Emergency Fleet Service, located in Warren, MI, was founded in 1984 after its owner, James Klein, discovered a need within the industry for quality emergency services while handling repair operations for several of Consolidated Freightways’ fleet shops.

Susan Golatka, the company’s sales manager, said Emergency Fleet Service wants to help fleets concentrate on moving freight, not performing maintenance. “We are staffed to deliver prompt, quality service regardless of the circumstances,” Golatka said. 

Klein said the way his company handles its customers is what makes them unique. “We want our customers to feel like we are an extension of their own businesses. When they call us for assistance, we want them to feel as though they’re calling their own company,” he explained. 

One way the company does this is by following the customers’ criteria. “For example, if the customer requires a specific protocol, such as getting approval for procedures prior to a repair, remake sure it gets done,” Klein said. 

One reason Emergency Fleet Services is able to deliver prompt, quality service is that it has a smooth line of communication. “When a company calls us, they immediately reach our command control center, which is staffed around the clock by two or three trained professionals. From that point forward, the company experiencing the problem only communicates with the personnel at the center and can remain in constant contact with them until the problem is solved,” Klein explained. 

When Emergency Fleet Service receives a call, the person answering the call gathers the relevant information. The foreman then decides how to proceed by determining who of his service technicians is closest to the problem. He can do this quickly because all 14 of his company’s trucks have global positioning systems. He also monitors the status of the units at all times and is available to relay the information to the customer if needed. By using Workforce, the company is able to send all of the information related to the calls directly back to the shop for billing and technical support. 

At Emergency Fleet Service, each employee is empowered to make decisions. The technicians’ decisions for recommended repairs are relayed to the command and control center, which informs the customer. “We also have technicians who are assigned only to work in the shops, so if a unit needs to be towed into our shop from an existing road call, it is given top priority when it arrives. The technicians who were on the road call then can be dispatched to another road call. This form of time management is what makes us unique,” Klein said. 

The employee staffing the command and control center is responsible for communicating with the customer and locating the parts that are not stocked in the company’s vans, which frees the service technician to do the work, saving time and money. 

Although the company’s infrastructure contributes to its success, it is its policies that distinguishes it from its competitors. “We pride ourselves in responding to a customer’s call within one hour. We also purchase parts from wholesalers, which enables us to offer exceptional prices, and our invoices provide explanations of the services we provide, because we use the complaint, cause and correction method of invoicing,” Klein said.  

The company which began as a one-man operation, now is the largest emergency service provider in southeastern Michigan. It serves more than 600 accounts, including Canadian companies. As a result of the company’s growth with more space to meet the needs of its customers. The new building features four 100’ drive-through service bays with a capacity of eight units, as well as a larger command and control center and parts department. 

Although the company has experienced significant growth, it refuses to rest on its laurels. In order to ensure that the company exceeds its customers’ expectations, Phil Benedetti visits key accounts every three to four months. She also actively recruits new businesses, which is a rarity within the industry. 

“I let them know we’ve been offering quality services for more than 35 years and invite them to give us a try. Other repair facilities say they’ll be there for you, but we want the opportunity to prove it,” Golatka said. 

In addition to providing fleet emergency services, the company also performs in-house repairs and preventive maintenance. “Service repairs often are burdensome for small companies because they’re not maintenance-oriented. Our goal is to take this burden off their shoulders and give our customers peace of mind that their vehicles will be taken care of,” Klein said.