Disrupting the leadership trap – from MHD magazine

Simon Popley and Kim Winter

Leaders working in demanding roles tend to get little or no time to develop their own leadership ability. Focused on getting the job done and developing their own people, their own leadership growth often goes by the wayside. Australians work some of the longest working hours in the developed world, a study has found. About one in five Australians, or two million people, work more than 50 hours a week, the University of Sydney study shows, and many in the logistics and supply chain sector routinely work more than 60 hours a week.

“The lack of investment – of both time and money – is at odds with a plethora of evidence that indicates the magnitude of potential returns.”

Another trap that limits leadership development is under-investment in the area by corporations. Research by Australia’s leading human performance technology specialist DTS International found that more than one in five companies (21%) have no leadership programs at all, while 36% of organisations are yet to establish a leadership development strategy. Only 58% of organisations spend more than US$1,000 per learner on training for senior leaders, compared to just 39% for high potentials and 32% for mid-level management.
The lack of investment – of both time and money – is at odds with a plethora of evidence that indicates the magnitude of potential returns. For example, a recent report by the Human Capital Institute states that organisations that allot more than 31% of annual training and development budgets to leadership development are 12% more likely to report increased revenue.
Train to survive
However, under-investment in leadership development isn’t just a missed opportunity, it’s a major threat to a company’s long-term success. The fact of the matter is – when your leadership gets stale, so do results and the teams and leaders working with you. Everything becomes an effort and leadership feels like it’s sucking your will to live, rather than energising you and lifting up your people.
The fallout of neglecting your own leadership development is that you only have the same old skills, experiences and advice to hand down to your leaders and teams. It becomes a bit like leadership beans on toast, each and every night. After a while, the people to whom you serve your leadership learnings get bored and stop hearing the messages you want them to hear.
Your messaging is experienced as bland and your followers begin to feel that you have nothing new to offer or inspire them with. Preaching career development to them also invites hypocrisy that further diminishes your own leadership standing. This is demonstrated by the fact that only 7% of senior leadership in an international survey by Deloitte finds themselves capable of developing ‘millennial’ leaders, signalling an impending leadership vacuum.

“The most fruitful outcome is when your own leadership style becomes an example for others.”

 
Here are a few practical ideas to assist you in developing some new thinking and raise the energy to revive your leadership.
Tips for revitalising your leadership

  1. Set time aside to think about your current leadership – getting time to think about what changes you need and want to make is crucial. You may need to improve your ability to delegate work to be able to create this space to think: remember, thinking is working!
  2. Ask for feedback from your direct leader and other leaders in your business – what areas do they see in which you need to develop further? What is it they most notice about your leadership? Feedback is the fertile soil in which great leadership grows, without feedback we cannot grow. Feedback can also be hard to process and deal with if you are unfamiliar with getting feedback – think about working with a coach to navigate this journey.
  3. Discuss taking on new leadership challenges. Take on leading a new team or project. Get involved in a different work experience that takes you outside of your current comfort zone. If you are beginning to feel the slight discomfort of being outside of your familiar way of leading, you are probably beginning to grow – this is good pain!
  4. Read some latest thinking and research in leadership development. Read something about leadership you would not usually look at, and share this with another leader.
  5. Develop your ability to reflect on your own leadership experiences. Consider reflective journaling as a means to develop greater insight into your own leadership practice from viewing situations from multiple perspectives. Learn to become comfortable with the ambiguity that leading creates.
  6. Find and join a leadership community of practice – build your own leadership network. The CEO Institute in Australia also organises various networking events, such as the CEO Connect Conference and the CEO Institute Summit that feature top industry leaders. Chief Executive Women is specifically geared towards empowering women through leadership networks that aim to close the gender gap in senior leadership roles across Oceania.
  7. Attends events and conferences that are specifically geared towards leadership development, that offer the opportunity to learn directly and network with inspiring leaders in your field and beyond. A good example is the Annual Leadership Summits organised by the Australian Institute of Management across the country. Logistics Executive Group, an Australia-based international talent management and executive coaching firm, also organises year-round networking events, including a CEO Breakfast Series and the international LogiSYM Conference Series.
  8. Undertake some coach training to become a better-skilled coaching leader so that you are more effectively able to develop the potential of your own people.
  9. Find yourself a qualified and experienced coach and begin a conversation about how to grow and develop your leadership capability.

