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Featured on Diesel News - June 2020
There’s no doubt that the ultimate success or otherwise of any trucking operation, regardless of what goods are transported, hinges on maintaining the right level of service provided. Southern Sydney based operation, Select Tilt Tray Group, provides a specialised vehicle transportation service for a number of customers including Toyota industrial equipment.
A number of interlinked elements come into play here, not least the calibre and responsibility of the drivers and the quality and reliability of the vehicles doing the work.
Hard working operators need even harder working trucks and to this end Chris O’Riordan, Director of Select Tilt Tray Group, is convinced Hino’s 500 Series models are more than up to the task.
He bought his first Hino in 1997 and a second unit, a 12-tonne GH 500 Series, joined the fleet in 1999; since then quite a few more have been brought into the Select fold.
Another reason for choosing to standardise on Hino, Chris adds, has something to do with brand association. As the exclusive carrier of new Toyota forklifts, Huski skid-steer loaders and other industrial equipment in Sydney, he felt it was a worthwhile synergy to employ Hino trucks, given Hino belongs to the Toyota Group.
He maintains that from the time he bought his first Hino right through to the purchase of his latest 500 Series Standard Cab unit last year he’s not had a single reason to regret the decision.
In addition to the Hino tilt tray units, the company also operates a brace of prime movers of various brands pulling tri-axle low-loaders hauling heavy machinery, in addition to a Hino fully-enclosed car carrier that is utilised for the safe carriage of newly-imported Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin and McLaren prestige cars from the Port Kembla waterfront. This high value freight is transported to Sydney, and in addition, on occasional trips to Melbourne and Brisbane, as required.
Another specialised operation the company manages involves transporting and unloading forklifts, scissor-lifts and other equipment used to furnish the cruise ships with supplies at the White Bay and Circular Quay overseas passenger terminals.
“Our fleet consists of 21 trucks of various sizes, 11 of which are Hino tilt trays and most of these are owner-operated,” Chris explains. “We’ve found the Hinos to be ultra-reliable and incredibly durable, some of the earlier units were still going strong with over one million kilometres on the clock before they were sold. I reckon that’s outstanding for a medium-duty truck that’s running constantly in an urban environment.”
Talking about technology, Chris says he’s particularly impressed with the new FE unit that joined the fleet last year.
“I like all the new features like lane assist and emergency braking and the rest, but when it’s all said and done, the reliability of the Hinos is the most important factor for us. It comes down to the simple fact that if the wheels ain’t turning you’re not making money.”
Chris sources the vehicles as completely built packages through either of two Sydney-based body builders, Suburban Towing Equipment in Mulgrave near Windsor and Fleet Towing Equipment at Revesby. In this way he keeps the fleet uniform and his owner-drivers get a good deal through fleet pricing. He also appreciates the five-year warranty that covers the entire unit.
“We have a strict policy on keeping the vehicles clean and tidy to present the best possible image to our customers and the public,” says Chris.
Another company-wide requirement is that each of the trucks is serviced and maintained by a licensed mechanic or service centre to ensure ultimate reliability and safety across the fleet. This is an important element of the company’s strict chain of responsibility measures that Chris describes as the biggest change in modern fleet operation compared to the ‘good old days.’
“Chain of responsibility has been a huge thing for us, particularly in terms of safety for the drivers and everyone else on the roads,” says Chris. “We are constantly watching our drivers’ work hours and ensuring they can earn a good living and stay safe at the same time.
“When you operate a business, you have a duty of care to your workers to ensure everyone goes home safely at the end of the day.”
Overall though, Chris says he has been fortunate with the business over the 26 years of operation with only one major incident having occurred about 18 years ago.
“The driver wrote-off his truck and was hospitalised with serious injuries,” says Chris. “But he made a great recovery and is now our allocator and occasional driver of the new 2019 FE Hino.”
He goes on to say that the company’s very good safety record can be attributed to keeping the business at a manageable size with top-notch equipment and the right personnel doing the work.
“We have room for expansion if favourable conditions allow it, but I don’t want to grow the business bigger just for the sake of it,” says Chris. “It has thrived because we have good clients who pay us the right money and in return get the best possible service to suit their needs.
“We aim to stick to our core business of giving our clients the service they need at a fair price and that, I believe, is the formula that has ensured our continued success over the years.”
Having the right range of resources including the owner-operated Hino trucks is an integral part of that success.