Truckline keeping Emerald Carrying Company on the road
Established 51 years ago by Bill and Joan Haylock, the Emerald Carrying Company has grown from humble beginnings to a transport business employing 250 staff running 105 vehicles and 250 trailers Australia-wide. Sons Greg and Peter took over the business in 2011, growing it to what it is today, with depots in Townsville, Mackay, Emerald, Conclurry, Melbourne, Sydney, Darwin and Brisbane.
The company’s core business is bulk liquids transport, with clients including the top three major fuel companies in Australia – Caltex, Viva Energy and BP Australia. The fleet supplies fuel to the mining industry and airports, along with lubricants for mines as well.
Cameron Jennison, Emerald Carrying Company’s Group Maintenance Manager, says this requires a huge focus on occupational health and safety.
“We undertake quarterly compliance checks and our customers do annual compliance checks on us as well. We take safety extremely seriously,” said Cameron.
Emerald Carrying Company boasts around 75% of the bulk fuel business in Queensland, and a growing presence in other states.
Cameron says a key success factor for Emerald Carrying Company is minimising trucks off the road for unscheduled maintenance or mechanical problems.
“For us, having a vehicle off the road presents a huge issue. Even for just 24 hours, for a B double vehicle, that translates to 200,000 litres of fuel across four trips that would not get delivered to our customers.
“That would have a huge flow on effect – the customer could very likely run out of fuel. Our customers only buy just as much as they need at a time, they don’t keep excess on hand. If we don’t turn up, there are big implications,” Cameron explained.
So how does the business ensure this doesn’t happen?
Emerald Carrying Company has been in partnership with leading after-market truck and trailer parts business, Truckline, for around 16 years. Cameron credits this partnership with helping to deliver the level of service his customers demand.
“Truckline have branch locations everywhere we do, plus they supply consignment stock to us. This is a huge benefit for us – they supply each of our depots with around $200,000 worth of parts that we can use as we need, and pay for as we need. This means we don’t need to outlay this amount in advance, only when we actually use the parts.
“As soon as we use something we let them know and it’s replenished within 48 hours.”
Cameron says pricing and product quality are key when it comes to working with suppliers.
“Pricing is a big thing and Truckline is very competitive, but part quality is something I can also rely on and this is important. I’d rather pay for something better if it will last – I know my employees and drivers will be safe,” he said.
“Service is also key – if we have a warranty claim on a part Truckline follow it through with the supplier for us and get a full explanation on the problem, and if they feel there will be further problems they will find a new supplier – and there is never any extra cost to us for this. Recently they followed one through for us resulting in a $20,000 per year saving on a filtration product.
“If they don’t have something we need they find it within 24 hours – it’s probably about a 97% fill rate which is excellent,” Cameron said.
Overwhelmingly however, the key to successful supplier relationships is to make them part of the team.
“We treat Truckline as an extension of our business. In fact, Truckline uses us to carry their consignment stock around the country – reciprocal business makes a lot of sense,” said Cameron.
Fostering this sort of partnership results in mutual benefit, and an ongoing commitment to going above and beyond to service the business’ needs.
“Back in 2011 when much of Queensland was flooded, our Rockhampton depot was at great risk of being cut off from the rest of the town. To keep our business running, Truckline came up with the idea of bringing out excess parts and leaving them at our depot, at no charge. Then when the flood waters receded, they picked up the unused stock.”
The result was we never lost a day despite being cut off totally from Rockhampton, thanks to the parts they delivered. It was completely Truckline’s idea,” said Cameron.
Cameron’s Top Five Tips for Choosing a Great Supplier:
- Do your research and look for high quality product – a great relationship with a supplier is pointless if the product itself isn’t great.
- High quality doesn’t have to mean expensive – look for competitive pricing from all your suppliers.
- Ask questions about the extent of the range and availability of parts – for all makes and brands – so you know that when you need something urgently you can actually get it fast.
- Don’t settle for quality products but terrible service – good customer service is hard to come by but really important in the day-to-day running of your business and interactions with your suppliers.
- Consider where your supplier is located – Truckline’s branch locations are perfect for our business but it’s not something everyone thinks about when choosing a supplier.