Made in Kern County: Bradco Mobile Dock Trailers

Posted at 9:12 AM, Apr 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-14 12:12:59-04

Some of the best success stories in business come with the aha moments, when every clicks. A simple idea or thought blooming into a brilliant product. it happened for one Bakersfield man who retired from the distribution business only to learn he could have a profound impact on it’s future. 

We met with Rick Bradford, with Bradco Mobile Dock Trailers.

"You have an incredible story," 23ABC's Tim Calahan explained to Bradford. "You were in the distribution business and you came up with an idea to make the process better, and more efficient," Calahan said. 

"I was a milk and dairy parts distributor for 23 years," Bradford said. "we had challenged to be able to take and off load to the smaller trucks and go out to distribute it." 

A challenge in trucking and distribution logistics, that Rick Bradford turned into opportunity. After selling his business, Bradford began volunteering on large-scale wild land firefighter operations in 11 western states. He would help manage the on and off loading of mobile kitchens set up to feed thousands of fire fighters. But he said distributing food and supplies in rural areas presented many challenges.

“They would put together a wooden dock and tie the legs together it would take about 40 people and 4 hours to set up," Bradford said as he explained how the supplies were off-loaded from a truck. "So they asked me knowing my background if I knew a way would save they money." 

Not only did he have a solution for the firefighters, he’s now servicing many Kern County agricultural and dairy operations with his idea and design that began with a simple sketch. "I sat down and drew up a mobile dock trailer on the back of a napkin, and said this is what you need."

And the idea for his trailer was born. 

All of Bradford's trailers are manufactured on a large lot east of Bakersfield. Bradford has plans to add a large manufacturing facility sometime next year. 

Bradford showed us around a Mobile Dock Trailer to explain how they work. "You’ll bring in a 48 foot refrigerated truck and he’ll back into number 1 spot, and he'll have three smaller trucks set up around this." Bradford explained as he showed us inside the trailer. 

Bradford believes he has created a more efficient process to load and off-load product into smaller delivery trucks. His idea and design now allowing Kern county companies who operate in remote area to get their product to it's final destination much easier. 

Think of it like this: 

If a company needs to deliver product to Tehachapi, Delano and Arvin all in the same day, but are not large enough to have their own distribution center--A Bradco Mobile Dock Trailer can be set up in a convenient spot, cutting down on man hours and getting product to it’s final destination faster.

A way of doing business that is catching on for many local companies, and some through out the state. Bradco's list of clients is growing. It now includes Berkeley Farms in the bay area, El Mexicano foods, Dean Food's and Alta Dena.

To date, Bradford has built nearly a dozen Mobile Dock Trailers, and he expects to double orders by next year. 

And it all started right here in Kern County.