“Getting the trucks looking right was the plan from day one,” says Mick Colley, owner of Bedrock Quarry Products and Bulk Transport. “We sign wrote the first one and we started to get calls from that. I was talking to a sales manager at one of the big operators and they said they had seen my trucks everywhere. I said ‘oh yeah’, later they asked how many trucks I had, and told them ‘one’.
“We were were one of the first operators in Sydney to sheet the whole sides of the bins and sign write it. Now look at it and everyone does it. I think we can be considered one of the leaders in the tipper industry in Sydney, because we did things before everyone else does.”
Mick is an advocate of the electronic log books being made mandatory, when they finally arrive, as he reckons it is the best way to drive problem operators out of the industry. He tells story after story of the kinds of behaviour his drivers see on the road everyday.
“We had an incident on the Putty Road with a motorbike going way too quick,” says Mick. “The bike went under the front of the dog trailer, so everything had to go straight over the pits afterwards. They wanted all of the trucks in for testing first the following morning. I explained it couldn’t work like that, we have customers I have to supply and if the concrete doesn’t turn up who pays the bill?
“I suggested the Newcastle trucks went into Mount White when heading South. The rest could be booked into testing around Sydney at specific times. I wasn’t trying to dodge, just make it work.
They phoned up at around 11am the following morning and congratulated me. Everything I said would happen, did happen and they all turned up as required and there were only three defects in the whole fleet, and two of them were so insignificant, it wasn’t an issue.”
The operation contracts all of its maintenance out, either at one local workshop or at the truck dealerships. Contract maintenance works well on most of the trucks. Mick has done the analysis on real trucks over a five year period and found contract maintenance saves money for the operation. There isn’t even a truck wash, it’s done on a contract. The drivers just get in the trucks and drive them.
Trucks are kept in the fleet for strictly five years, however the current batch of tipper and quad dogs are putting on high mileages, getting up well above 600,000km, so the decision has been made to cut them back to four and a half years. The dog trailers get turned over at the same time, but the A-doubles run on better roads enabling them to outlast their prime movers.
According to Mick the pick up in business in the second half of 2019 has been strong and the Bedrock business is planning for strong growth for some time. This means the operation has to get all of its ducks in a line to run more trucks and more subbies over longer distances for more customers. If the business model the operation currently uses is scaleable, and Mick reckons it is, it’s going to be busy times ahead.