Rick Pogue of Arrowhead Building Supply in St. Louis knows what contractors want when it comes to service truck fleets. Pogue, liaison to Arrowhead’s president, has been in the business of outfitting trucks for contractors for 11 years, and he learned about the roofing business from the best - his father, Arrowhead President Jerry Pogue.
“My father has been in the business for 43 years, and he’s only 61 years old,” Pogue told Roofing Contractor. “Which means he got started at the age of 18. The day after he graduated high school in 1964, he was nailing on roofs. He has seen it all. No one knows the roofing industry better than my dad.”
And no one knows the service truck industry more than Arrowhead Building Supply, with its 52 employees and $20 million in annual sales.
“We went from a $7 million a year company in 2001 to a $20 million a year company,” Rick Pogue said. “We have one of the most loyal customer bases in the roofing industry - no doubt due to our service platform and equipment innovations.”
With 30 service trucks at their disposal, Arrowhead’s delivery fleet is the largest in the St. Louis market. “We have three locations surrounding St. Louis. That enables us to deliver anywhere within a 100-mile radius of the city in just three hours,” said Pogue, noting delivery time is one of the cornerstones of the company. “We created ‘Service 3/15’ a few years ago,” he says, which ensures 3-hour delivery and 15-minute pickup. “No one I have encountered anywhere in our industry pledges services like that.”
Employees at Arrowhead include 20 delivery truck drivers, four warehouse personnel, 12 salespeople, three mechanics, Rick Pogue, Jerry Pogue, Larry Saxe (vice president), and Shawn Saxe (branch coordinator).
Truck Accessories“We are not the biggest. We are the best,” Rick Pogue said. “We have been building truck delivery equipment for over 25 years. We build accessories for pickup trucks, including the amazing and patented Power Hitch, the Hide-a-Brake, bed extension tees, racks, flatbed trailers and dumpster trailers.”
But Arrowhead specializes in roofing delivery equipment. “I have two patent-pending systems that are specifically designed to save on labor and delivery time,” Pogue said. “These systems are built right into the truck bed. The other system is the Extendable Roofing Conveyor. This design has allowed us to build the longest truck-mounted roofing conveyor in the industry, to my knowledge.”
Dubbed the “Long-Loader,” the truck-mounted conveyor system currently extends to 54 feet. “Another nickname for this monster is the ‘Crane-Saver’ because a roofer can have his material delivered to a 4- or 5-story building for free without the need to rent an expensive crane,” Pogue said.
In the future, Arrowhead plans to market a longer version of the Long-Loader. “We will be coming out with an even longer version,” Pogue said. “We have on the drawing board - hopefully ready by 2010 - a truck-mounted forklift that only weighs a fraction of what today’s Princeton and Moffit forklifts weigh.”
Pogue said the Power Hitch could revolutionize the towing industry. “It is the only hydraulically powered hitch that contains three directional movements,” said Pogue, noting it comes in three sizes: the PH3300 fits 1/2-ton and 3/4-ton pickup trucks; the PH440 fits 1-ton and larger trucks; and the PH6400 fits all large trucks. “The power hitch actually reaches out, grabs a trailer, and pulls it into the towing vehicle to eliminate precise alignment with the trailer. If you are within 2 feet of the trailer in any direction, the power hitch will grab it.”
Pogue said roofers could hook up their kettles or other trailers quickly. “Anyone can hook up to any trailer within 30 seconds or so, and no more cranking,” he said.
Two Companies in OneArrowhead is actually two companies’ built into one. Up until 2004, everything was built under the Arrowhead name and sold locally. But in 2004, Arrowhead started a sister company called Power Concepts LLC for the purpose of expanding the market for its products. Both companies are located in the same complex in St. Peters, Mo. “For our own equipment (Arrowhead Building Supply), we use Freightliner business class trucks almost exclusively. We have had great success with these trucks. Our local dealership representative from Truck Centers of St. Louis makes sure that our new truck chassis’ come to us with just the right precise tension and specifications for our needs.”
For customers inside and outside Arrowhead’s market, Pogue said he uses any truck they demand or are comfortable with. “Most customers already like a particular brand and do not want to change,” he said. “We have outfitted International Freightliner, Volvo, GM, Ford, Peterbilt, and Sterling. We adapt our system to any brand and model of truck that our customers demand. We offer to purchase the truck chassis’ ourselves, but usually our customers purchase the chassis on their own and have it delivered to us for outfitting.”
Pogue said 90 percent of the trucks Arrowhead outfits are for rooftop delivery systems, including a truck bed (which can be integrated with the patent-pending ‘Pull-N-Lift’ system), a conveyor (Arrowhead’s own design can custom built to any length), and a 360 Power Turn (Arrowhead’s compact design).
Making the ConnectionMost contractors contact Arrowhead Building Supply through the company’s Web site (www.powerconceptsequipment.com) or find out about them through word of mouth advertising. But Pogue noted many customers’ “fly in for a private tour.”
“I like to have customers visit the plant because they can actually see our products in action because Arrowhead is located on the same grounds,” he said. “Every customer who is in the market for a roofing delivery system and has toured our facility has bought here. They don’t really understand the dynamics of what we do until they see it with their own eyes and operate the system themselves. Once they decide to buy, we have a custom order form we fill out together. When all options are selected, the order goes into production.” Most systems take two to three weeks to complete.
Upon completion, Pogue said the customer sends someone in from its own company for training and certification on Power Concepts Equipment. “Training is about a three- to four-hour process,” he said. “Our products have moving parts that are hydraulically driven. Therefore, no equipment leaves our facility until training and certification is completed by an official representative for the customer.”
What Contractors WantPogue said something contractors, distributors and suppliers look for when getting a vehicle outfitted is a mechanical advantage. “In one form or another, regardless of the product, everyone wants equipment that will make their work easier on them,” Pogue said. “Saving time and labor is what it’s all about. We build all of our equipment with mechanical advantage in mind. Our equipment actually performs work. A truck bed that moves material to the rear and lifts it up saves on back injuries - including workers’ comp claims - and delivery time.”
Pogue said Pull-N-Lift systems for roofing shingles saves 10 to 15 minutes on the average shingle delivery “because the workers are not spending their time walking back and forth across the truck bed to pick up every bundle.”
“This gives any shingle supplier a huge advantage over their competitors,” Pogue said. “Their workers can move more material in a day’s time, faster, with distinctly less human effort. Our systems are a no-brainer for any serious shingle supplier.”
Pogue said Arrowhead Building Supply is a top supplier of residential roofing materials in the St. Louis market for a reason. “Even many of our competitors in our own market buy our delivery systems because they know they are the best,” he said. “If only the rest of the country knew what suppliers in St. Louis already know: St. Louis is a 98 percent rooftop delivery market, and we’re the best at it.”
Tested and TrueRick Pogue said Arrowhead’s equipment is “tested and true.” “Engineers are utilized on new products when needed,” he said. “Our equipment must be compatible with DOT (Department of Transportation) regulations, and we have hired a firm that works very closely with OSHA to manage our safety program. Safety is most important, and both Arrowhead Building Supply and Power Concepts make it a priority to ensure that our customers and employees are safe when building and using our equipment.”
Pogue said design managers inspect equipment on service trucks to make sure it meets specifications. “Nothing leaves production until it is inspected and tested,” he said. “Safety striping is utilized to mark moving parts on our products. Shifting loads can cause major problems if the suspension is not strong enough on a truck. Our local Freightliner representative knows our required specifications and helps us make sure all large trucks we outfit with equipment meet the requirements.