From a small, one-truck operation hauling wood in the mid-1980s, Wade Rolison has grown his business into two thriving and successful companies, Bar Forest Products and Rolison Trucking Company. The two companies are based in Butler in southwest Alabama, a little over 100 miles north of Mobile and not much more than 10 miles from the Mississippi state line.
Bar Forest Products has a fleet of Cat® equipment for harvesting timber and building and maintaining logging roads. The company has two feller bunchers, a 553C and a 573C. Five skidders get the wood to the landing: three 545C models, a 535C and a 525C. For handling wood at the landing, Bar Forest Products has three 559C Knuckleboom Loaders, including one with a bar saw, and a 320D Forest Machine. The company’s other Cat equipment includes four dozers, an excavator, and a lift truck.
The company switched to Cat machines in 2008 to improve service and machine support. The Cat dealer, Thompson Tractor, provides a better service plan with more locations, a larger team of technicians, better parts availability, and stronger overall service capabilities.
His operators like the Cat 559C Knuckleboom Loader because it’s quieter, faster, and delivers smoother performance compared to other loaders, according to Rolison. “Its fuel efficiency has been real good,” he adds. “It burns less fuel per hour than other loaders we’ve used.”
He’s been pleased with the decision to move to Cat machines. “The service and machines have been good,” Rolison says. “One of the biggest differences with Cat equipment is the emphasis on building quality machines. I’ve run other machinery, and the product engineering and workmanship Caterpillar puts into its products are the most valuable things about them.”
Advanced electronics and advanced technology have improved productivity. “Fuel efficiency is improving, and gets better and better with every new model,” Rolison says.
The biggest difference between Cat machines and other forestry equipment, according to Rolison, is better durability. “Uptime percentage on the Cat machines averages in the mid-90s, but the biggest factor has been the remarkable trade-in value. We put a lot of tough hours on our machines working in the forest, but despite the demanding application, our Cat machines are in better shape than others and still have so much life in them that we receive a higher resale value for them.”
Rolison has purchased most of his Cat machines through Cat Financial. “They get things done in a timely manner, and if we have any questions, they’re readily available for consultation. They’re just real down-to-earth folks to work with.”
Thompson Tractor technicians handle warranty issues and any service work on major components. “We have a great relationship with Thompson Tractor,” says Rolison. “They’ve provided excellent service. If there’s a problem, they’re right there to help. They respond promptly even when we’re working in remote locations.”
Thompson Tractor provides training by sending their experts to the Bar Forest Products shop to review the expanding capabilities of the machines and keep operators and maintenance personnel up-to-date on all the latest features and benefits of Cat forestry equipment.