Regardless of your seniority level and the nature of your organisation, effective leadership is necessary for your success, as well as the success of your team and your stakeholders. Therefore you cannot afford to let your leadership style get stale. Yes, it takes some time and some sweat, some investment on your behalf as well as your organisation and perhaps even the odd tear or two, but the reward is well worth the effort.
The most fruitful outcome is when your own leadership style becomes an example for others. This stimulates a domino effect as your mentees, peers and even seniors attempt to emulate your strategy and foster creative, productive and effective leadership across the organisation. Be the change you wish to be, as Gandhi said. The power rests with you.
Simon Popley is senior partner, leadership and coaching, and Kim Winter is the global CEO of the Logistics Executive Group. The Logistics Executive Group is celebrating its 20th Anniversary of talent acquisition, development  and deploying bespoke leadership programs from their offices throughout Australia, Asia, India and Dubai. Contact Simon Popley at simonp@logisticsexecutive.com, or Kim Winter on +61 411 883 368, email kimw@logisticsexecutive.com.
 
 

A lasting legacy

From the very beginning, Clark Forklift has been at the forefront of technological developments in the forklift truck industry.
From inventing the world’s first-ever forklift truck in 1917, to being the first company to manufacture over 1 million forklift units worldwide, progression, innovation and quality has always been at the forefront of the organisations values.
Logistics & Materials Handling magazine caught up with David Hammond, Sales and Marketing Manager at Clark International South Pacific about what the slogan ‘built to last’ really means for Clark.
The focus on quality and durability has led to Clark being leaders in safety. “Safety is paramount to everything that we do at Clark, and is never an afterthought,” David says.
This commitment to safety is evident in the recently released S-Series Clark Forklift. This newly launched forklift has been selected by Luna Park in Sydney because of its safety features.
“Luna Park’s commitment to site safety is the key reason why this customer has been an early adopter of the next-generation of forklift safety offered by the Clark S-Series,” David says.
The park’s high level of public traffic coupled with continuous commercial operations means that Luna Park has to be very serious about safety for everyone on their site and the new S-series comes packed with standard safety equipment including speed limiting, automatically applied parking brake, LED lights, rear blue light, back up alarm and increased visibility.
The mantra ‘Built to last’ does not just apply to newly built products, David says that he is often taken aback by how some of the older Clark products are still functioning so well.
“Something that still makes me fall off my seat is when we get customers give us their serial numbers for parts and we realise that they are operating a forklift that was built in the 1960s,” David says.
The long-term heritage is not only evident in Clark Forklifts, but also in the Australian distributor of the product, Clark Equipment. The business is an 100 per cent Australian-owned and established in 1948 as a manufacturing licensee of Clark Equipment Company of the United States. David’s father and grandfather both previously held the role of Sales and Marketing Manager for the Forklift division and David’s father is currently the CEO.
“We have multiple generations involved in the company, we are not focussed on short-term goals. We want to be around in generations to come. We have a long-term focus for our products and for our business,” David says.
Over the company’s history, Clark Equipment has launched and established many well-known products and brands such as Clark Forklift, Bobcat loaders and excavators, Doosan heavy construction equipment, Daken farm equipment, McCormick Tractors, Terberg heavy duty terminal tractors and the Omega Heavy Truck range of forklifts, container handlers and reach stackers.
According to David, what really sets Clark Equipment apart is its reputation, quality and technical competency. “The success of our Omega heavy truck range, designed and manufactured by Clark Equipment in Australia, makes us not only a market leader in machinery sales, but one of the only organisations manufacturing heavy trucks here in Australia,” David says.

Meet the ifm experts: Syed Ahmad

One of the key reasons Syed Ahmad is passionate about working with ifm is that the company is always generating innovative, technologically-advanced products. As an Internal Product Specialist, Syed sees the difference that ifm solutions can make to businesses, helping them with preventative maintenance of machinery and automation. Hear what Syed has to say about ifm’s unique product and service offerings in the Australian market.

