Energy Logistix has grown to become a go-to supplier of logistics in remote areas for the energy industry and big miners as well as managing some major projects in and around Adelaide. The work is arduous and the conditions are tough. Everything is in a hurry and deadlines are tight.
The operation has found a niche in which it has become a logistics and project manager of choice for a number of the big players running oil and gas rigs and other remote area facilities. There was a need for a professional end to end logistics provider in this niche and Energy Logistix saw the opportunity and grabbed it with both hands.
In terms of rolling stock the company runs 15 prime movers and around 30 trailers of different types. Some of the trucks in the fleet are based in the dirt road areas, while seven are highway prime movers. The highway trucks are a more recent development as the regularity of work has justified developing the on road portion of the fleet.
Most long distance transport will see line haul providers getting the freight to Adelaide and the Energy Logistix team will take it from there, either West or North.
“In the beginning, what we were good at was the procedures and accreditations to carry the freight and manage our subbies at a higher level,” says Shaun Williamson who runs the day to day operation of Energy Logistix. “We had three or four approved sub-contractors and if they couldn’t do the job, we would deny the job. If we took a job on and didn’t deliver what we promised our loss of reputation and service levels was far greater than losing the job.
“We stuck to that model, but then we grew and we needed our own fleet, mainly for the remote stuff, because we couldn’t track the loads. It was four years ago when we started getting our own equipment. We simply needed to get it to maintain our service levels.”
The service levels were a vital part of the business’ growth. If they said the freight was going to be in a certain place at a certain time, it had to be there at that time. If a truck broke down, they would fly a plane in, pick up the part and get it to its destination.
It was also important to ensure the trucks handling the work were correctly equipped including sufficient water storage, satellite phones, etc. They were managing the solution at every level in areas where most providers were unable to handle the work.
The operation also got involved in even more complex work for the energy companies. If an oil or gas rig was to be moved, they would provide the complete service. Energy Logistix would project manage the entire move. Planning the operation, hiring all of the subbies needed and manage the operation until the rig was set up in the new location. This kind of project management led to the operation getting a reputation for getting the job done in the remotest areas with little or no fuss for the large energy businesses.
“We grew from there and now we have our own facility,” says Shaun. “We now work off of 28,000m2 where our offices and yard are based, plus our workshop and wash down facility. It’s not bad in five years.
“A lot of it is about the way we think and choose to do business. If you can’t do it properly, then don’t do it at all. What do we have which is different? It’s probably our systems and our Navman tracking.
“All of our equipment is tracked off satellite trackers. They have screens in the trucks so we can communicate with them, even when they’re off the grid. Our systems are built around our service. They are not just something we have bought off the shelf. We have probably spent $150,000 building our HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) and CoR (Chain of Responsibility) systems around our service levels.”
For the company it is about all of the small extra service items included. Alongside an update to customers every six to eight hours. The client will also a get an alert to say the item is one hour away from the destination so the equipment at the remote facility can be prepared for the new part, or whatever the delivery is.
“It’s all those little one percenters throughout the process which add up,” says Shaun. “Going into a potential client trying to sell that is hard, because we can’t sell our service. It’s all about our reputation. We often get a call when someone has been let down, or another company has recommended us. That’s how we get our business.
“It’s about us being number one in what we do. That’s what makes us different. If you need us you are not calling a 1300 number if there’s a problem. Their guys can hand it off to us at 4pm on a Friday afternoon and go home for the weekend and then come back in on Monday to find the job done.”
One of the strengths of the business is the fact it covers such a wide spectrum of service. It is not making money solely from transport. Shaun estimates the business could stand down 60 per cent of its fleet and still be profitable because of the project management element of the tasks it handles.