South East Queensland Hauliers Innovate to Accumulate

Road transport is notorious for being a harsh and demanding task master. And running a successful transport business is not for the faint hearted, so it comes as no surprise that the key to success often stems from finding operational efficiencies and a strategic edge.

South East Queensland Hauliers has built an enviable reputation for reliability and achievement in the import/export freight arena and has been at the forefront in developing and implementing PBS A-double combinations in the Sunshine state.

Brett Plummer, owner, and Managing Director of SEQH radiates the combination of determination and business acumen that is common amongst those that can plumb the often-fraught depths of transport and logistics.

Plummer's father was also a transport operator, so a childhood growing up around trucks was bound to leave a mark, "As a kid I was mad about them, I was driving a truck in a quarry at ten years of age."

However, while a time worn diesel-flowing-through-his-veins story appeared to be brewing, academic pursuits intervened. "I ended up studying finance and worked in investment banking for about 15 years.

"Then one day I was sitting at my desk thinking I'd like to run my own gig, I saw this company advertised and bought in."

For Plummer, finding and fostering long-term business relationships makes sense on a number of levels. He says that leveraging Mack Trucks' offerings such as Mack Financial Services and contract maintenance help his team keep focused on the business and the task at hand.

"We like to form strategic partnerships. To get economies of scale and efficiencies you've got to have the same supplier, so we tend to identify what we think is the best option and buy that. We get those economies of scale by having those large numbers.

"Having 50 different things is a lot more difficult to manage than 50 of the one thing.

"Typically, relationships like the one we have with Mack Trucks are positive on-going productive relationships so that any issues are easy to sort.

There's respect on both side of the table.

"Now our whole fleet is now made up of the product.

"By focusing on the one supplier we get to understand the product a lot better, and if we have issues, we can reach deep into the organization to find solutions. If we do have a problem, it is easy to get a resolution. And we're also involved in the process of where the brand is going and how we can improve on the product.

Plummer is clear that the need to continually evolve and innovate is a key element of SEQH's success to date, a quality that he also looks for in his business relationships.

"As the future of transport technology changes you want to identify a partner to align yourself with who will lead the market there, and I'm pretty confident that Volvo Group is going to be at the forefront of that process.

"Being aligned with a group that understands what is going on and is prepared to put their money into research dollars to drive change, that's important, and I'm looking forward to it. Especially the first electric trucks, I hope we're a part of it.

"Our tag line as a company is that we innovate for the future, if you stand still and fall asleep, you'll get your lunch eaten. You have to innovate and stay relevant to you customers. If you don't innovate, don't change then there's only one way to go and it's not up.

"PBS is a good example that allowed us to innovate, we could see back in 2006, 2007 that the industry was moving more and more towards 40- foot containers.

"40-foot containers restricted us to a single trailer, competitively I could see we were behind the 8 ball. Carrying two 40-foot grain containers at a time from Toowoomba down delivered huge efficiencies for us. We got our first A-double on the road in 2010 and now we've got 30 A-doubles on the road.

"The basis of innovation is a problem, it's hard to innovate if you don't have a problem to solve. As a business partner Mack Trucks have worked with us to innovate, to meet the challenges, to solve  problems, and our business is all the better for it."