Reducing risk by improving supply chain resilience

Building prevention and recovery programs for minimising supply chain risk is vital, according to commercial property insurer, FM Global. Here the company offers tips on how to identify and analysis potential risks.
Supply chain concerns are big news when they reach national scale. Earlier this year, shivers were sent through the business community when reports surfaced that Australia only had 23 days of fuel in reserve. It was a startling reminder of just how exposed our economy is to a global oil crisis.
The ongoing crisis in Syria and wider tensions in the Middle East mean this threat is constantly bubbling away under the surface. Experts say the impact would be felt within two weeks, with supply of food and medicines among the biggest fears. Not surprisingly, the Federal Government responded by announcing an immediate review of fuel security.
Although doomsday scenarios like this are at the extreme end of the scale, supply chain risk is an everyday concern for any business that operates in or is serviced by the logistics industry.
Businesses are investing heavily in technology to improve operational efficiency and meet customer demand for faster, more convenient delivery. Increasingly data-driven modern business practices bring greater exposure to cybersecurity threats. Global ransomware events like WannaCry and the more sophisticated GoldenEye strain of Petya have triggered losses running into billions of dollars.
And while cybersecurity has quickly become established as a major concern for every business supply chain, managing physical risk has also become increasingly complex in today’s truly global market. The world’s biggest brands have tens or even hundreds of thousands of suppliers. And each of those suppliers has its own supply chain.
It’s one thing to manage risk within your own business but quite another to handle risk at this level of scale and complexity. There are natural disasters to consider, differing risk qualities, legal and regulatory inconsistences, health and safety conditions and possible trade disputes.
There are always stories in the news with an impact on somebody’s supply chain. US pharmaceutical industry was threatened last year after Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico and brought production to a standstill. Apple famously saw billions wiped off its share price a few years back after unethical work practices were exposed in its supply chain.
Fast forward to today and increasingly frosty relations between China and the US threaten to impact the supply of rare earth minerals needed by consumer electronics and technology manufacturers. Tomorrow it could be your business caught in the crosshairs.
Building your resilience
It’s impossible to mitigate all of the risks in your supply chain but there are lots of ways to minimise your exposure. Whatever line of business you’re in, you need to focus on building your resilience with targeted investment in prevention and recovery programs.
As one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers, FM Global has about 1,800 practicing engineers. Using this experience, FM Global will help identify and analyse potential risks, offering clients a clear understanding of their specific exposures.
We’ve also developed the FM Global Resilience Index, helping you make more informed business decisions with data and in-depth analysis covering 130 countries and territories. Each country’s score is calculated using a series of economic, risk-quality and supply-chain drivers.
Switzerland, for example, ranks at the top of the index because of its high-quality infrastructure and local suppliers, political stability, low levels of corruption and high economic productivity. Sweden also features prominently for similar reasons including its outstanding supply chain visibility.
At the other end of the index are Haiti, Venezuela and Nepal. Haiti is severely hampered by its limited economic means and exposure to natural disasters, while Venezuela is overly dependent on oil and exposed to corruption.
At a more granular level, you might want to compare the resilience of two or more countries where you have new business opportunities, or weigh up the risks associated with potential suppliers located in different locations.
Building resilience is about minimising vulnerability to loss while strengthening the ability to recover from it. You’ll never completely eradicate supply chain risk but by identifying your most serious exposures and taking action to reduce them, you will reduce the likelihood of serious disruption. That’s good for your customers and good for your business.
Greg Duncan is FM Global’s Operations Vice President, Client Services. He leads a team of account managers, underwriters and technical specialists providing property insurance to some of the largest companies in Australia and New Zealand.

Build it and they will come

By engaging Vaughan Constructions in the delivery of its new facility, GMK Logistics was ready to expand its business and meet new demands sooner than expected.  
When GMK Logistics, one of Australia’s largest logistics suppliers to the warehousing flooring industry, outgrew its warehouse at Smeaton Grange in Sydney the company knew it wanted to build a well advanced and purpose-built facility for its new premises.
Following an extensive search of potential sites, GMK decided to develop a site at a nearby facility in Gregory Hills, Sydney. The plan for the warehouse was to build a 15,000-square metre warehouse and 1,300-square metre office on the 16,300-square metre site, more than double the size of the previous facility.
Having previously worked with Vaughan Constructions, GMK Logistics once again partnered with recently crowned Master Builder of the Year by the Master Builders Association Victoria Awards 2018 to develop a new facility fit for the company’s significant growth.
Preparing for success
Vaughan Constructions understands the importance of client-focused based projects and has more than six decades of experience in the Australian building and property sector. According to Colm O’Reilly, Construction Manager for New South Wales, Vaughan’s philosophy is to build customers for life.
“GMK had outgrown their previous facility – they were busting at the seams. With more growth already projected we had to ensure that we built an adequate facility,” Colm says.
He says Vaughan Constructions offer a one-stop shop for the customer. From inception to operation. Vaughan use in-house expertise to develop a design to the client’s operational requirements and to maximise land efficiency. “We go through the entire process with the customer, we work out exactly what they want, how they want the facility to function and operate. Those fundamentals and details are developed from the conceptual design right through to working design with operation in mind.”
Vaughan Construction makes sure that the design features optimum efficiencies. “In this case that included ensuring that all freight came in one side of the warehouse and out of the other this aided the operation both internally and externally. With a one-way system of goods and traffic,’ Colm says.
Future-proofing
Covering four hectares of land, the original proposal was for a 16,300-square metre warehouse. “The original timeline was to expand within five years, but GMK were expanding quickly and before we were finished building the warehouse GMK were already looking to expand,” Colm says.
Vaughan ensured that every aspect of the building allowed for GMK’s future expansion plans. This included town planning, where the future expansion was included with the original development consent, reducing the time to commence building considerably.
According to Colm, the future-proofing is largely to do with the building services and the structure. “We make sure everything has been designed for the new expansion. In this project we wanted to extend at the end wall of the warehouse. The design features meant that we could build the fully weathered warehouse extension and connect to the existing without exposing any warehouse space or product to the elements during construction. All we needed to do was remove some cladding and supports from the inside to open up the two spaces.”

