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Ordering new trucks in these busy times is causing producers to adapt to changing rules. As producers start to replace mixer trucks in their expanded fleets or add units to meet growing market demands, they often feel as if truck manufacturers are requiring too much lead time when taking orders.

According to Steve Tersha, marketing manager for Mack Truck, manufacturers realize there are many circumstances that require producers to find a truck quickly. Mack Truck has linked its dealers through a nationwide inventory system that lists units available for inter-dealer transfer. The Concrete Collective, a group of Sterling Truck Corp. dealers, will also share ready-truck inventory information to help meet customer demands.

Part of any mixer delivery lead time is the mixer mounting. This past September, McNeilus Companies, the country's largest mixer manufacturer, announced expansion of its drum-manufacturing capacities at its three locations. Two other new manufacturers are entering the concrete market: Housby and Temco The result of this increased competition is that producers should benefit from competitive prices and faster delivery.

What can producers do to beat the crunch? Order as early as possible. Identify those units that are purchased as replacements and those that are market- or job-dependent. Work with local dealers to determine when other customers place their orders. If calls to the dealer don't solve the problem, contact the national sales office.

The article also focuses on the Sterling/Caterpillar "Movers and Shakers" product-introduction event for customers in East Peoria in October 1999.