KNL expands training programs for employees

SIDNEY — Kirk NationaLease (KNL) realized a strong 2022 across virtually all product lines. With 23 brick and mortar locations in nine states, KNL has a diverse customer portfolio ranging from partners in Automotive, Con-ag, Food/Beverage, Distribution & Warehousing, Less than truckload (LTL), Full truckload (FTL) and the growing Final Mile segment. In total, KNL maintains approximately 800 open, active accounts. The product offerings range from equipment leasing, rental, time & material repair, contract maintenance, shop management and used equipment sales.

Mitch Rank, director of sales, has submitted the following report:

As the trend from 2020-21 continued, the demand in the nationwide market for reliable and trustworthy service providers was heavy this past year. Our industry, like most others, was met with challenges as it relates to parts availability and staffing/labor shortages. We play a critical role to ensure product hits shelves and doorsteps on time and our partners expect we have contingency plans in place when a problem occurs.

We think a testament of our resiliency and the confidence of our KNL brand in the marketplace can be seen in the 150-plus new customers we earned in 2022. The onboarding of new business, while continuing to meet existing obligations, wouldn’t be possible without the teamwork and collaboration from our sales, operations and recruiting/HR teams.

In August, we successfully migrated to a new operating system for our full-service lease and fleet management segment. This was a major project, but necessary as we continue to optimize how we do business. Key benefits of the new system include Customer Web Access (CWA), streamlined and automated reporting and increased visibility to vital metrics.

Recruiting is increasingly difficult, considering we have almost 20 remote locations in 8 other states. We don’t have a magic wand, but we are pleased with how our team delivered in 2022. Functioning much like a sales department, our three person recruiting team filled our pipeline with a record number of prospective diesel and trailer technicians throughout the year and worked diligently to bring new team members on board. Indeed, social media, and referrals were our top three sources for lead generation.

Our operations team had a busy 2022. In an effort to improve our service-level and positively impact employee retention, we expanded our training program for both technicians and shop managers. We now have four regional trainers working hand-in-hand with every KNL technician to evaluate and assist as they progress through our in-house Learning Management System (LMS). KNL’s goal remains to have all our valued technicians on a clear path to an OE/ASE Master Certification. Our shop managers have access to a college accredited, one-year program focusing on general business, communication and accounting through virtual and hands-on instruction.

KNL announced the successful transition to new properties in two of our markets. Our Louisville, Kentucky location is in an industrial area on the east side of Louisville. Considering the facility is much newer, it offers better working conditions for our local team, while bolstering our image to the public. Our future in Findlay, Ohio, is bright. We opened a temporary shop in December 2020, while working to make our new shop a reality. Property is hard to come by in this exploding micropolitan, especially 9 acres in the highly-desired north end of town. Our 12,000 square foot facility is strategically located within 2 miles of numerous distribution centers, and thousands of tractors/trailers.

Due to our growing partnership with Toyota Logistics, we are excited to announce emerging markets for KNL in San Antonio, Texas and Vincennes, Indiana, as we enter 2023 with cautious optimism.