After opening the facility in 2016, it was soon at capacity with two of GMK’s largest customers entrusting the company with the care of their product in this new facility. Accordingly, in 2017, GMK and Vaughan commenced construction of the extra 6,100 square metre extension. Knowing that they had the capacity to expand, gave Gary, General Manager at GMK Logistics, a lot of confidence. “Vaughan have a great team of experts. They are very professional. We had weekly meetings and whatever the team needed they always had someone across it.”
“We knew we had the option for an extension in five years but by the end of the first year we had already reconfigured our racking. Vaughan’s design gave us the confidence to take on new business knowing that we could expand with ease. We had a build it and they will come attitude. And they did,” Gary says.
Vaughan recognises that if you go back and retrofit for expansion it can be very expensive and take a lot of time. “A lot of expense can be wasted on upgrading and extending completed building services, particularly where demolition is required to expose them for connection or upgrade. So everything needed to be considered, to ensure there was sufficient capacity for the expansion but we didn’t over capitalise on uncertainties. In terms of water supply, sprinkler tanks or future power requirements, these were all completed to predetermined requirements of the expansion. Whereas infrastructure like stormwater detention were constructed temporarily in an open pit until the final requirements were finalised during the warehouse expansion design. Similarly, we ensured where possible that no services would be made redundant by the expansion,” Colm says.
“The full extension was completed in April 2018 and has already achieved strong uptake from new and existing customers,” Gary says.

GMK Logistics is a national specialised logistics service to the flooring industry in Australia. The company is a subsidiary of CTI Logistics Limited, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. With a fleet of more than 60 vehicles and fully outsourced warehousing solutions. GMK’s modern warehousing facilities allows them to deliver products on time and in good condition, anywhere in Australia.
Working with Vaughan Constructions gave them the confidence they need to concentrate on their customers’ needs and requirements and the ability to capitalise on new business opportunities.

Meet the ifm experts: Roland Denholm

Roland Denholm is a Sales Engineer with ifm who has vast experience working with the food and beverage manufacturing industry and in managing automation and contractor accounts. He explains how the company’s approach to a customer’s business is entirely customer-centric – “It is about them, not about what we do.” Roland enjoys working with customers and getting to understand their business in order to help meet their requirements. He is proud of the unique rapport that is built between ifm employees and their customers, explaining that it truly epitomises the company’s slogan to be ‘Close To You’.

Driving Australia’s digital future

Leading industry experts across the manufacturing, logistics, infrastructure and energy sectors met in Melbourne to discuss the opportunities that digital transformation will provide for Australia.
Digitialize, an annual conference organised by Siemens, was held at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) this year. The theme this year was ‘unlocking the potential’ and featured a line-up of global and local industry experts.
The four topics of the day were workforce of the future, Industry 4.0, intelligent infrastructure and Australia’s Energy Transition.
Chairman and CEO of Siemens Australia Jeff Connolly, kicked-off the day with a lively discussion about what Industry 4.0 is. Sporting a new pair of Adidas sneakers, he spoke of the potential that Industry 4.0 will provide for localised manufacturing.
“Years ago the main concern for manufacturing was the cost of labour, so you looked for the cheapest place to manufacture. With Industry 4.0, companies will be able to produce products at the point where they will be consumed, significantly reducing transport and logistics costs,” Jeff said.
Jeff’s sneakers had been customised to showcase the Siemens brand, with the trademark three strips in Siemens-style green. “Industry 4.0 will allow for personalisation and customisation. Products like my customised sneakers can be produced at the same cost as 1,000 batch products. This is a very exciting prospect for Australia.”
The four topics of the day were workforce of the future, Industry 4.0, intelligent infrastructure and Australia’s Energy Transition.
Gaining competitive edge with Industry 4.0
According to Jeff, the potential of the fourth industrial revolution doesn’t stop at product personalisation and customisation. It will change everything. “The way we work, the way we learn, the way we make things and the way we use our planet will all change.”
Industry 4.0 provides major opportunities for businesses to improve their competitive edge. “Historically there was a huge amount of engineering discipline going into product releases, everything needed to be 99.9 per cent right before going out to market. Then it didn’t take long for businesses to copy. But with the ability to design and iterate fast, you can go from concept to reality very quickly, gaining a serious competitive edge,” Jeff said.
Even the MCG has the potential to gain from the concepts at the heart of Industry 4.0. Using the European example of the Allianz arena in Munich, Jeff explained the ways in which Industry 4.0 is helping to maintain the highest quality of grass on the pitch. “There are sensors underneath the grass which monitor light, temperature, weight and humidity 24 hours a day. This data is then used to keep the grass at its highest quality at all times.
The benefits to be realised don’t stop at grounds maintenance either. “What does an AFL shirt have to do with Industry 4.0?” Jeff asked. Every AFL player could have a sensor in the back of their shirt, monitoring 100 per cent of their movement. This includes body temperature, sweat and breathing. “This data means that after the game you can work out what went wrong, and adjust diet and training regimes accordingly. All of these capabilities are a product of Industry 4.0”, Jeff said.

