The trick to making the right investments is not sacrificing the long-term goal for the short-term return. This year has done its best to test that strategic resolve. Sloan’s Ice Cream overcame its fair share of challenges, but kept its sights still focused on the future when making decisions for today.
“The mandated business restrictions and steep decline in customer traffic at retail shops pushed our business to the brink,” said Sloan Kamenstein, founder of Sloan’s Ice Cream. “The pandemic has put a microscope on areas of our business that were inefficient or underperforming. We’ve been forced to make decisions that probably should have been made sooner but will have a positive impact for us in the long term.”
In good times and bad, as Kamenstein noted, we still all scream for ice cream, which has helped Sloan’s Ice Cream bounce back.
“When times are good, you eat ice cream to celebrate. When times are bad, you eat ice cream as an inexpensive treat,” Kamenstein said.
To help deliver those treats and put smiles on faces that surely needed more smiles this year, Kamenstein worked with Great Dane to create a custom multi-temperature truck body to haul Sloan’s confections from its manufacturing facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, directly to their ice cream parlors and meet the company’s sustainability and environmental goals.
Collaboration is lauded as a productivity boon, but in practice, collaboration is difficult. It means listening to the needs of the client and refining a product until it’s perfect, which takes communication. That’s what led Kamenstein to Great Dane to create his custom truck body solution. “We always gauge our supplier relationships by the ease of communication and the ability to get the right results as fast as possible,” he said. “Working with Great Dane has exceeded our expectations in both of these areas.”
The result was an emissions-free, multi-temp zone truck body that allowed for cooled ice cream in one temperature-controlled compartment, and gourmet chocolates, toys, and gifts in another. The key to this custom solution success was twofold: First, the composite Johnson C-Series truck body ensures optimal thermal efficiency; and second, the all-electric refrigeration system sports cold plates to refrigerate the truck without producing emissions.
“The multi-temp body is critical for our operation and will continue to be used in the future,” Kamenstein said. “This body setup allows us to transport all of the products that stores require in a single trip and thus saves on gas, labor, and wear and tear on our equipment.”
The money saved by being more efficient goes directly back into the zero-emissions reefer technology. Moving toward a more sustainable business operation is more than an ROI bullet point for Kamenstein.
“Our decision to go with the custom truck body is more focused on the environment than the ROI,” he said. “Businesses need to become more environmentally conscious, and we are doing our part.”
Sustaining the Sustainability Vision
Sloan’s Ice Cream’s focus on sustainability and investment in electric technology like the all-electric refrigeration system is just the latest step in Sloan’s sustainability journey, one that will continue as electric solutions within the trucking industry continue to evolve.
“We are absolutely interested in using fully electric trucks in the future,” Kamenstein said. “Being able to reduce our environmental impact and fuel cost is a win-win so long as the trucks can manage the mileage and temperature constraints of our business. Trucks will need to fully charge in a single evening to avoid downtime in our small fleet.”
It’s important to keep one eye on the future even in the toughest of times, as Sloan’s Ice Cream shows. We will get through it, and we want to be all the better for having weathered it. So make good decisions for the job that needs to be done today so that you can be in a better position when tack-ling the challenges of tomorrow.