality finishes for truck covers.

In terms of expansion, Miller says A.R.E. is considering moving its CargoGlide bed slide assembly to the Dundee plant.
 

Continually Innovating.

A.R.E. has had a mutually beneficial relationship with pest control operators, who appreciate A.R.E.’s flexibility and attention to detail. For example, A.R.E. offers 18 divider options, but that still might not meet the demands of some PCOs.

“Probably the biggest problem PCOs run into is accommodating treatment tanks and reels, so we’ll make extra short toolboxes or maybe we’ll position them especially close to door openings,” Reyna said.

And A.R.E. continues developing solutions to meet current and future demands. For example, many PCOs have been examining ways to reduce worker’s comp claims. A.R.E. recently introduced CargoGlide bed slides. These slides can help prevent injuries that occur from repetitive bending and crawling in the back of truck beds.

Reyna added that A.R.E. is committed to the pest control industry and remains focused on finding solutions for it. “We like pest control a lot,” he said. “We are a family-owned company and a lot of pest control companies are family owned.”

 


The author is Internet editor and managing editor of PCT and can be contacted via email at bharbison@giemedia.com.