Workforce of the future
With endless opportunities, Industry 4.0 is set to transform many industries. For another presenter, Innes Willox, Chief Executive at Ai Group, Industry 4.0 provides Australia with the opportunity to have a thriving logistics industry.
“To walk the road to Industry 4.0, organisations will need ambition, to cultivate innovation at every level, collaboration, robust technological infrastructure a rock-solid approach to cyber security and new skills,” Innes said.
Siemens, Swinburne University of Technology and Ai Group have established a pilot programme to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills, the pilot includes a range of topics including Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT).
“The pilot has been very successful and is a project that gets to the heart of what’s needed for a workplace of the future,” Innes said. The importance of preparing a workforce of the future was an idea that resonated throughout the day, with the importance of skills and training coming up in all sectors.
Siemens has been doing some significant work in this space and Innes said the collaborative pilot programme with Ai and Swinburne will reinvent apprenticeships in Australia. The qualification is the first of its kind and is designed to meet the particular needs of Industry 4.0.

Data and how to use it
A central aspect of Industry 4.0 is data. According to Jeff, data itself isn’t valuable. The question is, how to unlock it?
“Organisations shouldn’t be collecting data alone, they need to make sense of it and then work out what they want to do with it,” Jeff said.
“Data is being described as the oil of the 21st century. Ninety per cent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years and 5.5 million new ‘things’ get connected every day. However, the value is in being able to refine that crude data and turning it into usable business information. This requires sophisticated platforms that simplify and enable the process. It also requires skilled people coming through the system – which is what this facility and the partnership is all about,” Jeff said.
Early adopters
The Siemens event also provided an opportunity for early adopters of Industry 4.0 to showcase their success. Siemens Business Development Manager Leonie Wong spoke about the success that local distiller Brogan’s Way has found with using Industry 4.0 principles.
A logistics Industry 4.0 success story was presented by Dulux Australia. Brad Hordern, General Manager Supply Chain at Dulux, talked about the new $165 million warehouse facility at the Merrifield factory site in Melbourne’s north.
This facility is highly automated and, according to Brad, includes the most advanced paint manufacturing technology and innovation. “This new facility was an exercise in precision,” he said.
The factory is the largest coatings factory in Australia and New Zealand and Dulux has purchased 17 hectares of land to allow for expansion. “With an investment like this, we wanted to do it right. We knew it would be a multi-decade investment so we wanted to design for the future,” Brad said.
The factory houses around 70 employees and just under 40 are operators, demonstrating its highly automated functionality.
According to Brad, economies of scale no longer apply in the same way they used to. “There still is an aspect of it, but customisation is expected now. That’s one of our points of difference and now we can do variations that we couldn’t’ do before. We can be very competitive on the high-volume stuff but also with the small customised orders. But the important thing is the quality. With the automation upgrades every product we produce has the same precision level,” Brad said.
Breakout session facilitator David Hegarty, Managing Director at APS Industrial called the Dulux Merrifield case an important success story for Australian warehousing, logistics and manufacturing. “There is something we can all learn from this great example and I hope you all recognise the benefits that can be made from adoption of Industry 4.0 techniques.”
 

