Responsibility and liability are important in any trucking business, operators need to keep an eye on things. One operator in Queensland has developed an innovative way of keeping an eye on things in the fleet and talks to Diesel News about the system used.
For any delivery business it is important everything is done properly, that the right goods are delivered to the right place at the right time. Now, we know this is difficult to get right every time, but the camera systems installed on all of the trucks in the CNC Cartage fleet are proving effective in keeping things in order.
Starting off as a one-man operation 22 years ago, a small truck handling small delivery jobs in and around the north side of Brisbane, Chad Brown started his business as many others have in trucking. Ten years ago, the business had grown to four trucks and Chad decided to bite the bullet and come off the road to concentrate on running the business.
As is often the case for these kinds of businesses, when the owner or manager can work on, rather than in, the business, the potential for growth increases. The fleet was up to ten trucks four years ago and has grown to a current fleet of 25 trucks. This would be regarded by anyone as substantial growth, and it is.
Chad had left high school with little idea about what he wanted to do. His father had owned trucks, so he bought a small flat-top for himself and asked around about work.
“I just went into a place and they said they needed someone just to do the extras,” recalls Chad. “I started to do that and, to be honest, worked my arse off for the first five years. My wife handled all of the bookkeeping and accounting, and still does. She now has her own office in Brighton with three other staff helping her.
“I started with one company, and worked with them for a time. After two years, they wanted me to take over all of their transport, so I bought another truck. At the same time, I was building up relationships with all of the retail suppliers in the building industry and noticed there was a local need for crane trucks.
“The fourth truck we bought had a crane fitted and then the business went bang – everyone wanted a crane truck. From that point, we replaced everything with crane trucks, to the point where all of our trucks are now crane trucks.”
The business still operates out of a humble yard with one large warehouse and a couple of demountable offices on Brisbane’s northern edge, however a move is on the cards to give CNC enough room to store everything needed and park all of the trucks.
The yard in Narangba is the company’s main base. In reality, it is simply a parking area for the trucks. Every morning, they head out to a wide range of retailers all over South East Queensland. Trucks are working out of customers’ depots as far away as Nerang on the Gold Coast and in Ipswich to the West of Brisbane.
The number of trucks needed at each retail outlet can vary from up to five on any given day, down to one truck a month. The trucks are allocated tasks and loading points on a load-by-load basis – a retailer could have three trucks delivering three loads or have just one truck delivering the three loads. It depends on the task at hand.
The materials being handled cover every stage of the building process. This goes from underground pipework as the site is prepared, all the way to the roof sheets being delivered as the building is being finished, and then on to dishwashers and timber architraves for the final fit-out. The wide spread of materials handled means the fleet gets a steady flow of work year round.
The CNC Cartage fleet runs all the way from a couple of utes, through a large proportion of 4×2 rigids and then bogie drive rigids all the way to single-drive semi trailers and some bogie drive semis. A lot of the work is with items like roof trusses, which are relatively light, in road transport terms.
Although the vast majority of the work is around the South East Corner of Queensland, trucks do go as far as Moura, 200km inland from Gladstone. CNC handled a lot of long-distance work in the past, but gave it away as it proved difficult to manage. Any long-distance work Chad now takes on is a result of a local customer also wanting CNC to handle its more far-flung sites.