Discussing trucks to meet the future task in the boardroom at SRT Logistics’ headquarters in Hobart, Tasmania is Executive Director Jim Miller, Chief Operating Officer Brad Hilder and Fleet Manager Nigel Froud. The topic of conversation drifts from the dwindling Argosy armada to the steadily increasing Scania squadron, and it’s interesting to hear how the Swedish brand initially got its foot in the door with SRT.
In something of a surprise to the SRT Logistics team, the V8-powered Scania matched or beat its rivals on key criteria such as on-road performance, fuel consumption, driver comfort and price competitiveness.
Interestingly, Jim explains that in the quest for even better fuel economy, the latest batch of Scanias includes nine G480s, some of which are B-double rated, although mainly used for single-trailer work.
As for the smaller trucks, Fuso has emerged as the truck of choice, not least because of the close proximity of C & I Transport Repairs in Launceston and its sub-contractor, Midland Truck & Bus in Hobart, to the respective depots of SRT Logistics. These, along with WB Truck ‘n’ Trailer at Wivenhoe on the north coast, do all of the company’s maintenance and repair work.
“The service is good and they’re all close by so we get a pretty good outcome from this arrangement,” Jim explains, adding that their figures show it’s more cost effective for them to use these maintenance providers than the truck manufacturers’ contract maintenance option.
On the topic of maintenance, the company uses mineral oil, with change intervals of 30,000km for the Scanias and 20,000km for the smaller trucks that do mostly metro work.
According to Nigel, this is the best option rather than using synthetic oil with longer drain intervals.
“The trucks do 5,000km a week and they need to be checked over every six weeks, so we reckon it’s best to do the whole lot together,” he says. “We’ve had longer service intervals with trucks in the past – and I’m not saying we wouldn’t do that again in the future – but at the moment, the 30,000km interval works well for us.”
“We’re one of the top two in the state as far as Transport Tas is concerned,” Jim adds. “That really speaks for itself in my book.”
With Jim’s retirement set for the end of this year, to coincide with the business turning 30, he will be leaving it in the safe hands of Brad and Nigel, and his sons Robert and Brent. As for future predictions, the organic growth of around 10 per cent per year is expected to continue as the company continually strives to ‘underpromise and overdeliver’ for its loyal customer base, while also looking for more conquest customer opportunities.
As the remaining Freightliners are put out to pasture, it’s a fair bet that more Scanias will be acquired to take their place. This is best summed up by Brad.
“We try to buy right, buy good gear and maintain it well and hopefully it will look after us,” he concludes.