Beyond the border

Bordertown, to the uninitiated, might sound like something out of Mad Max. It evokes images of red soil, cracked riverbeds and a dust-blown outpost exiled to the outer rim of a desert, not yet named by colonial explorers. The reality, however, is a picturesque, diverse farming region located between national park to the north, the Great Australian Bite to the west and the nearby Victorian border to the east. The birthplace of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, and the home of the Albino kangaroo, Bordertown boasts a population of nearly 3000, in addition to a vast underground water supply. The fertile soil enables the production of flowers, potatoes, onions and pasture seed including livestock and cereal exports.
It’s also the home of Bordertown Haulage, a company founded in 1973 by Peter Karger, who operates a 10-truck fleet that carries grain and produce, on regular routes through Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and regional areas in between. Interstate trips are often triangulated to maximise returns, which makes the base in Bordertown, en route to and from Mt Gambier, an ideal location.
According to Peter, who serves as Director at Bordertown Haulage, the township maintains a grain storage mindset, a carryover from past days when Section 92 of the constitution allowed for free trade between the states, and grain no longer was a compulsory acquisition for storage at rail sidings by regional grain boards. The region has a long history of irrigation, which necessitates a reliance on fertiliser. Flattop trailers, with side curtains inside the gates, and floor trapdoors were the norm for this task, enabling a return trip often dedicated to general freight. As a result it opened up the widespread transportation of highway grain. The long history of irrigation in the region, which when combined with cereal crops means fertilizer is required all year round, has occasioned a common backload. Just as rail ceased shipping fertiliser on the short task it was tip trucks that were destined to pick up the slack.
“That opened everything up from our perspective. Grain trading was the obvious inclusion into the transport and now forms a large part of the operation. With farmers seeing the improved returns from storing their grain on farm and trading it across the border later in the year, the spread of bulk cartage finally enabled the purchase of the first convertible tipper in the area from O’Phee’s at Pittsworth in Queensland.”
The year was 1982. As the railways started doing less short-haul trucks got involved, moving a variety of bulk products.
Bordertown Haulage soon found its niche in the market. Since it commenced operations, the company has a diversified range of bulk products it carries, including grain and fertilizer, onions and potatoes, and hay – now in increasing demand by farmers due to the serious drought conditions affecting New South Wales. Peter started out with a long nose D-series Toyota, tray top, working on the farm. He grew up in nearby Keith, a small town in Tatiara, the northernmost region of South Australia’s Limestone Coast. After attending agriculture school he went back to the farm where he found work was scarce.
In partnership with his brother, Peter purchased an Acco tray top truck and trailer with a 180-horsepower engine hauling a 23-foot dog trailer. Heavy rains in 1975, washed out the Transcontinental rail line on the Nullarbor. The opportunity arose to carry a load of Ansett Express parcel freight from Melbourne to Perth. Peter, in his ACCO, headed west.
“I was loaded to the gunnels,” he says. “That started my desire to wander around the country side.”
The epic challenges kept coming the following year. He drove a White Road Commander and tri-axle semi-trailer from Sydney to Mt Newman, no less, in Western Australia. Not to be outdone, Peter with a trailer now hand-loaded with pumpkins out of Carnarvon, for the return journey, followed that up by going, coast to coast, from Port Hedland to Sydney. It took more than a week.
“Those were very different times,” he says. “I have to take a moment when I think back to how we had to run things back then.”
Not surprisingly safety remains a major focus for Peter, who has 40 years of experience, in all types of terrain and driving conditions. It’s in large part why he allies his business with Volvo Trucks. Peter recalls he had kept a close eye on the Volvo commercial range for many years prior to buying his first model, a second hand Volvo FH540, which was put on a parcel run.
“A mate out of Cooke Plains had Volvos early on and he swore by them,” he says. “Eventually you jump in and once you see the advantages you think to yourself, why didn’t I do that a long time ago?”
Peter has never been much into twin exhaust pipes and overhead foxtails de rigueur among outback truckers. He has plenty of years working with the noise and grease typically associated with some of the long-haul heavy vehicles. Volvo Trucks are, for him, the modern way to carry out the task, with ease of operation and far less weekly attention required, although, the advanced systems now characteristic to the brand should not intimidate prospective customers.
“Some people can get scared off because they have a lot of monitors and sensors but this hasn’t been an issue,” he says. “I wouldn’t operate a truck without a system in it of some sort so you can monitor how it is being driven. I am also very comfortable to know I’m giving my drivers the safest product out there.”
Recently chosen by Volvo Trucks Australia as its South Australian representative in its Volvo Driver’s Fuel Challenge, Peter, through using Dynafleet, the telematics system he was introduced to following his purchase of a Volvo FH600 in 2015 – his second – continues to notice the benefits. Although he has long been an advocate of improving fuel efficiency, Dynafleet has helped him and his drivers up their game.
“The fact that you can monitor your fuel constantly with the Volvo, can result in it becoming a challenge, even against yourself,” Peter says. “When you’re on a regular run with hills and the traffic and you know your fuel economy will drop down and then come up again, it becomes a little game to see what you can get.”
