From threaded fasteners and construction materials to tools and accessories, San Jose-based Lord & Sons is the go-to company for those in the construction marketplace.
“The company started in 1971 with just construction and industrial fasteners … bolts, nuts, washers, and screws,” reflects Ugo Fabbri, director of operations. “Harry Weiland and his wife Harlee began selling to National Semiconductor, and the company, along with its products, just grew from there. Their oldest son, Douglas, along with Allen Spielberger, the company’s operations and finance manager, subsequently purchased the company upon the Weiland’s retirement.”
Today, the company has several subsidiaries and is approaching $100 million in annual sales with 10 locations in California, Arizona, Washington, and Nevada.
“We’re growing rapidly as construction activity remains strong,” says Fabbri. “We tell all of our customers that if they need it, and we don’t have it, we can get it—and very quickly. We’re thriving since we can be a one-stop shop for our customers.”
The biggest driver in sales has been with Unistrut channel framing and fittings. These are 10- to 20-foot pieces of U-shaped steel that function like an erector set. Construction companies can use these in a creative fashion to support the electrical, mechanical, HVAC, and lighting systems.
Once construction material is ordered from a customer, trucks carry the load to the construction site or customer warehouse. Lord & Sons operates 17 Kenworth medium-duty trucks with 21-foot flatbeds. They’re on a full-service lease with PacLease, through their area local PacLease franchise. The trucks feature the PACCAR PX-7 engine rated at 240 horsepower and have 6-speed automatic transmissions. They have another four Kenworth T280s on order and their first Battery Electric Kenworth K270E scheduled to go into service in the first half of 2024. Since a high percentage of Lord & Sons business is in the surrounding San Jose area, most of the trucks are located there.
“The rest—one and two trucks—are placed at our smaller locations,” adds Fabbri. “Most of the trucks average about 30,000 miles per year. In 2022, we also purchased four trucks from PacLease (once they were termed out) for immediate use in four locations. We work with PacLease for any maintenance required.”
Lord & Sons has worked with PacLease since 2008. According to Fabbri, it has been an association that has proven to be beneficial time and time again.
“PacLease is a far cry from the experience we had with another leasing company,” says Fabbri. “We were experiencing poor service and no substitute vehicles. One day, we had a broken-down truck and missed the day’s deliveries. It took a full day just to get the vehicle towed. The last thing we want is to have customers complaining to us about where their delivery is—they’ll often need to install material
the same day it’s delivered.”
As those original leases expired, Fabbri began the move to PacLease. The company is now 100% with PacLease.
“PacLease helped us with the specs, and they provide mobile maintenance service, which saves us quite a bit of time,” Fabbri points out. “They’re Johnny on the spot. They track what’s needed on our trucks—and when—and they make it happen. They’ll even provide a substitute vehicle whenever we need one. PacLease has a very experienced team to make sure everything runs smoothly.”
Once daily deliveries begin, the trucks operate non-stop. Each truck is typically loaded with a combination that includes 10-foot and 20-foot strut, threaded rod, accessories, and other materials on pallets that make up the rest of the cargo. Each truck will make between 20-35 deliveries per day, often having a backhaul on the return to the facility.
“Most deliveries are shorter hauls, but we do go to Sacramento with one of our trucks from San Jose, which is about 90 miles one-way,” says Fabbri. “They’ll return with loads from some of our vendors so we can restock.”
The company also delivers and then replenishes products in bins—called BINBOXES—for use with customers at construction sites.
“It’s something unique we do,” Fabbri explains. “We work with our customers to see what nuts, bolts, and other materials they frequently use, then custom stock a 6×5-foot BINBOX with double doors. We’ll then monitor parts usage and replenish as needed. We have more than 120 of these boxes out now with 100 to 125 different parts. Customized electric lift gates have been added to some of our leased trucks in order to accommodate these special BINBOX loads.”
Fabbri notes that one of the benefits of a full-service lease is the ability to retain capital, which is high on Lord & Sons’ priority list.
“We continue to grow and invest—Las Vegas being our newest market. So, from a financial standpoint,
leasing works great,” Fabbri states. “It also allows us to get into really high-quality Kenworth trucks. Our drivers love them. They offer a smooth ride and they’re easy to get in and out of. That’s not lost on our drivers since they make so many stops each day.”
While the Kenworths have caught the eye of Lord & Sons’ drivers, they’ve also caught the attention of the company’s customers. Fabbri comments that the Kenworths are moving billboards, helping market the company, and look great doing so. They also show how quality and customer service are valued and prioritized. Moving forward, Lord & Sons plans to continue to grow with PacLease.
“The people we work with at PacLease are golden,” Fabbri says. “It’s why I wouldn’t ever leave this company. They make my job easy.”