“It’s all about being reliable for your customers.”

Donny Manolini runs McMahon Burnett’s fleet of 20 long-haul trucks supplying the gold and ore mines of Western Australia, so he knows the importance of a reliable truck.

For nearly twenty years now, McMahon Burnett have been supplying the remote communities and gold and iron ore mines of Western Australia with their supplies. Starting with just a couple of trucks, the business has grown and now runs 20 long-haul trucks pulling double and triple trailers, plus a host of smaller trucks doing local work.

“We run from Hazelmere in Perth all over the state,” says Operations Manager Donny Manolini. “Most of our trips are out to the goldfields in Kalgoorlie, Laverton, Wiluna and Meekatharra, but we also go up to Port Hedland.”

Busy as bees

With a typical journey of around 1,000 kilometres each way, and the trucks going seven days a week, Donny has a full schedule.

“We’ve got all the trucks on regular work but something unexpected and urgent is always popping up,” says Donny, “and when a mine site wants something you have to deliver it on their time.”

A varied diet

The company has eight Tridents and nine Super-Liners hauling food in refrigerated vans, as well as a range of other things such as pallets of cement, mining machinery, and dangerous goods.

“The boss has always liked Macks,” says Donny, “he got his first one 19 years ago and we’ve been mostly Macks ever since. We generally run them up to about 900,000km before we trade them in, and I’ve seen a lot of Macks come and go since I joined the company.”

The fleet perspective

All of the company’s Tridents are fitted with the m DRIVE automated manual transmission, which suits the fleet but has polarised the drivers.

“Most of them absolutely love it, but a few of the old school don’t feel right without a gear stick in their hand, and they have all sorts of excuses,” says Donny with a laugh, “but from a fleet management perspective the m DRIVE has been great, we’ve had no issues with it, and I’ll be very interested to see the condition of the drivelines after a million kilometres without a driver bashing up the gears.”

And on fuel economy?

Donny appreciates the fuel economy of the Tridents, but he reckons they’d do better with a bigger engine.

“We’re getting 1.4-1.5 kilometres-per-litre out of the Tridents, but with the big loads we’re carrying I can’t help wondering if we’d do better with a bigger engine. If I could get a Trident with an MP10 in it I would, I love the shape of the truck. I guess I’ll have to go with the Super-Liner, we’re looking to trade in some old ones soon.”

Reliability is everything

For Donny though, reliability is the only thing that matters.

“The transport business is all about being reliable to your customers,” he says “if you can meet their deadlines you keep them happy. Driver comfort’s important, fuel economy’s important, but ultimately reliability is the thing. We do a lot preventative maintenance and as a result these Macks have proven to be very reliable trucks.”