Fuel economy has always been one of the key considerations for running his business. He monitors, using Dynafleet, all of his drivers, who, according to Peter, are fast taking it upon themselves to apply knowledge gained and shared by others committed to daily fuel conservation. It’s since become infectious says Peter.
“You challenge yourself each trip to do better than the last one,” he says. “The main reason is simply because you can and then, if you’ve got a certain mindset, then you do. I’ve always watched fuel economy.”
The trucks at Bordertown Haulage are each fitted with a Navman Global Positioning System (GPS), which Peter says he would no longer operate a truck without one.
“Further to that, I would not operate a truck without some form of monitoring of how the driver is driving it,” he says. “If the truck’s fuel economy is down, you don’t know whether it is the way it is being driven, or if there is something actually wrong with the truck.”
The Volvo Maintenance program, according to Peter, has allowed Bordertown Haulage to increase the fleet size to 10 trucks and still maintain its existing staff levels.
“We’ve tried, where possible, to stay out in front of where technology is going with disc brakes since 2002, Air CTI tyre monitors and ABS/EBS braking systems to name a few. I consider the Volvo product adds to this,” Peter says. He often relieves a driver who pilots one of the FH Globetrotters and admits, after over four decades in the industry, and at least 10 years jaded by the prospect of driving, that he now looks forward to it.
“These Globetrotters have given me a new lease on life especially the safety pack option,” he says. “I don’t want to drive a truck that doesn’t have all of the safety features and comfort and I take pride in being able to offer this to my drivers as well.”
The shape of the cab-over, he notes, makes cleaning it an easier task. Peter claims the job of cleaning the entire truck is nearly as easy as it is to wash the windscreen. A suite of safety features that includes the likes of Adaptive Cruise, are fast taking pressure off his daily operation.
“They all add up: the economy and serviceability. Adaptive Cruise, Lane change and Emergency Braking, coupled with the economy and serviceability,” he says. “I never used to get time to drive but now look forward to the drive once a fortnight or more.”
According to Peter, from the time his drivers started using the first Volvo introduced into the fleet, they were .3 to .2 litres per kilometre better off. As drivers, informed with the latest fuel-burn data, improve their performance, the results speak for themselves.
“They excel in comfort and are smoother to drive,” Peter says. “I personally get out of the cab feeling fresh.”
Chain of responsibility, before it was named so, has been a prescient concern for men and women whose drivers and their safety is of paramount importance. It’s no different for Peter.
“If you can prevent an accident from happening and help do your bit to avoid something truly serious occurring where the end result has the ultimate consequence for all involved then I try and provide the safest environment as possible.”
To this regard, the Volvo Truck, as Peter sees it, covers these bases.
In his experience, an American truck without EBS towing a trailer that does have EBS can have dangerous consequences. He recalls a recent incident.
“We had a car in the city pull across directly in front of an FH Globetrotter with the full safety pack and the fully loaded B-double pulled up without hitting the car,” Peter says. “He could have killed the car driver.
We might have had a bent truck off the road, with a traumatised driver and an investigation because of a death. To me it is a no-brainer. With emergency braking they do stop, even with a fully loaded B-double.”
That driver, suffice it to say, who has driven trucks for over 20 years, all over the country, according to Peter, is now an avid Volvo convert.
Bordertown Haulage devotes three Volvo curtainsiders on its produce run into Virginia, north of Adelaide. It’s a regular daily run of 12 hours total turnaround – and presents the perfect opportunity for drivers to use the Coasting option to assist with fuel economy. Peter says it has provided major gains for fuel efficiencies, by managing the vehicle better on declines. In coast mode the vehicle selects neutral and the engine returns to idle, using minimum fuel. By using this feature as much as possible, a significant amount of fuel can be saved. Dynafleet reports confirm, for Peter, that it also serves as an educational tool for drivers who are getting maximum utilisation from the vehicle’s system.
“With the ability to see your fuel economy live, you can see the saving and then have the ability to improve upon it.”
Now all of his drivers are starting to play with it.
“They have begun,” he says, “to talk among themselves as to what they are doing in the truck.”
Bordertown Haulage is serviced by South Central Trucks in Adelaide. The dealership does little things, according to Peter, that he appreciates.
“They make you feel special,” he says. “They still make you as important as the company that buys 40 trucks.”
Recently he required a bull bar replacement, after a driver, on a pastoral run with a Volvo FM 500, emerged through the mist not far from Mt Gambia, to find a full grown cow had wandered onto the highway without warning. He hit it at full speed. The Chris Barron bull bar absorbed the full impact, and diminished what otherwise would have been hefty damage to the body of the truck.
“You could have fixed the damage in your workshop if you had to,” Peter says. “It was bent back and broke some welds. The truck kept running for six weeks while a new bull bar was built. It didn’t miss a beat.”
The FM 500 features the Volvo safety pack, which it uses to navigate a route made hazardous at night by fog.
“You only know the true value of the Volvo safety systems after you’ve been in a near miss situation,” Peter says. “That’s when you see what some of this stuff is worth.”
With his son Angus now taking over much of the day-to-day operations, Peter says he can be seen, more often, in one of the FH Globetrotters, getting his Volvo “fix” for the day.

