Whitt said that Benson now boasts 110 workers on the payroll for one shift, and could “easily” duplicate that number by opening a second shift when finances allow. “2007 was a rough year for sales, and 2008 is predicted to be the same way. Experts say we may see a boom in 2009 because new emission laws are coming into effect the next year.” He added that 2008 could see a possible expansion to the parts and service department, though the time frame remained under review.
“Flatbeds are slow right now, but the dump body sales are stronger. We ship out the bodies to the northeast, and have 41 Kenworth Dump Trucks going to Jacksonville, Florida,” said Whitt. He estimated the plant produces seven or eight flatbeds per day, one dump trailer per day, and about two dump bodies per day.
Despite slower sales, Benson’s Cadiz plant introduced several new products during recent months. Perhaps the longest, Whitt said that his factory produced what he called a “Michigan or a B-Train.” The B-Train is a tandem of full-length trailers hooked together to haul steal coil.
“Certain states have a particular pound-per-axle allowance. This allows distributors to hail more product,” said Whitt. Both the lead trailer and the rear, called a “pup” measure 28 feet in length.
Benson President Donnie Holland said that the B-Train boasts a total of eight axles, five on the lead and three on the pup.
Finished with the first Michigan Train, Whitt said that the initial unit was a special order. “Hopefully we’ll be producing 10-20 sets this year. This particular design was created right here in Cadiz. There were some problems with the old design, so our engineering department developed the new one in house, right here.”
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