When there are 115 trucks running in a fleet, keeping an eye on things becomes vital. Despite owning few trucks, the ATT Logistics fleet needs to be monitored 24/7. There are 92 trailers in ATT Logistics colours. The company employs 36 people. They include warehousing personnel, clerks, IT, credit controllers, workshop technicians.
The ATT business has been in existence for over 30 years. Starting out as a courier/taxi truck operation, handling small loads with small trucks, in the main. Graham Harris’ original partner later became ill, over twelve years ago and was bought out when Garry Clarke came into the business.
“Garry came in and we changed direction,” recalls Graham. “We moved into the logistics arena, which has been a very good direction for us to head. We were based at Richlands and running 50 or 60 small trucks. Now we have a very few small rigids.”
The business relies entirely on tow operators to get the job done. The company has a workshop vehicle to maintain the trailer fleet capable of doing on site repairs when and if required. The company work out of two sites, the main one is in Carole Park on the Logan Motorway logistics corridor to the south-west of Brisbane, the second is a satellite site in Acacia Ridge, another more centrally located transport hub.
ATT has invested heavily in IT, in order to be able to integrate its own business system with those used by its customers. From a management perspective the operations staff have a dashboard displaying just how the trucks are doing, where they are etc. All live on screen.
The customers can also view the dashboard live, to give visibility to the service being supplied by ATT. By going to this system ATT have drastically reduced the number of phone calls coming, as many were simply question about the whereabouts of a load and when it would arrive.
“We don’t own the actual trucks,” says Graham. “We own the trailing equipment and we pay a contractor/fleet owner to tow it. It’s the same model as Woolworths use with their distribution fleet. Our contractors’ trucks are all white and they are all modern.
“Our reasoning is this. If you own the prime mover and you have a mechanical issue with the prime mover, you’re pretty well buggered. Whereas, this way, if old mate has an issue, you simply put another fleet under the trailer and keep going. You can’t do that, if you are heavily invested in the assets.
“We over 60 individual fleet owners. We put a cap on the number of vehicles any owner can have with us. They can have five and then that’s it. We put them on a written contract. We have contracts with all of our customers so we have got surety.”
The assets are being sweated. All of the B-doubles in the fleet work 24 hours a day. Many on a large beer hauling contract.
“We have got tracking on everything,” says Graham. “The drivers use a tablet which has delivery details and POD on the screen, also with GPS in it. The trailers are all tracked so we can tell where everything is. They can also take a photo with the tablet, if they choose. Some customers choose to have the POD sent to them, via email, as soon as it is signed.
“A lot of our customers are picking up what we are doing for other people and wanting it themselves. It’s a really good selling point. We had one customer, we had a dashboard on the wall in their premises and it’s right in front of their sales team.
“They can watch the trucks, and if the truck is running twenty minutes late they will ring the customer and tell them, keep that conversation going with the customer. They can also view it on their phones, if they are out and about. They can be on the front foot, they are not waiting for customers to phone and complain.”
Some customers include ring fencing in their requirements. This enables them to track arrival and departure times.
“If we’ve quoted a price on the basis it takes one hour to unload a truck, then it’s taking an hour and twenty, we can get back to the customer,” says Garry. “They need to get the time to an hour, or we have to change the rate. All of our data shows our transparency, we are not hiding anything. They can see what’s going on themselves.
“Each afternoon, all of the truck owners will get a download of all of their jobs for the next day. Each job detail is listed. They are loaded onto the tablet and they have to complete the first one before they can get to the second one. It will beep them to accept the job. If they don’t accept it, it comes back to us and we can reallocate it.”