Meet the ifm experts — Harsh Zala

Meet Harsh Zala, a systems solutions engineer at ifm. Harsh works across ifm’s range of products and is responsible for complete technical delivery of products on time and on budget. Hear Harsh talk about IoT (the Internet of Things), the importance of offering tailored solutions and more.

Addressing industry-wide equipment supply issues

Delivery delays and stock availability are common difficulties for logistics businesses operating in Australia. George Pappas at Linde Materials Handling presents a solution to dramatically improve this issue.
Local material handling equipment users have for years found themselves in a unique situation when it comes to sourcing the appropriate machines for their needs.
On one hand the Australian market is serviced by all the major global suppliers, providing excellent choice. On the other hand, the relatively small size of the market and its distance from equipment manufacturing centres frequently leads to lengthy delivery delays.
This situation is exacerbated by the requirement for bespoke material handling equipment solutions in many instances and the temptation to settle for “what’s available now” has caused major grief in businesses of all sizes.
Delivery delays of anything from 12 to 30 weeks have become part of new equipment and fleet turnover planning by necessity, regardless of the chosen supplier.
Now Linde Material Handling Australia has made dramatically-improved stock availability the focus of a major multi-million-dollar investment project to permanently address this issue.
The investment is part of Linde’s ongoing commitment to anticipate customer requirements and to address market-wide delivery delay issues.  It sits alongside similarly important developments which will see Linde broadly extend Lithium-ion battery availability and roll out Linde Robotics technology.
“We have made a multi-million-dollar decision to invest in equipment which we know is in high demand in the material handling equipment market place, and have it available ex-stock,” George Pappas, Senior Director, Service and Sales at Linde says.
He pointed to the major benefit for rental and purchase customers as the equipment covered by the plan will not incur the normal production and shipping-related delivery delays experienced for equipment currently ordered from all the big industry players.
George stresses the decision is a permanent one, rather than a short-term measure. “We have made this business-transforming investment decision to forward-order high demand stock which we know is suitable for both the corporate and retail market, for the purpose of short term rental, long term rental and outright purchase,” he says.
“The hundreds of pieces of equipment covered by this undertaking range from counterbalance electric forklift trucks, to high productivity counterbalance IC forklift trucks in our Performance Plus 2.5 tonne capacity range.
“We have also ordered a significant number of reach trucks and pallet trucks including the MT12 – a unique medium duty lithium ion battery-powered 1.2 tonne capacity, high manoeuvrability truck for use in back-of-truck and as a replacement for hand pallet trucks and manual pallet trucks.”
Linde’s aim is to ensure it remains close to the market in terms of supply through its short-term rental fleet and for all types of new equipment from the smallest application to large enterprise requirements. In doing so it has taken on the risks associated with peaks and troughs in the market.
“The days of ordering from the factory only on receipt of customer orders are behind us now as Linde moves up to the next level of customer responsiveness and support,” George says.
The widely used Linde 115 reach truck, is part of Linde’s plans for ex-stock availability, highlighting the company’s contention it is not simply stocking up on equipment which is just fodder for the capital equipment market.”
Linde is also demonstrating its new approach on the pricing front. “These are high specification machines being put to the market at some of the most aggressive prices even seen from Linde in both the short term and the long-term rental market,” George says.
“Our goal is to ultimately have application specific machines which are customer rental available with the shortest possible lead time.
“Within this program we are doing our best to be genuinely responsive to demand without the long list of terms and conditions which frequently surround rental machine availability. We are doing our best to make sure we have the right machines with the shortest possible delay.”
Linde claims its actions will address frustrations in the market around the availability of stock and allow it to respond to large segments of the market with immediate hire.
“I stress that this is a genuine, on-going approach, backed by tens of millions of dollars of investment and not just a limited- time promotion,” George says.
“We continue to have a clear focus on highly customised solutions for markets and applications which require them, but we are also better able to meet the demands of the general short-term rental market with this increased stock commitment.”

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